Hawks out to retain ANZAC cup

LAST TIME WE MET

Round 3, 2018: Coburg Lions 12. 11. (83) defeated by Box Hill Hawks 24. 11. (155) at Piranha Park.

The Box Hill Hawks will be determined to avoid consecutive losses when they take on Coburg on Saturday.

The Hawks suffered their first defeat of the season at the hands of an inspired Port Melbourne last week, in a match that provided a vital learning curve for the young Hawks group.

The reigning premiers had plenty of opportunities to work their way back into the contest, however uncharacteristically squandered their chances in front of goal to kick an inaccurate 8 goals 17 behinds.

Bolstering the Hawks confidence this week is their return to Box Hill City Oval – a venue where they have saluted in 15 of their last 20 matches dating back to 2017.

The Hawks lacked ‘energy’ last week in the absence of key players Mitch Lewis, Kaiden Brand and Tim O’Brien according to coach Max Bailey. But with injuries to Hawthorn listed players and Lewis displaying strong form in his return to AFL, Bailey may be forced to search within his own army of troops to find a lift.

“We were missing those guys, but we still had the experience of Jonathon Ceglar and Ryan Schoenmakers so we can’t lean on that fact too much,” Bailey said.

“It was a good experience for all the young guys because they were all thrust into more senior positions than they would’ve been on other weeks.”

Box Hill’s opponents this week, Coburg, enjoyed a sudden rise to form in Round 3 to defeat Frankston in a 75-point demolition. In rebounding from consecutive defeats to open the season, the Lions booted 20. 18. (138) to record the clubs highest score-line since Round 17, 2013.

Central to the Lions best performance of the season was co-captain Peter McEvoy (brother of Hawthorn’s Ben) who in celebrating his 50thmatch in style, monstered the Dolphin’s defence to kick six majors. McEvoy looms as a threat once again this week for the Hawks, and expect defenders Tim O’Brien and Jacob Koschitzke to shoulder the load.

Coburg’s Brodie Foster has embraced a newfound defensive role in his first season at the Lions. The midfielder successfully shut down prolific Frankston star Nathan Freeman last week, keeping him to just three disposals – substantially down from his 39 and 31 disposals recorded this season. Expect Foster to turn his attention to one of the Hawk’s dangerous midfielders this week, such as Luke Meadows who is averaging 22 disposals in a strong opening month of football.

Undoubtedly Box Hill’s focus will be on aggression at the contest against Coburg, after convincingly being out hunted in the midfield battle last week. Following quiet performances from Andrew Moore, Harry Jones, and Will Golds against Port Melbourne, coach Max Bailey expects a strong response from his side this week.

“Hopefully they can improve how they respond to adverse situations during games and even in the lead up to a game,” Bailey said.

“There was really good learning’s around winning it hard in contests, where Port Melbourne put a lot of pressure on us and were very good at winning the critical contest.

“Our guys will be looking to bounce back from that. Coburg will provide that so we will be getting plenty of chances to do it.”

The Hawks will take on Coburg for the chance to retain the traditional ANZAC Cup at 1pm this Saturday at Box Hill City Oval.

 

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