Hawks overpower fading Blues

By Callum Godde

A stunning last quarter has helped Box Hill to an emphatic 95-point victory away to the Northern Blues, on Sunday.

After the Blues brought the margin within five goals – kicking the first of the final term – the Hawks went on a rampage, kicking 11 consecutive goals.

On an overcast day at Preston City Oval, it was raining goals. And by the final siren, almost half of Box Hill’s selected squad had a major to their name – 10 players to be precise.

The win put Box Hill back on top of the AFL Victoria Development League ladder, once again, pushing Williamstown to second spot.

Full-forward Peter McEvoy increased his lead as the competition’s leading goal kicker, putting another four majors in his pocket, to take his tally to 35 for the season – nine clear of injured teammate, Tom Gordon.

The final score was not indicative of the game as a whole however, with the Blues sticking with Box Hill for the better part of three quarters.

In fact, the Blues looked very sharp in the early stages, making the visitors look uncharacteristically shaky and sluggish.

If not for wayward kicking – the Blues registering five first quarter behinds – Box Hill may have been further a drift than 11-points at the first change.

Notwithstanding, there were certainly some positive signs for the Hawks in the opening exchange. But aside from a couple of brilliant individual goals from Aidan Franetic and Liam Tobin, they were yet to connect the dots.

After the break they went about fixing that.

Usual suspect, Xavier Murphy, was on deck to lend a hand. The midfielder – who played in Box Hill’s 2013 VFL premiership – ran amuck, with four disposals inside the first three minutes of the second term.

Taking Murphy’s lead, the Hawks rallied, their initiative paying dividends with five goals to the Blues one, for the term.

Not satisfied with the three-goal margin at half-time, Box Hill coach Kevin Collins urged his chargers to lift their intensity to another level.

And his troops responded. Their increased frontal pressure was felt almost immediately, as the Blues butchered the football twice in defense. Brandon Wood and Julian Soccio needed no invitation to take advantage of the Blues’ errant foot skills, extending the Hawks’ lead to 31-points.

It wouldn’t be the last time Wood got on the end of one, yesterday. The youngster finished with three goals, including a crafty effort from the boundary over his left shoulder.

It was an eye-catching performance from the 21-year-old, partly because of his colour choice in football boots (green), but the main reason being his workmanlike contribution around the stoppages.

Wood’s job was made simpler though, with textbook ruckwork from Kalem Post and Tom Goodwin, seen throughout the day.

The Blues seemingly ran out of legs as the Hawks simultaneously began to hit top gear in the fourth quarter, a deadly combination that ultimately lead to the severity of the final scoreline.

It would have been quite easy for Box Hill to rest on their laurels, as it became clear their lead was unassailable. But the Hawks pressed on, showing their killer instinct; a trait that usually separates the good teams, from the great.

After losses for Hawthorn and the Box Hill seniors on the same weekend – a rare occurrence – the 95-point win finally gives Hawks fans something to smile about.

The young Hawks will have the chance to consolidate top spot on the ladder next Saturday, when they take on fifth placed Werribee at Victoria Park.

FINAL SCORE: Box Hill Hawks 21.14 (140) defeated Northern Blues 6.9 (45)

GOAL KICKERS: P. McEvoy 4, B. Wood 3, A. Franetic 3, J. Kalanj 3, J. Walker 2, L. Andrews 2, J. Soccio, L. Tobin, N. Evans , J. Fisher

BEST PLAYERS: P. McEvoy, B. Wood, S. Gibson, J. Pell, X. Murphy, L. Andrews


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