Box Hill have moved to two and zero on the season following a stunning 66-point victory over Coburg at Box Hill City Oval.
Just a few weeks removed from a pulsating draw at Piranha Park, the two sides met again on ANZAC weekend with the annual ANZAC Cup up for grabs. Whilst the teams couldn’t be split on that overcast Saturday afternoon, the Hawks ended this game as a contest in a blistering, jaw-dropping first term.
The score at the quarter time break read a scarcely believable 11.3.69 to 0.0.0.
Following a moving tribute to Australian service men and women past and present, the siren sounded under relatively clear blue skies.
A potent forward pairing of Ty Vickery and Jack Fitzpatrick made life difficult for the Lion defence, combining for five goals in the opening thirty minutes.
In a quarter played nearly exclusively in the Box Hill forward fifty, the two big men ran rampant. Vickery had two majors inside seven minutes, both from marks on the lead, before James Cousins found Fitzpatrick in heavy traffic and utility ruck-forward snapped beautifully on his right.
Nick Evans launched a raking right foot pass that quickly became a shot at goal once it cleared the contest. The bounce was kind and all of a sudden the lead was 25-points.
Vickery then turned provider, first for Chris Jones, spotting up his teammate who duly converted from forty-five, before a deft tap in the goal square found Fitzpatrick, who roved the ball like a small forward and hooked through a nice finish.
The action was far from finished, however, as Mitch Lewis marked well running back with the flight of the ball and nailed his close range set shot for our seventh, before Fitzpatrick kicked his third of the term and Will Hams his first from a tight angle to extend the lead to 57-points.
Teia Miles then set sail from outside fifty and Dallas Willsmore made the visitors pay following a nervy clearance, their one-two punch concluding a remarkable half an hour of VFL football.
It looked like a case of “second verse, same as the first” when play resumed, as after barely a minute Vickery lead, marked and steered through his third of the day from a tricky angle.
A clever snap from Hish Kerbatieh got Coburg on the scoreboard, but the Hawks answered back quickly via Cousins.
Despite some nice defensive efforts from the hosts, the Lions closed the quarter with five unanswered goals, producing their finest and most sustained period of attacking football for the afternoon to go to the long break 43-points in arrears.
We had to wait for the first goal of the second half, as a tighter contest around the ball resulted in some skill errors by foot and fewer quality looks at the big sticks.
But on twelve minutes the opening goal arrived when Miles showed great poise and awareness to find Jones on his own fifteen meters out. Just two minutes later Fitzpatrick displayed excellent work rate to run onto a loose ball inside attacking fifty and dribble through his fourth.
Once Taylor Duryea’s pass found Brolic and the resulting set shot sailed through the margin was once again beyond ten goals.
Coburg found a late reply, but the Hawks’ advantage at three quarter time was an unassailable 54-points.
Chris Newman used his final address of the match to stress the importance of a strong finish, with special emphasis on tackling pressure. His charges didn’t let him down, playing the final term with all the intensity they did in the first.
Marc Pittonet found Max Warren wide in the pocket, with the tight angle proving no problem for the Hawks number five, then Mitch Lewis recorded his second of the afternoon following a free kick.
Skipper David Mirra produced a stirring effort in front of the benches and Box Hill faithful on the hill, laying a bone rattling bump, gathering the loose ball and finding a teammate by hand. It was the Hawks intensity, application and will to win all wrapped up in one contest.
Fitzpatrick wasn’t done just yet, kicking his fifth from on fifty, and Hams added his name to the list of multiple goal kickers from the same distance barely thirty seconds later.
Coburg finished with the final two of the game, but it was consolation on a memorable day for the Hawks.
Jack Fitzpatrick’s efforts saw him awarded the Gibbs-Lyons Medal for best afield, whilst David Mirra and Chris Newman collected the ANZAC Cup on behalf of he victors.
Box Hill 11.3 13.4 16.6 20.8. 128
Coburg 0.0 6.3 7.6 9.8. 62
Goals: Fitzpatrick 5, Vickery 3, Lewis 2, Hams 2, Jones 2, Evans, Willsmore, Cousins, Warren, Brolic, Miles
Vic Development League
Like the senior side, a slick and ruthless Box Hill moved to 2-0 following a comfortable 78-point win visiting Coburg.
Amongst a number of standout performances, Hawks number three Billy Murphy kicked seven for the afternoon – four of which came in the last term – in a best on ground display.
Box Hill 3.8 7.13 14.5 21.16. 142
Coburg 1.1 3.4 5.7 9.10. 64