The cold sea breeze from the Frankston shoreline brought a low-scoring affair with it at Frankston Oval, but the Hawks defied the chill and overcame the hosts by 30 points.
It may have been the Dolphins’ inefficiency early that sealed the deal for the Hawks as the score line ended lopsidedly, 9.9 (63) to 4.9 (33).
Coach Marco Bello sensed their ineffective play up forward and acknowledged it as out of character for them.
“Take nothing away from Frankston, every time we come out here they’re probably a three or four goal better side and they attacked us pretty hard and we withstood it and then we were able to finish off really well,” he said.
Although we booted the first two majors of the day the Dolphins pressed hard late in the first term and took control of possession and the flow of the ball.
They contained it so effectively inside their attacking fifty but couldn’t seem to slip it between the goal posts the way they would’ve liked. By the first break they’d managed a mere six behinds.
Despite the Hawks leading by 7 points by this point it seemed they’d received a get out jail free card. The Dolphins had many chances to imprint the scoreboard with goals but just couldn’t convert.
A very stunted second term saw the only scores arising from two Hawks’ behinds and a goal and a single behind for the Dolphins. The rain started to pour while the scoreline dried up.
Luke Lowden started the third term in remarkable fashion with a soccer kick to put through our first goal of the second half. Minutes later the Dolphins put through their 9th consecutive behind for the today.
Incredibly though the Dolphins did manage their first goal for the day in the final stages of the third term which was followed up by three successive majors. By the final changeover the home side had shrunk the gap to 8 points in a desperate attempt to get back in the game.
Cheney saved the Hawks defensively as the Dolphins had taken the momentum going into the final quarter. He took critical marks when the Dolphins look dangerous going down the ground up and ended the day with a pivotal 20 disposals.
Luckily for the Hawks, all four of Frankston’s goals only came about in the third term. Jonathon Ceglar was formidable up forward for us and quite literally booted us in front with his extremely efficient 11 kicks and 7 marks for the day.
Bello knew this match was a must-win if they wanted to reaffirm their stance as finals contenders and a top spot on the ladder.
“We said finals doesn’t start for us in three weeks time. It starts now. And we showed a lot of heart today,” he said.
With this triple decade win behind them, the Hawks’ focus will be on September and how they need to prove they can win the big prize, back-to-back.
“We’ve got to continue to play that style and that hard contested style of footy for the next two weeks leading into finals. Because we can’t just turn it on in finals,” he admitted.
Box Hill is hosting Bendigo Gold next weekend and a single week after that left of the home and away season to consolidate their capability for finals footy.
Box Hill 9.9 (63) defeated Frankston 4.9 (33)
Goal Kickers: T. O”Brien 2, J. Ceglar 2, S. Iles, L. Lowden, M. Hallahan, L. Tobin, X. Murphy
Best Players: K. Cheney, M. Hallahan, J. Ceglar, T. O”Brien, J. Kelly, D. Mirra