Hawks Tame Lions, Move to 4-0

The Box Hill Hawks secured a first four-and-zero start to a season since 2018 on Saturday afternoon, overcoming a well organised and spirited Coburg at Box Hill City Oval to retain the annual ANZAC Cup.

The result moved Zane LIttlejohn’s team to second on the VFL ladder at the final siren, with results on Sunday to determine where the undefeated Hawks finish the round.

Saturday’s win saw the free-flowing, high-scoring Hawks top the ton for a third time from just four attempts in 2023, with round one’s haul of 97-points against the Swans the odd result out.

Box Hill’s impressive start to life under Littlejohn has been about more than scoring power, however, as Coburg’s return of 53-points was the third time from four starts the brown and gold have kept their opponent to under 60-points.

The Hawks’ 230 points conceded through four matches ranks as the Club’s lowest aggregate of the aligned-era, and the most miserly rearguard performance through the opening sixteen quarters of a season since the 216 allowed in 1958.

All told the Box Hill finished +35 in disposals, -4 in inside 50s, +15 in hit-outs, +9 in clearances and +8 in tackles – a stat line which indicates a far more even contest than the scoreboard would indicate.

Following an even opening 10 minutes it was Coburg who settled better, getting reward for their positive intent and fast ball movement to kick three of the first four goals. 

Having taken time to find a rhythm with ball in hand, the Hawks finally got going thanks to goals to Jaylon Thorpe, Finn Maginness and Ed Phillips in time on of the first quarter.

These back-to-back-to-back six-pointers arrived in quick succession and helped the Hawks establish a measure of control they wouldn’t relinquish.

Thorpe’s first of four majors for the afternoon kick-started both the aforementioned first quarter rally and with it a run of eight unanswered goals which stretched well into the third term. By the time Josh Bennetts kicked the Hawks’ 19th and final goal of the afternoon 17 minutes into the final quarter the hosts had laid on 10 of the last 13 majors to run out 71-point winners. 

To their credit, the visiting Lions proved hard to shake all day, only falling away during Box Hill’s brutal and brilliant opening to the final quarter – a period which turned a respectable 29-point lead at the last change into the final margin.

Thorpe, Jack O’Sullivan, Jacob Koschitzke, Max Ramsden and Max Hall kicked goals every other minute to open the last quarter with a devastating 10-minute salvo, with Hall and Bennetts adding the finishing touches to a breathless barrage just five minutes later. 

James Blanck’s diligent defensive performance was recognised with his winning the Gibbs-Lines Medal – a recognition of the player deemed to best exemplify the ANZAC spirit. Blancky’s eight disposal, seven tackle, 11 spoil game was a key reason behind the team’s defensive solidarity.

First-year Hawk Josh Weddle continues his fine run of form at the development level, racking up 27 touches, three inside 50s, six rebound 50s and laying two tackles. As if to illustrate the strength of his performance linking attack and defence and the work rate required to do so, the Templestowe boy took a team-high 10 marks.

Lachie Bramble finished the day with a game-high 37 touches, including three inside 50s, five rebound 50s, four clearances and nine marks playing predominantly off half-back with a late run on the ball. The AFL-listed flyer waxed brilliantly with Weddle and Cal Brown all day to release their side from defensive 50, showing his ability to retain his poise while absorbing pressure time and again. 

Brown was another to build on a strong start to life in brown and gold, adding 33 touches to hauls of 30, 30 and 38 to begin the year. He would round out his stat line with four inside 50s, 10 rebound 50s, eight marks, three clearances and two tackles. 

Jacob Koschitzke impressed with his play as both a lead-up half forward and deep-lying goal-kicker, finishing the game with three goals from 14 touches and eight marks, while Jaylon Thorpe’s game-high four goals came from five marks and moved him into a share of second place at the time of writing in the Frosty Miller Medal race.

Bailey MacDonald was another fine performer on the day, winning the praise of his coach on the back of a typically hard-working 18 disposals and seven marks. A handy utility type capable of using his breakaway speed to impact the contest across the ground, MacDonald was lively all afternoon.

Other fine contributors on the day were Jack O’Sullivan, who consolidated his own excellent start to the season with 27 touches and a goal; Finn Maginness, who rolled his sleeves up to finish with 27 touches, seven clearances, seven tackles and a goal; Cooper Stephens, who made his return from a niggle which sidelined him last weekend with 24 touches, seven clearances and goal; and the evergreen Damian Mascitti, who collected 23 touches to go with eight rebound 50 and eight marks. 

The Hawks travel to Gippsland next weekend to host the visiting and high-flying Casey Demons in a massive double header at the home of the Wonthaggi Power, the Wonthaggi Recreation Reserve.

The VFLW contest gets proceedings underway at 11:30am, with the VFL showdown following at 2:05pm.

Box Hill




19.10 124





6.17 53

Blanck, Weddle, Bramble, Brown, Koschitzke, MacDonald

Goals: Thorpe 4, Koschitzke, Butler 3, Ramsden, Hall 2, Stephens, Phillips, O’Sullivan, Maginness, Bennetts

Bramble 37, Brown 33, O’Sullivan 27, Maginness 26, Weddle 25, Mascitti 23

Similar Posts