R14 Match Report: Hawks win thriller

Trailing by three points and with less than two minutes remaining, Box Hill’s Nathan Boucher received a free kick 50-metres from goal tucked in on the boundary line.

In all the mayhem, he took a moment to catch his breath. He then lined up on his left boot.

Box Hill City oval erupted.

Every young boy’s dream became a reality for Nathan Boucher, as he steered the ball home to steal victory for his side from the jaws of defeat.

Within a minute one goal became two, as Jackson Ross gathered and snapped his 26thgoal of the season. The Hawks withstanding an almighty scare and claiming a memorable 9-point victory against Geelong at Box Hill City Oval.

In what looked like a formality for the home side, the Cats came back from 29 points down halfway through the third term, to boot five goals and steal the lead in the dying stages of the final term.

But a herculean effort from Jon Ceglar, taking on Geelong’s Zac Smith and Ryan Abbot one out to amass 24 disposals, 10 marks, 46 hitouts and a goal, and match-winning moments of pure clutch from Boucher and Ross, ensured Box Hill remained undefeated at home this season in another thrilling chapter of the Hawks and Cats rivalry.

Following last week’s domination by Casey, Box Hill jumped out of the blocks with intent in picture perfect, sunny conditions at City Oval. The home side converted its opportunities inside 50, making the Cats pay with three straight opening-term goals.

In one of the highlights of the day, Jarryd Roughead wound back the clock to take a leaping, grab on his opponent’s shoulders inside 50 – showing there is still plenty of spring left in the veterans’ legs.

Box Hill’s Vincent Adduci hit up Luke Meadows on the lead inside 50, who made no mistake with the set shot open the Hawks account for the day. Mullenger-McHugh reached into his bag of tricks to deliver a brilliant check-side from the boundary. While Dandenong Stingray’s youngster Jair Nanscawen made a big impression in his first play for Box Hill, taking a strong contested mark and kicking the long-range set shot to the jubilation of his teammates.

To the delight of a healthy and passionate crowd, the second term followed a similar pattern.

Midfielder Harry Jones, continuing his superb month of form, finding himself in a familiar setting at the bottom of a pack – this time snapping a goal on all fours to open the second term.

Youngster Mat Walker stayed down to crumb a flying Adduci marking attempt, to the slot a dribbling goal, reminiscent of a former no.33 in the brown and gold.

Former Captain Jarryd Roughead then streamed out of the goal square in trademark fashion and kicked truly to stretch the lead to 14 points at half-time.

Prior to the round, Box Hill ranked second in the VFL for uncontested possessions, and defenders Damian Mascitti, Teia Miles and Grant Birchall (17 disposals, 10 marks) were back to their best at controlling the football and driving it forward off half-back.

Ruckman Jon Celgar produced his finest moment for the day, reeling in a mammoth pack mark and nailing the set shot from a tight angle to open the third term.

It was clear one on earth was going to stop the big man in this form.

Sharp-shooter Jackson Ross joined the party with his first major, while Luke Meadows dodged two opponents to slot an outstanding running goal for his second of the day.

But just as the seconds ticked away, Geelong’s Zac Smith took matters into his own hands. The ruckman grabbing the ball out of the ruck and dribbling through a shot on goal, just as the siren sounded.

Trailing in all statistics and against the run of flow, Geelong had suddenly sparked to life – the margin now reduced to 18 points at the final break.

And the visitors carried on all the momentum in the last quarter.

Demonstrating why they are the second highest tackling team in the VFL, Geelong applied the clamps on Box Hill – led by Scott Selwood laying 11 tackles.

One goal quickly became two in the term for Geelong’s James Parsons.

Enter While Buzzie – his set shot goal putting the Cats in front.  The unthinkable was now suddenly turning into reality.

With every contest the pressure mounted. As every second passed, the vocal crowd became more restless.

Soon followed the gutsiest final two minutes of the season. Box Hill digging deep to produce two extra-time goals and claiming its sixth victory for the season.

Midfield young-guns James Cousins (22 disposals, eight tackles) and Harry Jones (21 disposals, nine tackles and a goal) feasted on ruckman Jon Ceglar’s dominance in the ruck to win the midfield battle.

Defender Damian Mascitti was as composed as ever in defence, playing his “best game for the club” according to Coach Max Bailey, to record 20 disposals, eight marks, two tackles and six rebound 50s.

Harry Morrison (20 disposals six marks, five tackles), Teia Miles (22 disposals, two marks, four inside 50s) and Skipper Andrew Moore (21 disposals, four marks and four tackles) were all prolific.

Senior Coach Max Bailey spoke of his side’s jubilation post-match.

“Everyone is very excited as you could imagine with a close game,” he said.

“We are just happy and relieved.”

“Off the back of Hawthorns win last night, and us in similar circumstances today, it is a good feeling.”

“At the end of the day, it really came down to our boys putting in a super effort in that last quarter.”

In a tight tussle to secure top eight positions, Box Hill’s victory surges it to sixth position on the VFL ladder.

Box Hill will travel to Skybus Stadium next Sunday to take on Frankston.


BOX HILL HAWKS    3.0  6.2 9.6  13.7  (85)

GEELONG    2.2 3.5  6.6  11.9 (75)


Box Hill Hawks: Ross 2, Meadows 2, Mullenger-McHugh, Roughead, Boucher, Ceglar, Golds, Jones, Minchington, Walker, Nascawen

Geelong: Buzza 2, Parsons 2, Smith 2, Brownless, Narckle, Simpson, Smith, Tarca,


Box Hill Hawks: Ceglar 23, Cousins 22, Miles 22, Jones 21, Moore 21, Mascitti 20, Morrison 20

Geelong: Narkle 22, Parsons 22, Henderson 21, Selwood 21, Brownless 19



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