Match Preview: Hawks Eye Date With Cats

The stage is set for a finals-shaping stoush tomorrow afternoon, as the Cats travel to Box Hill City Oval for the first time since round 14, 2019.

Who: Geelong Cats
Where: Box Hill City Oval 
When: Sunday, 2:05pm
Radio: 3WBC, 94.1FM
TV/Streaming: VFL live stream available via the VFL Match Centre.

Box Hill: played 12, won 8, lost 4 – 6th on the ladder
Geelong: played 12 won 9, lost 3 – 3rd on the ladder

A Nod to the Past

We’ll be wearing our heritage guernsey this weekend to commemorate the 2013 premiership – which, of course, was won at the Cats’ expense.

Coached by Damian Carroll and captained on the day by Box Hill great David Mirra, the Hawks snapped Geelong’s 13-game winning streak en route to the decider to claim a second senior VFL flag. 

Jonathan Simpkin was awarded the Norm Goss Medal as best afield, while Sam Grimley booted three goals in the 21-point win; a result which was set-up via a brilliant first term, in which the Hawks kicked seven majors and a stunning third term in which the brown and gold kicked 3.6 while keeping the Cats goalless.    

A Little Bit of History

Played 32 (since 2000) – Box Hill 22, Geelong 10

The Hawks enjoy a largely positive head-to-head record against the Cats at VFL level. The boys in brown and gold have claimed a whisker over two-thirds of the total match-ups with their long-term rivals, as well as three of the four finals contested by the sides. 

Box Hill also boast the two longest winning streaks: seven on the trot between round 10, 2001 and round 8, 2005 and, more recently, eight in succession between round 4, 2017 and round 2, 2024. 

The Hawks’ current active winning streak includes a wire-to-wire semi-final win in 2018 and this year’s stunning come-from-behind win at GMHBA Stadium, in which Box Hill rattled home to claim the points after trailing all afternoon.

Having split the first two goals of the afternoon, Box Hill were somewhat fortunate to be as close as 15-points come quarter time. The Cats were on top more or less all over the ground and attacked relentlessly in the final 15 minutes of the opening period for a return of 2.4, when 4.2 might’ve broken the game wide open.

The Hawks responded after quarter time to win the second term, booting 3.4 to Geelong’s 3.2, but back-to-back Shannon Neale goals early in the second half had Box Hill on the back foot again. 

Goals to Gunston and O’Sullivan steadied the ship, before the sides traded six-pointers to close out the quarter with the Cats 12-points to the good with one to play.

Having kicked 8.10 for the day the Hawks went berserk to win the term 8.5 to 1.1 and the match by 34-points. 

The visitors had worked their way into a slender advantage with 14-minutes played and there was just a kick separating the sides once the contest ticked into time on… before goals to Stefanakis, Dear, Butler, O’Sullivan and Dear again arrived in a devastating 10-minute spell to settle the contest.

Sam Butler booted four crucial goals from 17 touches and was ably supported by fellow small Jack O’Sullivan, who came from the bench after half-time to kick three of his own in a match-turning cameo. 

Calsher Dear was another to impress, marking well and kicking beautifully on his way to three goals from 13 disposals, while Finn Maginness was the top rated player on the ground with 28 touches, 10 marks, six clearances and a vital final quarter goal. 

2023 So Far

The Hawks had a three-match winning run snapped at the hands of Port Melbourne last weekend, falling to sixth in the process.

The seven point loss came at the end of a positive round of fixtures for Box Hill, in which Zane Littlejohn’s men had defeated Essendon, the Giants and Richmond to secure the team’s winningest run of 2024.

It’s reflective of the stop-start nature of the Hawks’ current campaign, who in the build up to the three-match winning streak had gone win-win-loss, win-win-loss, win-loss. 

The visit of the third placed Geelong kick-starts an exciting run in which Box Hill will square off against fourth placed Southport, a resurgent North Melbourne and the seventh placed Williamstown across the next month. 

For their part the Cats have righted the ship following a tricky start to the season. They began their 2024 campaign with back-to-back home losses to last season’s runner-up Werribee and the Hawks, before rattling off eight wins on the spin.

In this run the hoops accounted for the Bullants by 53-points, Brisbane by three-points, the Blues by 101-points, Frankston by 64-points, Coburg by 22-points, the Giants by 61-points, Richmond by 17-points and Sydney by nine-points – before losing to Port Melbourne by two-points last time out.

Selection News

The Hawks have made five changes to the side which lost to Port Melbourne last weekend, regaining the likes of Ned Reeves and Chad Wingard from injury layoffs and Finn Maginness, who rejoins the squad having spent last week in the senior side’s travelling party. 

Will McCabe, son of 138-game Hawk Luke, is set to debut, having overcome the back issue which has impacted his maiden season in brown and gold, while Ed Phillips resumes having sat out the lost to Port Melbourne with a hamstring complaint.

As for the omissions, Zane Littlejohn and his match committee will be without Mitch Lewis, who has been re-called to Hawthorn’s senior side, while Jaylon Thorpe, Andrew Mathieson, Daniel Wood and Stu Horner have made way to accomodate the spate of ins.

The Hawks have since confirmed Jack Ginnivan will miss Saturday’s match at GMHBA Stadium and has been replaced in the selected side by Seamus Mitchell, meaning one of Box Hill’s eight listed emergencies will take their place in the VFL side come Sunday. 

One(s) to Watch

It’s always exciting when father-son selections begin their footballing journey, so with that said the one to watch this week is Will McCabe.

Pick 19 in the 2023 National Draft, McCabe is a 197cm key defender out of Central Districts in the SANFL and will don the brown and gold for the first time come Sunday.

Described as versatile, athletic & boasting strong hands and a great leap, Will will no doubt be keen to work his way into the game as a start and set up what remains of the 2024 season.

How To Follow

Match coverage will be provided via our social channels throughout the day, while a radio call will be available via our wonderful community partners 3WBC 94.1FM.

Where To Watch

You can catch the live stream via the VFL match centre!

VFL live stream available via the VFL Match Centre.


It might be late in the season, but it’s never too late to support the mighty Box Hill Hawks and, as always, membership is the best way to do it!

You can purchase your 2024 Box Hill Hawks membership via this link.

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