Match Preview: Hawks To Tussle With Rivals

The Box Hill Hawks make the trek out to Windy Hill on Sunday afternoon, keen to atone for a last start loss and record a win which will allow the Club to keep tabs on the competition’s top six. 

Who: Essendon
Where: Windy Hill
When: Sunday, 1:05pm
Radio: 3WBC, 94.1FM
TV/Streaming: VFL live stream available via the VFL Match Centre.

Box Hill: played 8, won 5, lost 3 – 7th on the ladder
Essendon: played 8, won 2, lost 6 – 17th on the ladder

A Little Bit of History

Played 11 (since 2013) – Box Hill 6, Essendon 5

The Hawks and Bombers have met 11 times since Essendon re-entered the VFL as a standalone entity prior to 2013, with the Hawks claiming a six-five lead in head-to-head competition. 

It’s been a fruitful rivalry of late for the Hawks, who have claimed each of the past three match-ups between the sides by an average of 64 points – including a thumping 94-point win the last time the teams butted heads at Windy Hill. 

As for the last time they met, the Hawks proved too strong to the tune of 47-points at The Hangar in round 10 of 2023.

Ned Long, a mid-season draftee to Collingwood during the past week, was sensational on the day, blowing up the stats sheet with 38 disposals, 12 clearances, 12 tackles and, if that wasn’t enough, three goals.

Cal Brown tallied 39 touches, will Finn Maginness was just as busy in recording 36 disposals. 

Mere days before they’d be selected in the mid-season draft, future Eagle Ryan Maric and soon-to-be-Docker Ethan Stanley impressed with two goals apiece, while Cooper Stephens and Josh Bennetts also chimed in with two goals each.

It’d be remiss of me not to reminisce about our last visit to Essendon’s spiritual home, which resulted in the aforementioned 94-point victory back in 2022. 

Six goals up at quarter time on the back of a rollicking nine-goal opening term, the Hawks booted eight unanswered majors in the second frame to lead by 86-points at half-time and end the match as a contest.

The hosts won the third term 4.4 to 2.2, before Box Hill closed things out with a four-goal-to-two final quarter.

Emerson Jeka was on fire early, kicking five first-half goals before a hamstring injury brought a premature end to his day, while Fergus Greene chimed in with five of his own in a sensational individual display.

Small forwards Ben Cavarra and Sam Butler each kicked three, while midfield utility Brady Grey kicked two goals from 16 touches.

Cal Porter and Daniel Howe did the damage for the brown and gold around the ball, winning 31 and 30 touches respectively and each tallying a whopping 10 clearances. 

Interestingly, Box Hill haven’t hosted a game against the Bombers since round 12 of 2018 – a 14-point Essendon win – and have played the red and black at Box Hill City Oval just twice since 2013.  

2023 So Far

The Hawks have endured an up-and-down type season so far, recording five wins and three losses through eight rounds.

Although the brown and gold have won three of their past five matches, like the Bombers their last four fixtures have returned a frustratingly stop-start sequence of win, loss, win, loss.

Too good for the Swans one week, the Hawks fell to the top-of-the-table Bulldogs a week later out west. They returned to winning ways against Sandringham in Wonthaggi thanks to some last-gasp heroics from unlikely match-winner Stu Horner, before enduring a dirty day at home the Brisbane last weekend. 

As for the Bombers, their past month has seen a 12-point win against the Magpies represent their first four points of the season, before falling to Williamstown by just 11-points next up. A comfortable 51-point win over North Melbourne saw them claim a second win in three weeks, but a 61-point reverse against Richmond last weekend.

It goes without saying both sides will be hoping to find some consistency in the coming weeks to set up the second half of their seasons – and there’s no better place to start such a run than with a win over the old enemy.  

Selection News

Zane Littlejohn and his match committee made six changes to the side which lost to Brisbane last weekend, handing VFL debuts to Nick Watson and mid-season draftee Jasper Scaife, who crossed from West Perth on Wednesday night.

They’re joined in the squad by the returning Nathan Philactides, Andrew Mathieson and Josh Tovey – the latter of whom has been designated the Hawks’ 23rd man – while Ethan Phillips, who missed last week’s loss to the Lions as Hawthorn’s holdover player, is also named to return.

As for the outs, Ned Reeves won himself a recall to the senior side for Saturday’s win over the Crows, while Jai Serong will sit the visit to Windy Hill out on account of concussion.

Clay Tucker, likewise, will miss due to injury, while Box Hill-listed youngsters Jye Peacock, Andreas Stefanakis and Ben De Bolfo were omitted. 

One(s) to Watch

It’s hard to look past Nick ‘The Wizard’ Watson, who will make his state league debut following a promising start to life at AFL level.

The Hawks’ top pick – and number 5 overall – from the 2023 National Draft has played six games at the elite level so far in 2024, impressing with his work rate and creativity in the front half.

His combination with fellow Eastern Ranges alumni and dangerous small forward Ben Cavarra could be something quite special – and will definitely be worth watching. 

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! 

The first bounce for the VFL clash between Box Hill and Essendon is scheduled for 1:05pm and can be streamed this link.


Membership, as always, is the best way to support the Box Hill Hawks in 2024!

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

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