Match Preview: Hawks vs Zebs

The Box Hill Hawks return to Wonthaggi on Sunday for a massive day of top class footy perfect for the whole family!

The action kicks off from 11am with our VFLW side in action against the Southern Saints, before our VFL boys tackle Sandringham.

There’ll be post-match player signings, half-time mini matches and free entry – so be sure to head on down to Wonthaggi Recreation Reserve!

Who: Sandringham
Where: Wonthaggi Recreation Reserve
When: Sunday – VFLW at 11:30am; VFL at 2:05
Radio: 3WBC, 94.1FM
TV/Streaming: VFLW available to stream via the VFLW match centre; VFL available to stream via the VFL match centre.

Box Hill: played 6, won 4, lost 2 – 4th on the ladder
Sandringham: played 5, won 3, lost 2 – 9th on the ladder

A Little Bit of History

Played (since 1996) – Box Hill 28, Sandringham 13, 1 draw

The Hawks enjoy a 12-match winning streak against Sandy, a run which dates back to round 6, 2015.

In fact, if you include the round 2, 2014 draw played out between the two sides Sandringham haven’t beaten Box Hill since round 1, 2012. More, if we go back even further the Hawks have claimed 18 of the past 20 match-ups between the pair. 

The brown and gold’s average winning margin across the past eight fixtures is 37.5 points, highlighted by a 64-point win in round 5 of 2018 and, most recently, a 47-point victory the last time the sides met in round 19, 2023.

The late-season clash was the perfect opportunity for the Hawks to press their top four claims, and that they did – following a bumpy start.

Sandy used the breeze at their backs to lead by five points at the first change, only to trail by 16 come the half. While worth just a few goals at best, the Zebras couldn’t close the gap in the third and conceded more ground to sit 20-points in arrears with one to play.

Come the final term the Hawks played the ground and conditions to a tee, withstanding a spirited effort from the visitors to boot 6.4 to Sandy’s 2.2 to run out comfortable winners – but only after kicking the last four of the match in time on. 

Denver Grainger-Barras was the talking point out of the contest, booting five goals while playing as a full-time forward.

Lively small forward Jake Arundell was among the goals, too, booting three, while Tristan Waack and Ed Phillips added two of their own. 

Jack Scrimshaw was among the Hawks best on the day on the back of 31 touches and a goal, while Ned long had 25 of his own, won nine clearances and laid 10 tackles.

Max Hall provided another promising glimpse of what he’s capable of on the back of 20 touches, seven marks and five tackles, while Phillips was everywhere – taking six marks and having 25 disposals.

2023 So Far

The Hawks went down by 13-points to the top-of-the-table Footscray last weekend, putting a slow and sluggish start behind them to run the undefeated Doggies to the wire.

As many as 37-points down mid-way through the third term – Box Hill had only a goal to their name at half-time, mind you – Zane Littlejohn’s men kicked three goals in five minutes to get to within six points come the 31 minute mark of a frantic final term.

Sadly, it was the Bulldogs who found the all-important final goal to seal the match and win the points.

Otherwise, the Hawks had been well placed. Wins against Casey, Geelong, North Melbourne and Sydney punctuated by losses to the in-form Bulldogs and reigning premier Gold Coast.

As for Sandringham, the Zebras are three-and-two after five matches, and come into this week on the back of claiming back-to-back wins for the first time in 2024.

They narrowly saw of North Melbourne in round six, having beaten the Bullants by 57-points in round five.

Prior to this they’d lost to Collingwood by 28-points in round one, beaten Essendon by 38-points in round two and been defeated by the Giants by 46-points in round 3. Interestingly, four of their five fixtures to date have been home matches, while this week will effectively be staged on neutral ground.   

Selection News

Zane Littlejohn and his match committee have made six changes to the squad which lost to Footscray last weekend, with the ins headlined by the returns of Denver Grainger-Barras and Changkuoth Jiath.

Injured in pre-season the pair will make their first appearances at any level in 2024, and they’ll be joined by another senior listed Hawk to have battled injury this campaign. Cooper Stephens is a welcome addition following an ongoing achilles niggle, while Josh Ward and Harry Morrison are in following stints in the AFL program.

Andreas Stefanakis completes the set of additions, with the dangerous and lively first year small forward named for the sixth time in seven matches.

Among the omissions are Jai Serong, who was elevated to the AFL side this week, while Henry Hustwaite misses with concussion, Jack O’Sullivan a knock and Ned Reeves a hand injury. The VFL-listed pair of Josh Tovey and Andrew Mathieson have been omitted. 

One(s) to Watch

I love it when these selections are obvious, because that means they’re exciting ins or a player in exceptional form.

In the case of this write-up its the former, as we’re set to welcome the returning Denver Grainger-Barras and Changkuoth Jiath back into the fold.

The pair have endured a frustrating and delayed build to their first hit-outs of 2024, with both spending more time in the treatment room and rehab group than any Hawks fan would like. ‘CJ’ was set to feature in the Club’s round four match against North Melbourne, only for a late niggle to rule him out.

Here’s to a successful return to action and, in time, senior footy.

Actually, how about one more? Stu Horner will play his 50th senior game for the Box Hill Hawks! Our longest tenured active player and Vice-Captain, Stu epitomises the spirit of the Box Hill Hawks and has done since he first stepped through the door.

Reliable, honest and as hard a competitor as you’ll find, we’re a better football club for his presence and ongoing contributions. 

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 and VFLW match centres! 

The first bounce for the VFLW match-up between the Hawks and Southern Saints is scheduled for 11:30am and can be streamed via this link.

The first bounce for the VFL clash between Box Hill and Sandringham is scheduled for 2:05pm and can be streamed via 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 here.

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