WHERE: Box Hill City Oval
WHEN: Saturday, 2:10pm
COVERAGE: Live on Channel 7 from 2pm
                      3WBC radio 94.1FM


Round 21, 2016: Box Hill 8.8 (56) defeated by Casey 11.20 (86) at Box Hill City Oval

Round 7, 2016: Casey 12.11 (83) defeated Box Hill 11.10 (76) at Casey Fields

Round 17, 2015: Box Hill 18.15 (123) defeated Casey 7.7 (49) at Box Hill City Oval

Round 11, 2014: Casey 6.8 (44) defeated by Box Hill 19.15 (129) at Casey Fields

Round 19, 2013: Box Hill 10.12 (72) defeated Casey 9.16 (70) at Box Hill City Oval




Don’t be fooled by the VFL ladder, this match-up should excite you. First versus seventh mightn’t raise as many eyebrows as your typical summit meeting, but the prospect of these two teams going head-to-head is downright thrilling.

For context I can’t think of anything more salient than the words of Ferris Bueller: “life moves pretty fast,” which is certainly applicable to the correlation between form and fortunes in football.

As of round 5 the Demons’ season was well and truly in the balance. Eleventh place, just one win to their name and fresh off a 55-point humbling at the hands of the Northern Blues, they needed something – anything – to arrest the slide.

The following Saturday evening the top of the table, undefeated Port Melbourne visited Casey Fields. The Demons would run out 43-point winners. They haven’t lost since. Last outing they exacted a measure of revenge on their 2016 Grand Final conquerer, beating Footscray in the first meeting of the pair since last September’s spirited decider.

From treading water to walking on top of it in the space of four matches. Life does, indeed, move fast.

Simply, their form line is as impressive as it is ominous.

Having been in the fast lane for large parts of 2017, Box Hill have had the brakes applied in recent weeks. Not on account of losses, mind, but inactivity.

The Hawks’ form has been good, a look at the ladder will confirm as much, but the state game followed the stirring win at Collingwood, whilst the bye tacked onto the back end of the draw at Port and a win on the rebound at North Ballarat.

This match marks the start of the second half of Box Hill’s season. With a a great deal of hard work having been done to this point, Saturday stands as the perfect opportunity to begin the sprint to the line.


This fixture is the Hawks’ first home game since May 14, forty-one long days ago, and just the third of nine fixtures at Box Hill City Oval so far in 2017. With a huge trip to Preston to come next weekend it has never been more vital to win the ones at home.

Whilst all ovals are a patch of grass with four posts at either end, the advantage of playing on your own deck, in front of your own fans and in a climate that ought to be second nature can never be underestimated.

The Demons are one from five on the road this season, with an average losing margin of just over five goals.

The Hawks, on the other hand, are two from two at home, with an average winning margin of 44-points.

It shouldn’t surprise you to read that Demons’ outstanding form coincides with a run of matches at Casey Fields, with three of their four consecutive wins in familiar surrounds.

With regard to matches at Box Hill City Oval, I said a few weeks ago that a heavily back-ended fixture list was laden with potential for this Hawks side.

Very simply, if you win your games at home you’ll be very well placed come seasons end. Box Hill have gotten the wins away, now it’s time to do the business at home.

One of the biggest challenges facing Chris Newman is how to prepare a side that has played just three times in the last five weeks.

Whilst the Demons have been able to work into the season, find some form and maintain it in the heat of competition, the Hawks have found their momentum halted by the stop-start reality (read: quirks) of the VFL fixture.

Will this have a bearing on the result? Will the Hawks be fresh or the Demons in need of a break? It’s hard to know, but with both teams in winning form the answer won’t take long to reveal itself.

We’re all aware of the shield and spear paradox. It’s a story that dates back to third century China and tells of a man in a market stall selling shields and spears, proffering in his sales pitches for each item that one was impervious to the other.

On the surface and with a gander at their recent form, Casey can’t be stopped. Box Hill haven’t been stopped to date. It’s a pair of in-form sides meeting in intriguing circumstances, at an important juncture of their seasons and with more than four points to gain.

For Box Hill it’s another chance to press their advantage at the top of the table, which sees just a game-and-a-half separate first and fifth. Win and their reward is more breathing room.

For Casey, currently seventh and two-and-a-half wins adrift of the Hawks, a win would have them right on the coattails of the top four.

The beauty of this contest is just what it will say about both sides. Save for a draw, one of them will be stopped by the other. So, what gives? The shield or the spear?

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