WHERE: Box Hill City Oval
WHEN: Sunday, 2:00PM
COVERAGE: 3WBC radio – 94.1FM


Round 3, 2017: Williamstown 8.14 (62) defeated by Box Hill 13.12 (90) at Burbank Oval

Round 14, 2016: Box Hill 12.8 (80) defeated by Williamstown 13.12 (90) at Box Hill City Oval

Round 2, 2016: Williamstown 14.13 (97) defeated by Box Hill 17.10 (112) at Burbank Oval

Grand Final, 2015: Box Hill 8.18 (66) defeated by Williamstown 18.12 (120) at Etihad Stadium

Round 20, 2015: Box Hill 10.8 (68) defeated by Williamstown 11.16 (82) at Box Hill City Oval



The stage is set. A white-hot rivalry is ready to be renewed.

Williamstown and Box Hill have waged some epic battles in recent times and, again, find themselves at the pointy end of the VFL ladder when their paths cross.

The Seagulls have recovered admirably from a tricky start to 2017. Following Box Hill’s round 3 visit to Burbank Oval, Willy sat tenth with a record of one win, two losses.

True to form that encounter was typically nerve-wracking, with the sides separated by little more than a few kicks all afternoon. In fact, there was just four points between them at the final change.

But it was to be Box Hill’s day, with the Hawks rattling off five unanswered goals in the final term to record a memorable victory.

That loss proved to be something of a catalyst for Williamstown, who roll into Box Hill City Oval on a positive – albeit recently stunted – run of form that has catapulted them to outright third on the ladder.

The blue and gold won six on the bounce between rounds 4 and 9, including a string of comfortable wins over Coburg, North Ballarat, Richmond and Geelong. They fell to the Bombers by 15-points last time out, meaning they went to the bye with an extra week to digest their first loss since April 30th.

Box Hill, meanwhile, returned to the winners’ list last weekend at Preston City Oval, outlasting the Northern Blues to maintain it’s one-game gap to the pack atop the ladder.

In a tight and tough four quarter contest the Hawks kept their nerve to slowly but surely edge away. It mightn’t have been one for the vault, but it was effective.

The standalone Seagulls have won the last two at Box Hill – for balance the Hawks have won the last two at Burbank Oval – with this fixture proving to be a difficult one for the home side in recent times. Sunday’s match is Box Hill’s opportunity to make history by breaking a home team hoodoo.

The less said about the 2015 Grand Final the better.



Of the ten teams to have had a bye, seven have returned the following week to claim the four points.

Of the three teams to have lost off the week’s break, one was playing another side coming off the bye, thus compromising that statistic and… Box Hill was another. It was a tough day,

As a piece of raw data it puts pay to the oft-trotted out notion that the bye affects a team’s intensity or preparation or that they might be a touch lethargic or slow to get going. The numbers tell a quite different story: the seven wins have been by an average of just under five goals.

So, can the Seagulls continue the trend or will the Hawks topple their great rival for the second time this season?


Great rivals they most certainly are. There’ll be more than just the win up for grabs this weekend – though that is certainly the priority.

The match at Williamstown in round 3 never really boiled over, but it got a little testy here and there as the clock ticked on and neither side could wriggle away. Tempers fraying tends to be a consequence of two evenly match opponents.

You can bet the Seagulls will be out to inflict a second loss on the season for the Hawks, gain a measure of revenge for their own earlier defeat and, most importantly long term, sow the seeds of doubt ahead of a September during which they may meet again.

In the same way, a second win in as many meetings will imbue in the young Hawks a great deal of self-belief and confidence for the final third of the home and away season. Another challenger, another big match, another huge test. Pass it and bank another four points and that double chance moves ever closer.

The two teams are set to learn a great deal about each other and themselves, with the findings pivotal for what remains of 2017.


Chris Newman’s side have struggled for consistency of selection in recent weeks and will again be without skipper David Mirra and gun midfielder Will Hams.

One man who has been named to play this weekend – it remains to be seen whether that’ll be in the firsts or seconds – is livewire Sam Switkowski.

“Switta” is one part of that trio of key players to have missed a large chunk of the season to date, and the return(s) of those players, both collectively and individually, will be vital for the Club’s September aspirations.

As pleasing as it is to see Switkowski return, the absence of Sam, Mirra and Hams has been admirably covered by the likes of Anthony Brolic, Vincent Adduci, stand-in skipper Max Warren and the wonderful individual form of Andrew Moore.

Finally, after some challenging months Chris Newman might have a selection headache of the best kind.

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