MATCH PREVIEW: VFL Round 16

WHERE: Box Hill City Oval
WHEN: Saturday, 2:10pm
COVERAGE: LIVE – Channel 7 from 2pm
                            3WBC Radio – 94.1FM

LAST FIVE MEETINGS

Round 4, 2017: Geelong 8.5 (53) defeated by Box Hill Hawks 14.11 (95) at Simonds Stadium

Round 11, 2016: Geelong 18.10 (118) defeated Box Hill Hawks 10.9 (69) at Simonds Stadium

Round 18, 2015: Geelong 10.11 (71) defeated by Box Hill Hawks 19.7 (121) at Simonds Stadium

Round 3, 2014: Geelong 14.11 (95) defeated by Box Hill Hawks 17.20 (122) at Simonds Stadium

Grand Final, 2013: Geelong 11.12 (78 defeated by Box Hill Hawks 14.15 (99) at Etihad Stadium

FORM

Round 11:
Box hill defeated Northern Blues (A) by 26
Geelong defeated Coburg (H) by 85

Round 12:
Box Hill lost to Williamstown (H) by 45
Geelong lost to Collingwood (H) by 26

Round 13:
Box Hill defeated North Ballarat (H) by 52
Geelong lost to Footscray (H) by 62

Round 14:
Box Hill defeated Werribee (H) by 45
Geelong lost to Sandringham (A) by 27

Round 15:
Box Hill defeated Sandringham (A) by 47
Geelong lost to Northern Blues (A) by 5

SUMMARY

One of football’s great rivalries will be renewed this Saturday afternoon in front of an expectant crowd at Box Hill City Oval and through TV sets around Victoria via Channel 7’s live broadcast.

The Hawks still occupy top spot, whilst the Cats sit twelfth, three games out of the eight with just four matches to play.

The developing Cats’ finals hopes could be mathematically dashed by the end of the weekend, whilst the Hawks could have a top-two spot sewn up come Sunday night, providing a number of results go our way.

Earlier in the season the Hawks travelled down the highway, braving a rain soaked Simonds Stadium to run out seven goal winners. The brown and gold have beaten the hoops in four of the last five clashes between the sides, with recent matches settled by relatively comfortable margins.

This is the first meeting of the two sides at Box Hill City Oval in more than five years, with the only venue other than Simonds Stadium to have hosted the two sides during that period being Etihad Stadium. What a great day that was.

I keep saying the equation is simple because it is: keep winning and all that the side is after will be ours. Top four, top two, home final… It’s all within Chris Newman’s grasp.

TALKING POINTS

1. EQUAL OPPORTUNITY OFFENCE

It doesn’t matter who or where the goals come from, so long as they come.

A mix of talls (Chris Jones, Ty Vickery, Marc Pittonet) have been ably complimented by the fleet of foot small brigade (Sam Switkowski, Brayden Kilpatrick, Nelson Lane, Vincent Adduci and Teia Miles) to create one of the more versatile and devastating forward lines in the VFL.

As if to illustrate the recent production of this varied group of forwards and goal-kicking midfielders, the Hawks’ percentage over the last three weeks sits at 148.26, a full twenty-three percent better than their season total.

Put in the air and the big boys will compete.

If the ball hits the deck the smalls will crumb.

Play a high defensive line and they’ll beat you back to goal.

Hesitate in clearing your lines and someone will tackle you.

Following a lean run Chris Newman and his assistants have found a balance that should strike fear into all VFL defences. Only three teams have scored total points in 2017, with two of those teams (Footscray and Richmond) having played one more game.

Between rounds ten and twelve the Hawks recorded their three lowest scores of the year, returning one win and two losses from matches against Casey, Northern Blues and Williamstown.

In the past three weeks, matches against North Ballarat, Werribee and Sandringham have returned three of the Club’s five highest scores of the season, including the season high 145-points kicked last Sunday at Trevor Barker Beach Oval.

Fifty-five goals have been kicked in these games at an average of eighteen goals and ten individual goal kickers a match.

Further, conversion is up, with the Hawks averages of thirty-two scoring shots from fifty-three inside fifties, meaning the team is scoring on 60% of its forays into their attacking arc.

The recipe for success of late has been a helter-skelter, high octane brand of all-out-attacking football. The results (as detailed above) speak for themselves. Can they keep it going? If yes, Geelong will have their work cut out for them. 

2. CHANGE IS AS GOOD AS A HOLIDAY

One of the most pleasing aspects of the Hawks good form has been the individual stories driving it.

Anthony Brolic has moved onto a wing. Since debuting two weeks ago Brayden Kilpatrick has well and truly taken his chance. Andrew Moore has spent a fraction less time around the ball, freed up by the return of Mitch O’Donnell, and is proving a handful playing forward.

These are but a few of the more obvious tactical evolutions that have revitalised a team that, in fairness, only needed a few tweaks to recapture the form of earlier in the season.

What, if any further changes, does Chris Newman have up his sleeve?

3. ALL EYES ON US

Whenever you feature on Channel 7’s match of the day it is an occasion worth celebrating and savouring.

It can be platform that brings out the best in players, and with finals just around the corner its the perfect dress rehearsal for the Club and, importantly, the players.

We’ve seen one of our own turn on the style in front of the television cameras, when Sam Switkowski turned North Port Oval into his own backyard with five goals before three quarter time.

Annnnd, we’ve been on the receiving end of a player dazzling the television audience as Jason Bennett does play-by play, when Casey’s Sam Weideman kicked six for the day, five of which came before the five minute mark of the second quarter.

It’s the chance for our players to strut their stuff in front of an expanded audience and embrace the scrutiny that comes with opportunity.

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