MATCH REPORT: Creekers outlast Box Hill siege

Box Hill were left to ponder the fickle nature of football after falling to ladder leaders Diamond Creek by 38 points on the back of a final quarter burst.

The Hawks implemented a lockdown game style that stifled Diamond Creek’s ball movement for three quarters. Needing quick goals to overcome a 13-point three quarter time deficit, Box Hill took the chance on pushing numbers up the ground. The move backfired and Diamond Creek stormed through an open forward line to kick four unanswered goals and condemn the Hawks to a seventh straight defeat.

Box Hill went into the match missing injured forward Emily Gilder and Olivia Flanagan, giving Monique Trusler her VFLW debut. With Diamond Creek boasting the top two VFLW goal-kickers in Chloe Molloy and Sophie Abbatangelo (29 between them in six matches), the Hawks’ defence was set to be the territory where victory and defeat would be decided. Pip Peschke and Chantella Perera took the forwards respectively.

From the outset, the match was a tough, scrappy contest fought in the stoppages with neither side willing to take a backwards step. For the fourth straight match, the Hawks got the first goal on the board through a Sarah Goode snap out of the pack. Diamond Creek were visibly struggling to produce their best ball movement under Box Hill’s pressure and didn’t open their account until Molloy was gifted a free in the goal square after 15 minutes.

By half time, the Hawks were down by 11 points but had clearly absorbed the lessons learnt in the previous week’s loss to Darebin. Their attack when the ball was in dispute and defensive set-ups going forward denied the high-scoring Creekers any freedom as Lauren Costello, Rosie Dillon and Shaylee Taylor all produced their best, most mature performances yet.

In the third quarter, Box Hill gave themselves every chance to burst clear of Diamond Creek but were left rueing their inaccuracy. Emma Mackie, Mel Kuys and Marinella Salafia starred as the Hawks spent 15 minutes bombarding their forward line. However, their return for effort was poor as they mustered 0.3 from seven shots on goal. To really twist the knife in, Lauren Brazzale slotted a goal from a free kick on the Creek’s sole forward entry.

Diamond Creek finally burst the bank in the final quarter and piled on four goals to none to run away by an inflated six goals. Ruck Alison Downie moved into the forward line and kicked a pair of goals as her height proved overwhelming. The Hawks were left lamenting both missed chances and their run of bad luck: until Downie converted her third from a contested mark in the goal square, Diamond Creek’s goals had either come from free kicks or Box Hill turnovers Inside 50.

Although they lost the war, Box Hill had won more battles across the ground than against Darebin. They were within arm’s reach for most of the day and their game style was so successfully carried out that the first three quarters were effectively played on their terms. Perera once again claimed points in her run-with role while not only did Peschke hold Molloy to a solitary major but she forced her to win most of her possessions upfield.

Diamond Creek will play St Kilda at the Peanut Farm Reserve next Sunday from 2pm.

Photo: Kadek Thatcher Photography

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