MATCH REPORT: Hawks Back On Top

VFL Seniors

Box Hill have reclaimed top spot on the VFL ladder with a 50-point win over the North Ballarat Roosters.

Beset by a recent injury crisis, coach Chris Newman’s selection headache this week was the composition of his ruck division.

In-form big man Marc Pittonet was struck down during the week and likely replacement Connor O’Sullivan, a promising development rookie, joined him on the sidelines. In their place Ty Vickery would shoulder the bulk of the ruck work, assisted by pinch hitter Chris Jones.

In positive news, Newman would’ve welcomed the return of skipper David Mirra to his starting line-up, with the reigning club champion sorely missed over the past month. Mirra would play managed minutes on his return from a hamstring injury, accumulating 23 touches across three quarters.

The Hawks were kept well in check when the two sides met just five weeks ago and struggled to break free of the well organised and disciplined Roosters on their home deck, ultimately winning by 13-points.

Evidently, there were lessons learned from that encounter, as the hosts surged clear of their plucky visitors in a first quarter display that was as convincing as it proved decisive.

After a tight opening, in which the Hawks were made to wait nine minutes for their first major of the afternoon, they rattled off five in the next twenty minutes to take a 30-point lead into the first change.

Goals to Sam Switkowski, Billy Murphy, Ty Vickery, Aaron Bond and Billy Evans represented an even contribution, but more importantly were created by virtue of selfless, team orientated football.

Teia Miles was directly involved in four of the goals, embodying the aforementioned attitudes that were central to his side’s positive start, whilst Max Warren, Ayden Kennedy, Conor Glass and David Mirra provided a consistently devastating springboard from half back.

The second quarter began much the same as the first ended, with the Hawks well on top and looking to press home their advantage.

Nelson Lane added his name to the list of goal kickers when he full advantage of an unguarded goal square, pitching a 45-metre kick to the top of the square and allowing it to bounce through.

North Ballarat nabbed their first of the contest shortly after as a result of a clumsy exit from defensive fifty, but the Hawks returned serve before too long via the right boot of Oliver Hanrahan, who’s classy finish capped a period of wonderful pressure inside attacking fifty.

Field and goal kicking became treacherous and a little tricky as a stiff breeze swept across Box Hill City Oval, with a number of errors by foot whilst players adjusted.

Anthony Brolic became the Hawks’ eighth individual goal kicker when he mastered the breeze following a trademark high mark, but the Roosters kicked their second of the quarter to take us to the half-time break.

Defending a 34-point lead at the start of the third, Box Hill wasted little time in extending their advantage.

Miles, Dallas Willsmore and Lachie Williams all kicked their first goals of the afternoon, meaning the Hawks’ eleven majors had come from eleven different players. The Roosters kicked their third, but Chris Jones – Box Hill’s number 12 – kicked his side’s twelfth, in doing so becoming the team’s twelfth different goal kicker for the afternoon.

WIllsmore became his side’s first multiple goal kicker as the clock ticked into time on, before the impressive Vickery, on his way to recording a 48-hitout, seven clearance performance, marked strongly to kick his second.

Mitch Lewis, meanwhile, was acquitting himself well in a key defensive post, gaining valuable experience alongside the likes of Mirra and Kennedy, whilst the midfield trio of Whitecross, WIllsmore and Moore were proving a handful on their way to a combined 101-possessions.

Jones would add his second to finish the term, converting a potentially difficult set shot after the siren to close the book on a seven goal to two third quarter and hand the Hawks an unassailable 64-point lead at the last change.

The Roosters came out of their three quarter time huddle with renewed purpose and kicked the first four of the quarter.

Brolic stopped the Roosters’ run of unanswered goals to nab his third, before the teams traded six-pointers to close out the match.

In the end the Hawks were far too good and, more importantly, back on top.

Box Hill    
5.3   8.8   15.11   18.13 121
North Ballarat    
0.3   2.10   4.13   9.17 71

Goals: Jones 3, Willsmore 2, Vickery 2, Brolic 2, Lane 2, Switkowski, Murphy, Bond, B Evans, Hanrahan, Miles, Williams

Disposals: Willsmore 35, Whitecross 34, Moore 32, Morrison 23, Mirra 23, Miles 21, Lane 21

VFL Vic Development League

In the day’s curtain raiser the development squad made it three wins on the trot with a come from behind victory over the visiting Northern Blues.

The fast-starting Blues wasted little time trying to atone for the Hawks’ win at Preston City Oval just two weeks ago, leaping to a four goal lead early in the first term.

The Hawks would respond, however, and slowly reel them in, snatching the lead with the last action of a frantic second quarter.

A polished second half display saw the hosts edge away, lead by skipper Xavier Dimasi, live-wire Dale Hehir and the returning Mitchell O’Donnell, playing his first match of the year having recovered from shoulder surgery.

The win returns the Hawks to the top four.

Box Hill 2.0 7.3 10.7 13.13 91
Northern Blues
5.1 6.5 7.7 7.8 50

Goals: Hehir 2, O’Donnell 2, Dimasi 2, Traynor 2, Walker, Horne, Jacotine, Davies, Castledine

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