HAWKS BEST TIGERS IN WILD WET
The Hawks have turned in one of their most complete efforts of the season, winning every quarter on their way to a comfortable 45-point win over Werribee and retaining the beyondblue Cup in the process.
Inspired by standout performances from Anthony Brolic, Chris Jones, Harry Morrison, Marc Pittonet and Oliver Hanrahan, amongst others, Box Hill reclaimed top spot on the VFL ladder, playing the cleaner and more efficient football on a wet and windy Box Hill City Oval.
Players enjoyed just ten minutes of dry conditions, with the first of persistent showers falling early in the opening term. Unexpectedly, it inspired a terrific quarter of attacking football.
The Tigers opened the scoring somewhat against the run of play, spring boarding out of defence and riding their luck through the middle of the ground.
Opposed to All-Australian ruckman Todd Goldstein, Marc Pittonet began brightly, drifting forward to kick the Hawks’ first of the afternoon. Given the importance of making the North Melbourne big man accountable, hitting the scoreboard was the perfect start.
Teia Miles kicked his first shortly after, pouncing on a loose ball in heavy congestion to bounce his shot towards an unguarded goal square.
Ty Vickery showed clean hands and clear head when he lead out to and gathered the slippery ball in front of his opponent, dishing off to the impressive Jones to kick his first. The Hawks’ two goal advantage was short lived, however, as the Tigers responded in quick time.
Sam Switkowski was proving a handful for Werribee’s defenders, but when his third flying shot for the quarter delivered his third behind of the quarter might’ve been getting a bit frustrated. If it was getting to him he didn’t show it, firing home just seconds later to restore his side’s two-goal lead.
Again the visitors found the answer, this time through Lindsay Thomas, but Billy Murphy kicked an instinctive goal to restore the Hawks’ two goal advantage deep into time on.
Meanwhile, at the defensive end of the field Kurt Heatherley was superb to deny the Tigers in a promising two on one situation. Leaving his man, he made the ball carrier commit to a pass, which he first affected and then chased down to force a throw in.
The second term started in ideal style, with Vickery on the board after just a minute. His fifty meter set shot was hit perfectly inside the right hand goal post, drawing beautifully to sail right over the goal umpires’ hat.
Skipper David Mirra then produced one of the individual efforts of the day, competing in multiple contests across the ground to ultimately nullify the ball to deny Werribee a clean chain and win his side a stoppage opportunity.
Jones kicked his second of the afternoon following a strong mark and when Hanrahan kicked truly the lead was out to five goals.
The Tigers would rally, kicking two quick goals in the worsening conditions to get themselves back within touching distance.
Just as it looked like Werribee might end the quarter closer than they started it, a clumsy high tackle gifted Teia Miles the chance to extend the margin. He would do just that from thirty meters out.
It was just the tonic for Chris Newman’s side, who had found a goal just as the half drew to a close and the momentum looked like it might be shifting the way of Werribee.
The third quarter kicked off under intensifying rain, making ball handling and movement all the trickier.
Box Hill did well to dictate possession and territory during the early exchanges, but struggled to translate their control into scoreboard pressure. Fortunately, with the rain sheeting down and the Tigers pinned deep in their defensive fifty, Werribee’s goal threat was negligible.
After ten minutes debutant Brayden Kilpatrick did well to find front position and get to the fall of the ball, marking unattended inside attacking fifty and kicking his set shot with the confidence of a more experienced hand.
Despite controlling the ball and field position, the opening stanza of the second half had yielded just 1.5 for the hosts, making what happened next all the more inevitable. On their first attack of the half, Werribee goalled to provide hope of a comeback.
Chris Jones continued to defy the tricky conditions out of centre half forward, though the shot that followed another strong one-on-one mark could only manage a behind.
Kade Stewart found his range shortly after, taking his time to size up a testing shot from the boundary line. A few steps inside and swing of his left foot later and the Hawks had again skipped away.
Despite another Werribee goal Box Hill would finish the quarter in good style, with first Kilpatrick and then Murphy kicking their second six-pointers of the game following good forward fifty pressure and classy finishes.
43-point leaders at the final change the result was in little doubt, leaving only the margin to be decided.
The Tigers kicked the first two and looked as though they might finish the stronger to take a bit of the sheen off a superb Box Hill performance, but Murphy kicked his third and Hanrahan his second to win the quarter and draw proceedings to a close.
Box Hill 5.4 9.5 13.14 15.18 108
Werribee 3.4 5.6 7.7 9.9 63
GOALS: Murphy 3, Jones 2, Miles 2, Kilpatrick 2, Hanrahan 2, Switkowski, Vickery, Pittonet, Stewart
DISPOSALS: Brolic 30, N Evans 26, Morrison 26, Moore 23, Warren 22, Stewart 22, Adduci 20
In earlier action, Box Hill’s Development squad made it four wins from their last four outings.
Confident and clinical, Andrew Shakespeare’s charges were too good all over the ground for the Tigers, with sixteen players amongst the goals.
The win sets up a tantalising clash between third and fourth next weekend, with the winner almost assured of finals action in 2017.
Box Hill 3.4 9.6 15.6 23.15 152
Werribee 1.3 1.5 3.8 4.10 34
GOALS: Hehir 4, Dimasi 2, Traynor 2, Parsons 2, Jeffs 2, O’Sullivan 2, Haynes, Gibson, Walker, Davies, Bond, Knoll, Cox, Williams, Burt, Castledine