MATCH REPORT: Hawks Clawed By Cats

Box Hill’s winning run has crashed to a disappointing end as the Hawks lost their second clash of the season with traditional rivals Geelong by 14 points.

The Hawks opened up a 13-point quarter time buffer but the good news stopped there as Geelong wore Box Hill down and took the lead after the half time siren. The Hawks were unable to recreate the superb performance that saw them win their second straight match against Cranbourne in Round 10. A steady north-easterly breeze made transition and scoring difficult but the Hawks didn’t help themselves as costly defensive errors opened the door for the Cats.

Mel Kuys won the toss and Box Hill were on track to avenge their Round 1 loss early. Sensational play under pressure from Gab Mahoney set up Emily Gilder’s ninth goal of the season before Mahoney won a free to kick her own. The effect of the late withdrawal of key defender Chantella Perera wasn’t immediately apparent as Tamara Luke blanketed Cat forward Kate Darby.

Whilst Luke and Emily McIlvena held the fort well in defence, the Hawks struggled to adjust to the wind on the attack; although forward entries were equal for the second quarter, Box Hill added just a solitary point to their total. The Hawks also proved their own worst enemies as Michelle Fedele snapped her side’s first from a turnover in defence, Maddie Boyd goaled from a free and a deliberate out-of-bounds and a high hit within the last 30 seconds allowed Madisen Maguire to put the Cats ahead after the siren.

Needing goals with the wind to build momentum, Box Hill found themselves defending for much of the third quarter. Too often, the Hawks won the ball only to blaze forward without an option as the Cats’ defensive structure picked off their attacks.

The odds were against Box Hill as they turned to the final quarter six points in arrears. Although the Hawks refused to lie down and generated just as many Inside 50s into the wind as the Cats did, Geelong’s Boyd and Hannah Burchell starred in the air and on the ground to take the match beyond Box Hill’s reach. Burchell ran forward to mark in the goal square and put the final nail in the coffin halfway through the quarter. The Hawks scrounged a lonely behind in the second half to lose 2.3.15 to 4.5.29 – the margin may have been seven goals closer than their Round 1 loss but there was the bitter feeling of a chance missed in the Box Hill camp.

“In the first half, our ball movement was pretty good but it probably fell away late in the second and third quarter,” said coach Patrick Hill. “Full credit to Geelong in their win, but I think we conceded four goals and three came from blatant errors from us.”

Box Hill face Diamond Creek in Round 12 next Sunday from 2pm at the Plenty War Memorial Reserve.


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