MATCH REPORT: Hawks clipped by Eagles in the last

Box Hill have been gone down to Cranbourne by 13 points at Box Hill City Oval to remain winless at the end of Round 4.

The Hawks kicked the first three goals of the game and held the lead until halfway through the third quarter. However, Cranbourne showed the difference experience can make as they finished full of running.

After marked improvement over their first three matches, Box Hill had their best chance of claiming their inaugural victory against the winless Eagles. Within ten minutes of the opening bounce, it looked as if the Hawks were going to have a field day. The Hawks won the first two clearances and moved the ball fast and direct into the forward line for Ebony Nixon and Emily Gilder to swoop for goals. Emily McIlvena swung onto the right to snap a third shortly after and the Hawks had well and truly jumped the Eagles.

However, once Cranbourne settled down they limited the freewheeling football that had seen Box Hill take control of the match. While Chantella Perera was brilliantly blanketing key Eagle Bianca Jakobsson and would continue to do so all day, Cranbourne players Jas Grierson and Hayley Wildes began to influence the contest. Cranbourne’s Nicola Garner slotted the only goal of the second quarter to leave Box Hill clinging to a four-point lead at the main break.

After half time, the Eagles turned the tide of the match by executing the hard-running, direct play that Box Hill had employed so successfully in the first quarter. Thanks largely to the strong efforts of Tamara Luke and Pip Peschke on the last line of defence, Box Hill held the fort against Cranbourne. However, they couldn’t hold it forever and the speedy Kirsten McLeod goaled from long range halfway through the quarter to put the Eagles in front for the first time.

The acid test for the fledgling Hawks came in the last quarter as they faced the challenge of reversing the match’s momentum against their more experienced opponents. At first, Box Hill stood tall with Jayde Van Dyk providing poise in the clinches and captain Mel Kuys heroic in defence. Two chances went begging in the first ten minutes and they cost the Hawks dearly. With four minutes to go and the Eagles leading by the narrowest of margins, McLeod roved to snap her second from a long bomb into the forward line. Cranbourne ruck Breann Moody put the final nail in the coffin with a contested mark and goal in the final minute.

“You don’t get any points for brave defeats,” rhapsodised coach Paddy Hill after the match. “At the moment, we’re playing a good quarter here and there and we led at half time, which is another box we’ve ticked, but we need to turn every week and play 80 minutes.”

VFL Women’s has a bye next week. Box Hill face the Eastern Devils in Round 5 on Sunday June 18 at Mulgrave Reserve.

Box Hill           3.1       3.1       3.3       3.5.23
      1.1       2.3       3.5       5.6.36

Goals: Nixon, Gilder, McIlvena.

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