Match Report: Hawks Ground Bombers

The Box Hill Hawks returned to winning ways on Sunday, defeating Essendon by 72-points at Windy Hill.

The victory moves the Hawks to six wins on the season and keeps the brown gold just a game and percentage out of the competition’s top four – an enormous fillip given the disappointment of last weekend’s loss to the Lions and the logjam of teams developing on the lip of the finals. 

The Hawks started the match the stronger of the two sides, winning the first term 3.3 to 0.2, but it wasn’t until the second quarter that Zane Littlejohn’s charges stretched their legs and broke their hosts’ resolve.

Box Hill laid on seven unanswered goals in a brutal and brilliant half-an-hour of football to take a 62-point lead into the long break, buoyed by excellent contributions of midfielders Cal Brown, Finn Maginness and Josh Ward, and the chemistry of a front six happy to share the ball and the rewards which came from repeat entries inside forward 50.

Already three goals to the good, between the six and 13 minute marks of the quarter the visitors laid on four unanswered goals – from the boots of debutant Remy Maclean, best afield Max Ramsden, developing swingman Josh Tovey and the excellent Nick Watson; the latter of whom kicked four goals from 22 touches in his VFL debut. 

Better again, the Hawks would add another three in time on to well and truly break the contest open.

But more than carry a threat in the front half of the ground, it was the team’s attitude and application without the ball that was most heartening. For as hard as the Bombers tried and for as many inside 50s as they could muster, they couldn’t find a way through the Hawks’ miserly defence and ended the half goalless.

Having kicked the final two majors of the first half, Chad Wingard picked up where he left off to kick his third goal of the day after just two minutes once play resumed. But from that point on the Bombers settled, no doubt challenged by their brains trust to give a better account of themselves in the second half. 

Will Setterfield and Ricky Monti broke the hosts’ goal drought with back-to-back six pointers, only for those efforts to be answered by Ben Cavarra’s gun-barrel straight set shot minutes later.

But before either side could steal a march and press an advantage the match settled into an arm wrestle, with both teams cancelling one another out until Setterfield’s second in the shadows of three quarter time broke the deadlock and won the Bombers the quarter 3.3 to 2.3.

56-points to the good with one to play the result appeared largely academic, but there was still plenty to be gained by finishing the contest off strongly.

While the Hawks couldn’t replicate the 7.3 kicked in the second quarter, they would win the final term 4.7 to 2.3 – with Watson kicking goals three and four of the day, Wingard adding a fourth of his own and Ramsden capping a superb individual showing with his second. 

All told Box Hill managed 94 more disposals, 19 more inside 50s, 27 more marks, 17 more scoring shots and never trailed. More, the team in brown and gold boasted nine of the top 11 ranked players on the ground.

The aforementioned Ramsden was sensational throughout, contributing a game-high 28 hit-outs, winning six clearances, taking an equal game-high nine marks and kicking two goals from 23 high quality possessions. 

Harry Morrison was also excellent on the back of 36 touches, which included an equal game-high 10 rebound 50s, four inside 50s, three tackles and an equal game-high nine marks. But as impressive as his stat line reads, it was Morrison’s poise with ball in hand and ability to hit targets under pressure which caught the eye.

Josh Ward continued his fine run of recent form at the heart of Box Hill’s midfield, impacting the contest on the inside and outside from first siren to last. His 33 touches were the result of a superb work rate and included 17 kicks and 16 handballs, an equal game-high nine marks and an equal game-high seven inside 50s. 

Another to figure prominently on the stats sheet and inside the Hawks’ engine room was Finn Maginness. Box Hill’s no.32 tallied a game-high 39 touches, won a game-high eight clearances and 15 contested possessions, produced an equal game-high seven inside 50s, took six marks and kicked a goal. 

Youngster Nick Watson made quite the impression on his VFL debut, spending time inside forward 50 and up on the ball and excelling at both. The 2023 first-round draft pick’s return of 4.3 from 22 touches makes for great reading in and of themselves, but it was Watson’s ability to cover the ground, involve himself in the play and perform the role of provider which should excite Hawks fans.

Lastly among Box Hill’s best was the excellent Cal Brown, whose run and carry was integral in setting his team up from the get-go. Brown finished the day with 37 touches, eight marks, six inside 50s and four rebound 50s in a balanced display which confirmed his reputation as one of the VFL’s best. 

The Hawks return home next Sunday to take on the visiting GWS Giants.

Box Hill




16.16 112





5.10 40

Ramsden, Morrison, Ward, Maginness, Watson, C Brown

Goals: Wingard, Watson 4, Ramsden 2, Tovey, Maginness, Maclean, Horner, Cavarra, Bennetts

Disposals: Maginness 39, C Brown 37, Morrison 36, Ward 33, Bennetts 25, Ramsden 23, Watson 22

Similar Posts