MATCH REPORT: Hawks Ground ‘Pies

Box Hill produced a performance that’ll live long in the memory on Saturday, reversing a 33-point deficit to topple a fired up Collingwood at the Magpies’ Holden Centre.

The win secured the Club it’s sixth win from six starts and sent the Hawks into outright first on the VFL ladder.

With skipper David Mirra and midfielder Will Hams sidelined by injury, and Messrs. Fitzpatrick, Vickery and Heatherley having recently been elevated to the AFL, a host of well-performed Development League players received a most welcome and deserved call-up.

Chris Jones, Billy Murphy, Xavier Dimasi, Jordan Walker and Billy Evans were joined by 23rd man Stuart Horner in forming a youthful and willing list of inclusions, with stand-in skipper Max Warren leading the side out for the first time.

It was Collingwood that started the better, kicking the first three of the contest and looking every bit the more settled side as they launched wave after wave of relentless attack in the first fifteen minutes.

Having gained a measure of territory, Hawk Liam Cox snaffled the ball off hands and snapped towards goal, his dribbling effort clipping the back of the post to register the Hawks’ first score. Seconds later Andrew Moore showed brute strength to ride a tackle and find Anthony Brolic by hand, with the Box Hill no. 7 wasting no time to kick his and his team’s first.

Just as the visiting Hawks began to break even Collingwood kicked their fourth.

Conor Glass was forced to leave the field after a bone crunching impact with teammate Ayden Kennedy sent him to ground and drew blood. Fortunately, after a trip to the rooms and some running repairs he was cleared to return.

The Magpies put the exclamation mark on a dominant quarter with their fifth right on the siren and took a well-deserved 28-point lead into the first break.

The Hawks returned to the field with added intensity around the contest in the second quarter, with Andrew Moore’s physicality at the coalface a particular highlight.

Collingwood’s outside run continued to cause issues and they registered the first of the term to skip out to a game-high 33-point lead.

Needing a quick change in fortune it was the work rate of Billy Murphy that forced an error from Collingwood’s Scharenberg deep in the Hawks’ attacking 50, with Billy Evans in the right place at the right time to pull one back.

Murphy got himself on the end of a nice transition to kick his first and edge the visitors closer, whilst Mitch Lewis began to grow in influence at centre half forward, presenting up on the wing and marking strongly.

Willsmore kicked his first early in time on with a composed finish on the run from 40 and all of a sudden the Hawks had the initiative.

Pittonet’s dominance of the ruck continued and on the back of three or four minutes of sustained attack Murphy kept his cool to kick his second and reduce the margin to just 8-points at half time.

Coach Chris Newman used his half-time address to praise the application and intensity of his charges in challenging circumstances. He stated that if they were to lose it wouldn’t be for a lack of effort.

As the match resumed the Magpies produced the first goal of the new quarter to inch away, as Warren continued to dig in and lead by example in the absence of David Mirra.

Mitch Lewis, more impressive with each passing contest, again stood his ground in front to mark well overhead, a trick Moore repeated shortly after to goal and bridge the gap.

Collingwood replied quickly, before Lewis produced his third contested mark of the quarter and speared through a beautiful set shot to have us back where we started.

Dimasi crumbed a loose ball expertly and snapped truly, before Billy Murphy found himself in space on the half forward flank, accelerated to to 40 and nailed his third to give the Hawks the lead.

The hosts again found a reply to wrest back the lead, but as the siren sounded the Hawks had them right where they wanted them.

Sam Switkowski showed his class and unselfish attitude just two minutes into the last to gather, keep his feet, evade his man and square up to Jones. The big man steadied and put his side back in front.

The back-and-forth continued when a defensive lapse gifted the ‘Pies their reply and the lead.

Box Hill remained calm and when Jones was pushed out in a marking contest his free kick gave the Hawks an advantage they wouldn’t surrender again.

Evans pressured Scharenberg into a contentious deliberate out of bounds, before curling a beautiful left footed goal from hard agains the boundary.

Lewis took a pair of enormous contested marks in a matter of a minute and kicked two more goals to take his tally to three for the afternoon and extend the lead 20-points with fifteen minutes played.

Max Warren repelled another Collingwood attack with a huge one-on-one win, but the ‘Pies kicked a goal on twenty-two minutes to set up a nervy finish.

Box Hill fans needn’t worry, as Sam Switkowski kicked the goal of the day to ice the game and show why he’s in the frame to represent the VFL at North Port Oval next weekend. Gathering the ball he rode a tackle, slipped another inside and curled through his left footed snap from 30.

Jordan Walker kicked his first of the day as the siren sounded, confirming a stunning 26-point win.

Box Hill 1.1 5.4 9.5 16.6. 102
Collingwood 5.5 6.6 9.10 11.10. 76

Goals: Murphy 3, Lewis 3, Jones 2, Evans 2, Brolic, Willsmore, Moore, Dimasi, Switkowski, Walker

Disposals: Cousins 29 (23 kicks, 10 tackles, 11 clearances), Willsmore 25 (5 clearances), Warren 22 (20 kicks, 7 marks), Moore 19 (7 clearances)

AFL Vic Development

Earlier in the day, Coburg proved too strong for the young Hawks in the Development League contest at the Lions’ Piranha Park.

A fresh faced Box Hill fielded a number of debutants and at times struggled to gel at both ends of the park.

Despite their inexperience, the Hawks rallied from a deficit of four goals in the third quarter to hit the front by three quarter time.

Two goals early in the final term gave the visitors an 18-point advantage, but the Lions surged home with the wind at their backs to take the points.

Box Hill 2.0 4.1 9.3 11.6. 72
Coburg 2.1 7.5 7.7 11.17. 83

Goals: Heir 3, Jacotine 2, Firns, Rusan, Parker, Walker, Adduci, Kilpatrick

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