MATCH REPORT: Hawks Tame Tigers

In arguably the Club’s best win of the season to date, Box Hill have staged a remarkable fightback to outlast Richmond in Sunday’s VFL seniors showdown at Box Hill City Oval.

During a dominant second and third terms, the Tigers seized the initiative and looked like running away with the contest, before the unbeaten Hawks turned their fortunes around in forty-five scintillating minutes to take the win and the four premiership points.

Playing at home for only the second time this year, Box Hill began the sharper of the teams, kicking the first two of the afternoon through Brolic and Schoenmakers.

Most of the early exchanges took place in the Hawks’ forward half, but a resolute Richmond defence ensured good looks at goal were hard to come by.

The Tigers struck their first blow some eleven minutes into the first term, but on the back of an organised home defence the Hawks were able to springboard back out to a two goal lead.

It was Will Hams who did the grunt work, gathering well and dishing to Harry Morrison. The young defender’s shot off one step sailed the required fifty metre journey and proved he’s just as adept kicking goals as he is stopping them.

The visitors found their rhythm in the next five minutes and took a slender lead on the back of two quick goals, before Sam Switkowski showed excellent vision to hit a difficult pass to Hams. The Hawks’ number ten marked well low down and drilled his set shot to regain the lead for his side in the shadows of quarter time.

Ayden Kennedy, featuring in the seniors for the first time this season, was providing excellent dash off half-back, whilst Max Warren was a consistent and dependable cool head alongside him.

Despite their efforts, however, the Tigers found the goal they needed to take a slender advantage into the first change in what was fast becoming a high paced, quality game of football.

Richmond started the second quarter in impressive fashion and had the Hawks camped hard against their defensive goal for the first seven minutes of play.

Fortunately for the hosts, all the Tigers had to show for this dominance was four behinds.

That would change quickly, however, when Lloyd and Chol each found their mark and the boys from Punt Road Oval had skipped out to a three goal lead.

James Sicily was sent back to help stem the tide, but he was powerless to stop a further two Richmond goals which gave them seven of the previous eight majors. Suddenly the game was in danger of being blown open.

Oliver Hanrahan’s flying shot at goal was offline but nevertheless registered the Hawks’ first score of the quarter to break an uninterrupted chain of thirty points from the Tigers, before Andrew Moore – his side’s leading possession getter and one the standout performers on the day – made something out of nothing with an instinctive snap from a stoppage in forward fifty.

An important lifeline arrived right on the half time siren, when youngster Mitch Lewis made a tricky snap on his right foot look easy. Just as quickly as the game looked to be slipping away it was back within reach, with the margin at half-time a manageable three goals.

Hope of a strong start to the second half was tested early when the Tigers booted the first after barely a minute. A second arrived shortly after and the margin was again five goals. The unbeaten Hawks looked vulnerable and in grave danger.

With the momentum against them and time to turn things around running out two important moments kickstarted the hosts’ charge.

Conor Glass rose highest in a pack to pull down a big grab on the half back flank, repelling a dangerous looking Richmond attack, before Ryan Schoenmakers caught his opponent cold just fifteen metres out from goal. He carefully steered his set shot through and, all of a sudden, there was a heartbeat.

Kennedy continued his fine display to outwork Chol in a one-on-one, then Nelson Lane showed brilliant poise and improvisation to volley home Oliver Hanrahan’s touched snap at goal.

Max Warren maintained the them of one great defensive act leading to one goal when he won a vital one-on-one in the air and in the resulting play Nelson Lane drilled a lace out pass into the path of the leading Lewis. He goaled and the margin was inside two kicks.

Just minutes later the skipper made a break from half back and pumped a ball deep inside forward fifty, which Ty Vickery floated across the pack to pull down. Playing an impressive second half he, like Lewis, split the middle and placed his side well within striking distance.

Two minutes later Kade Stewart marked in a relatively harmless position on the half forward flank. An overzealous effort to spoil cost Tiger Steven Morris a fifty metre penalty and, by extension, his side the lead when Stewart took his shot from the goal line.

Richmond burned a pair of promising opportunities in the minutes after and Ty Vickery made them pay when his long range effort split the middle after the three quarter time siren.

At the ten minute mark of the third term the Hawks were five goals in arrears. At three quarter time they’d taken the lead.

Dallas Willsmore buried a trademark fifty metre goal to start the final quarter, which gave the Hawks their seventh six-pointer on the trot. Richmond steadied shortly after and it was clear they wouldn’t be going away.

Switkowski kicked his first and Hanrahan nailed back-to-back efforts to edge the hosts out to an unassailable lead into time on and finally end Richmond’s brave resistance.

The game was iced when Moore kicked his second to round off a fine individual display and cap an extraordinary second half in which the fortunes of both sides turned on twenty minutes of outstanding football.

The Hawks had maintained their unbeaten start to 2017 on the back of an even spread of superb contributions from defence right through to attack.

Box Hill 4.2   6.4    12.6    18.8. 116

Richmond 4.4   8.10  10.14  13.16. 94

GOALS: Moore 2, Lewis 2, Hanrahan 2, Schoenmakers 2, Vickery 2, Sicily, Willsmore, Lane, Stewart, Morrison, Switkowski, Hams, Brolic

DISPOSALS: Moore 33, Hams 29, Willsmore 25, Cousins 23


Earlier, the Hawks’ Vic Development squad returned to the winners list with a comfortable 54-point win over Werribee.

Box Hill 4.5  8.6  12.10  17.15. 117
Werribee 3.0  6.3  7.7   9.9. 63

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