MATCH REPORT: History-making Hawks outgun Tigerettes

On a history-making day for Box Hill, the VFL Women’s side broke through for their first ever victory as they hung on to defeat the Seaford Tigerettes by four points in front of a bitterly cold but delighted and passionate home crowd.

The Hawks had to fight the desperate Tigerettes’ pressure all day and were their own worst enemies when kicking on goal. The match-winning play came when Kristy Stratton converted a goal from a set shot with two minutes left – after eight winless matches, the youngest side in VFL Women’s finally sang the song after the 4.12 to 4.8 win.

The two winless sides got off to a nervous, scrappy start as the Tigerettes clogged the Hawks’ forward line to counter the stiff breeze. Returning to the side, Chantella Perera ran with big Tigerette Kate Gillespie-Jones in what proved an entertaining contest.

A goal to Ellie Macdonald gave Box Hill a narrow quarter time lead that Seaford eradicated in the second quarter. Hunting in packs and peppering the ball forward, the Tigerettes made the Hawks pay for sloppy defence when Dani Lawrence was left out the back to slot her side’s second.

In what seemed an ominous repeat of previous matches, the Hawks dominated forward entry and scoring shots in the third quarter but couldn’t build a lead. Indeed, their inaccuracy was staggering: when Emily Gilder’s hurried snap faded offline ten minutes in, Box Hill had held the play entirely in their forward half for nine straight behinds. Seaford forward Carly Bury soccered through a telling goal to have the score dead level going into the final quarter.

With the wind behind them, the Tigerettes charged at the Hawks only for Tamara Luke and Sarah Yule to repel time and time again. Box Hill received an unexpected boost when key Seaford midfielder Sarah Hosking hobbled from the ground with a right ankle injury. A long bomb to the square was marked by Gilder who put through her first to give her side the lead.

However, Seaford would not be denied and redoubled their attacks on goal. A snap from Katelyn Cox narrowly missed and when the kick-in was turned over the Hawks desperately rushed another. Seaford finally broke through for what could well have been the fatal blow when key forward Jas Rolland won a free at the top of the square and put her side two points clear with just under four minutes to go.

With the crowd at their backs, the Hawks mounted another attack and a blind kick out of the pack hit Stratton on the chest thirty from goal. The second-gamer’s nerve did not fail her and she put the most important kick yet of her career through to restore her side’s lead. One hundred and fifty seconds later, the siren and the roars of hundreds of supporters, including the VFL side, rang out over Box Hill City Oval.

It was far from pretty and, as victorious coach Patrick Hill admitted, far from Box Hill’s best. However, his side had fought their way to victory with poise and belief bolstered by outstanding individual performances from Luke, Pip Peschke and Clare O’Donnell with the game on the line.

VFL Women’s has a bye next week. Box Hill will face the Cranbourne Eagles at Frenken Homes Oval in Round 10.

Photo: Kadek Thatcher Photography

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