Match Report: Milestone Man Turns Match Winner For 5-2 Hawks

The Box Hill Hawks have survived an almighty scare to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat; having looked to have snatched defeat from the jaws of victory just minutes earlier.

The Hawks lead Sandringham by as much as 43-points midway through the second term, only to be sensationally headed after St. Kilda forward Anthony Caminiti kicked his third of the afternoon at the 25-and-a-half minute mark of the fourth quarter to give his side a two-point lead – their biggest advantage of the day.

Played in front of a boisterous crowd at Wonthaggi Recreation Reserve, there was one last twist in the tale deep into time on. Stu Horner, the Club’s longest tenured active player – who was playing his 50th senior match for the Club – steered through his first-ever goal for the Club to reclaim the lead and the all-important four points. 

It was a remarkable conclusion to a rollicking afternoon of VFL footy, but with the Hawks in complete control early on few who watched the first half would’ve predicted the contest would go down to the wire. 

After Cooper Sharman opened the scoring with a behind, Max Ramsden, Max Hall and Ben Cavarra piled on three goals in barely four minutes to give their side a more than handy early break. 

The Zebras’ William Brown kicked a timely goal for his side to get them on the board, but it was quickly cancelled out by the Hawks’ Josh Bennetts. 

The two sides traded behinds in an entertaining albeit goalless 10-minute spell as quarter time approached, before the dangerous, crafty Cavarra kicked goals two and three of the term just two minutes apart.

A Cooper Sharman goal was the only bright spot for Sandringham through fourteen second quarter minutes dominated by the Hawks – who hit the scoreboard via Ramsden, Wood, Cavarra and Stefanakis to kick away to the aforementioned and game-high 43-point lead.

A late Caminiti goal trimmed the margin ever-so-slightly, but gave his side hope the second half could be better.

In truth, the biggest difference between the two sides was efficiency in front of goal. Whereas the Hawks had made the most of their chances to establish a seemingly match-winning lead, the Zebras had been terribly wasteful.

It’s overly simplistic to suggest both teams had had 14 scoring shots by half-time and therefore should’ve been closer on the scoreboard, but the 35-point margin did paint an unrealistic picture of the gap between the sides.

Renewed and refreshed following the long break, Sandringham wouldn’t and couldn’t be denied. They slowly began chipping away at the deficit bit by bit and would make significant headway late in the third term to draw within 20-points by the final change of ends.

Having snatched at chance after chance to that point, Sandy’s radar in front of goal had well and truly been re-calibrated, with the Zebras kicking 5.0 to the Hawks’ 1.3 to take the lead.

But there was time enough for Horner to be the hero. Ethan Phillips was on hand to clean up what would’ve been a match-winning inside 50 for Sandy and his relieving handball found the dashing Bodie Ryan. 

The first-year Hawk’s kick inside the corridor was marked by Horner just backwards of the centre circle – and when Lance Collard’s efforts to delay the play lingered a touch too long the umpire had no option but to advance Box Hill’s no.62 to within scoring range.

Horner, who arrived at the Club in 2016 and played his first senior game the following season, had played 76 games all told for Box Hill – 49 VFL and 27 Development League – prior to Sunday but never kicked a goal. You wouldn’t have known.

He expertly sized up the big sticks from 45 meters out and arrowed through a textbook right foot drop punt. Cue pandemonium.

There was barely enough time for the ball to be bounced and play resumed, with the final siren sounding seconds after the umpire spiked the Sherrin into the turf one last time.

The Hawks had secured a vital victory on the back of the most unlikely of match winners.

Ben Cavarra was named his side’s best player for a superb 15 disposal performance which included four goals and three goal assists. Classy, creative and clever, Cavarra looked every bit the player fans of the VFL know him to be second-up from a knee reconstruction.

Josh Ward’s excellent run of recent form at the VFL level continued also, with the former top-10 draft pick finishing the day as the no.2 ranked player on the ground behind teammate Cal Brown. Ward tallied 27 touches, two rebound 50s, an equal game-high six inside 50s, eight marks and an equal game-high seven clearances in a composed performance.

Aside from Horner, the best news story from the day was almost certainly Changkuoth Jiath, who played managed minutes and was withdrawn at three quarter time. The 2018 Box Hill premiership player moved beautifully in his return from injury to record 22 disposals, a game-high nine marks and five inside 50s. 

Bodie Ryan’s debut season in brown and gold continues to build nicely, and the dashing South Australian turned heads with yet another encouraging display across half-back. While his dare with ball in hand was oftentimes a highlight of his performance, just as important was his ability to identify and find the right option quickly in the heat of the contest.

The superb form of Cal Brown seemingly knows no end, with the reigning Col Austen Trophy winner compiling a game-high 28 touches, a game-high eight rebound 50s, eight marks and four tackles. Deployed across half back for much of the first half, he was thrown into the midfield mix at three quarter time and was instrumental in the final result.

And last but not least, the milestone man and match-winner Stu Horner. Aside from kicking the all-important final goal of the day, Horner had the job on dangerous Sandy small forward Lance Collard.

The Hawks Vice-Captain was excellent in holding the Subiaco product to just four touches and no score.

Sunday’s win moves the Hawks to five-and-two on the season and third on the ladder ahead of next weekend’s bye. The Club next plays the Brisbane Lions at Fenjiu Stadium in round nine.

Box Hill




13.9 87





11.16 82

Cavarra, Ward, Jiath, Ryan, C Brown, Horner

Disposals: C Brown 28, Ward 27, Heath 22, Ryan 18, Porter 17, Morrison 17

Goals: Cavarra 4, Stefanakis, Ramsden 2, Wood, Wingard, Horner, Hall, Bennetts

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