Match Report: North Melbourne vs Box Hill

Box Hill applied the finishing touches to it’s pre-season preparations on Sunday, defeating North Melbourne by 37-points in the Club’s fourth and final practice match ahead of round one. 

Senior Coach Clint Proctor called on his strongest line-up of the season to date, with 10 AFL-listed Hawks turning out on a hot and at times uncomfortable afternoon at Arden Street.

Will Day was the headline addition to the game day squad, playing his first football at any level since an ankle injury ended his 2021 season at round 15. 

Assured and showing no ill-effects throughout, Day played three quarters off half-back, got through unscathed and will press for a senior return in the coming weeks.

Kyle Hartigan lined up at full back, teaming with Hawks’ skipper Hugh Beasley and developing tall James Blanck to form the side’s key defensive pillars.

With his side light on for genuine ruck options, Jackson Callow put his hand up to shoulder the bulk of the Hawks’ stoppage work, while Daniel Howe, Ned Long and Jack Saunders plied their trade at his feet.

Forward of the ball Jacob Koschitzke and Emerson Jeka lead the line, to borrow a phrase from the world game, and were supported by Jai Serong and Seamus Mitchell across half-forward. 

From a Box Hill perspective Ben Cavarra added the best part of three quarters to the half he played last week, while Damian Mascitti did likewise as the veteran utility builds towards round one.

Vincent Adduci and Fergus Greene figured for the second week in succession and look cherry ripe for Collingwood this Sunday, while Jordan Cunico and James Parsons each played a half as they overcome minor knocks. 

When things got underway it was Howe who gave the Hawks the ideal start, booting the first of the contest before many patrons had made their way into the venue.

The midfielder was best man on the ground when the two sides met at City Oval last May and wasted little time picking up where he’d left off.

Brady Grey kicked the first of four goals for the afternoon not long after, immediately justifying the coaching group’s decision to deploy him forward.

A pair of North Melbourne goals briefly gave the hosts the lead, before Koschitzke’s first of the day wrestled back scoreboard supremacy.

Grey’s second, a smartly taken snap, arrived quickly thereafter and brought a close to a quarter in which both teams balanced some nice moments in attack with some costly errors exiting defence.

The second quarter started with a flurry of activity as North momentarily closed the gap, before Grey’s third re-established a two goal lead. 

Koschitzke kicked a clever check side, his second goal of the day, a short time later and the Hawks looked as though they could blow the game open. 

North rallied to kick their fourth of the day to contract the deficit to 16-points in the shadows of half-time, before Emerson Jeka arrowed through an expertly taken set shot to end the first hour on a positive note.

It was the Kangaroos who started the second half the better, kicking the first three goals of the third term to edge to within a kick.

Needing a response, Ben Cavarra and Vincent Adduci linked up brilliantly in midfield to advance the ball to Brady Grey, who needed only two steps to kick his fourth of a very productive day from just inside 50.

James Blanck and Lachie Wynd took turns in the ruck as the game wore on and it was the latter who played a pivotal role in a pivotal third-quarter goal.

Under pressure to clear defensive 50, Wynd marked strongly at half-back. Recognising the opportunity to move the ball on quickly, he handed off to Mascitti who hit-up the leading Jeka on centre wing. Jeka’s left footed kick to half forward was plucked by Adduci, who’s long kick to the top of the square dropped perfectly for Cavarra to mark strongly overhead. 

The goal that followed was good enough for a 16-point lead and, in the wash-up, perhaps the decisive moment of the contest.

Howe intercepted a kick just inside attacking 50 not long after, steadied and steered through his second of the day.

Koschitzke’s third came after a string of superb efforts from the big forward up the ground. Having competed as an option on the wing he followed the play deep forward and soccered through a well-deserved six-pointer. Suddenly, the margin was 28-points and it was three quarter time. 

Goals to Jeka and a pair of quick fire efforts from Fergus Greene, one of which was a beautiful right-footed strike after stepping out of traffic, well and truly ended the the game once the fourth term got underway. 

But it was Cavarra who saved the best for last, kicking a brilliant goal on the far side to wrap up the day and with it the Hawks’ pre-season.

Box Hill will take on Collingwood this Sunday from 12pm at Victoria Park as the 2022 VFL season gets underway. 

Box Hill




15.11 101

North Melbourne




9.10 64


Goals: Grey 4, Koschitzke 3, Howe, Jeka, Greene, Cavarra 2

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