Match Report: Richmond vs Box Hill

Box Hill’s pre-season preparations continued on Saturday, with a youthful Hawks outfit falling to Richmond by 14-points.

Played over four 25 minute quarters in greasy and oftentimes windy conditions at Punt Road Oval, the contest saw the Hawks name a 24-man squad comprised of just four senior-listed Hawthorn players.

Former captain Damian Mascitti made his first appearance of 2022 and was joined in the line-up by experienced teammates Mason De Wit, Ed Phillips, stand-in skipper Cal Porter and new recruits Jaylon Thorpe and Brady Grey.

But the day was ultimately about giving the kids a chance. James Blanck, Jed Rule and Charlie Beasley were drafted in to hold down key position posts in defence, while Will Sexton, Luis D’Angelo, Mitch Sruk and Max Hall were given the opportunity to impress on ball.

Mason Hawkins spent the majority of his game in the ruck, Cayden Maki played off a wing and Jake Arundell and Flynn Lakey provided ground support inside forward fifty.

The standout, however, was Thorpe. Recruited from Williamstown in the off-season, the athletic and versatile tall played forward, pinch hit in the ruck, dominated in the air and covered the ground beautifully. He finished with a game-high five goals to show for an outstanding debut in brown and gold.

The match itself was a hotly contested arm-wrestle for the most part, typified by a first quarter in which the sides managed just the one goal between them.

The lack of scoring owed nothing to a lack of quality or endeavour, however, but the defensive organisation of both sides.

The game sprung to life in the second quarter as the Hawks’ midfield repeatedly won and surged the ball forward to enjoy their best and most prolific period of the game.

Thorpe marked strongly and kicked his first of the day, before young speedster Jake Arundell swooped on a loose ball to give the Hawks the lead.

With his side enjoying the lion’s share of territory and possession, ’Thorpey’ again found himself in the thick of things, kicking goals two and three to extend his side’s advantage.

The maturity of Stu Horner, Mason De Wit and Damian Mascitti was integral in settling a back six light on for VFL experience, which in turn stymied the Tigers’ scoring threat.

Sam Butler chimed in with his first of the day just before half-time, gathering a textbook front and square to clinically snap his side’s fifth major of a fantastic quarter of footy.

Senior Coach Clint Proctor praised the efforts of his young side during the half-time break, before stressing the hosts would come out renewed and revitalised following the interval.

And so they did. The hosts controlled their home deck to kick the first three goals of the term and limit the Hawks’ opportunities at the other end.

That was until Thorpe found himself on the end of a quick transition forward and slotted his fourth of the day from just inside fifty to give the Hawks back the lead.

Holding a five-point advantage and kicking to what had been the scoring end through three quarters, the Hawks resumed hopeful of a big finish to an encouraging day.

It was not to be. Richmond kicked the first three of the term to wrestle back control, before Thorpe’s fifth drew his side to within a point with 10 minutes played.

The Tigers would not be denied and again found three successive six-pointers to kick away to a 20-point lead with just minutes to play.

Jack Saunders’ fine effort reduced the deficit to 14-points, but the siren sounded shortly thereafter to confirm defeat by that margin.

Encouraged by the displays of players young, new and experienced, the Hawks have plenty of positives to mine from a solid hit out.

Box Hill will continue our build to a round one date with Collingwood next Friday night with a clash against Frankston.

Box Hill 0.3 5.5 6.6 8.7 55
Richmond 1.4 2.4 5.7 10.9 69

Thorpe 5, Arundell, Butler, Saunders

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