R6 Preview: VFL Returns to the MCG

Box Hill will resume its campaign in a Mothers’ Day MCG curtain-raiser when it takes on Footscray this Sunday.

VFL football returns to the main stage, as the Box Hill Hawks battle it out for the first time at the MCG, before Hawthorn’s AFL side takes on GWS.

Box Hill heads into the round with a 3-1 record and sits in the Top 4 of the VFL ladder. A combination of impressive form from Hawthorn listed players, leadership from experienced recruits and consistency from a brigade of youngsters has driven Box Hill to commanding victories over Casey, Sandringham and Coburg.

Box Hill will welcome decorated former Hawthorn Captain Jarryd Roughead into the side this week. Roughy will be sure to drag people through the turnstiles as he pulls on the Box Hill jumper after being omitted from the senior side.

However, Box Hill face Footscray, Richmond, Collingwood and Williamstown in a critical month for the club. With only one match separating the entire Top 8, it is needless to say that the Hawks can only afford to focus on the week ahead to the Bulldogs this Sunday.

Footscray is one of the form sides of the competition, having won three of their first four games for the season. Last week the Bulldogs kicked four unanswered third term goals on their way to a 17-point victory over Casey.

Promising youngster Lewis Young was among the best afield for Footscray, recording 21 disposals, ten marks, a tackle and 31 hitouts.  A fascinating battle looms between the athletic Young and the stoic Marc Pittonet. The in-form Hawk amassed 30 possessions, 42 hitouts and round high 12 clearances in his last outing to win the ANZAC medal against Coburg.

Fellow AFL-listed young gun Patrick Lipinski continued his excellent form last week, recording 24 possessions, five marks, eight tackles and a goal. Lipinski possesses an elite kick and covers the ground strongly, and has improved his defensive pressure around the ball. Averaging 22 disposals and five tackles for the season, the young Bulldog will require close attention this week.

Tom Boyd enjoyed his return to form with three majors in the Bulldog’s victory. If named, Boyd can expect a fierce battle with either Kaiden Brand or stalwart David Mirra.

The Hawks will be boosted by the return of Jackson Ross and Jacob Koschitzke, after the pair has overcome hamstring and concussion concerns respectively.

Changkuoth Jiath is a Hawk who started the year in excellent fashion, drawing considerable praise for his defensive impact on contests.  However Jiath hasn’t quite hit those marks recently, recording just 10 and 12 disposals in his last two matches. Expect ‘CJ’ to make amends and come out firing on the big stage this week.

Irishman Conor Glass is another player who is showing increased confidence in his new role in the midfield this season. Glass stamped his authority against Coburg with 26 possessions, and his contested work played a crucial role in turning the tide for the Hawks in the third term turn around.

If any player is suited to the wide-open expanses of the MCG – it is Will Golds. The young-gun Hawk has impressed in his debut season in the brown and gold with his gut running and creativity by foot. Expect Gold’s to keep setting up Box Hill’s attacking thrusts this week, by continuing to back his leg and taking those critical inside 45m kicks through the corridor.

Ultimately this Sunday will provide another invaluable opportunity for Box Hill’s brigade of young stars to experience the big stage, running out alongside the experienced heads of Skipper Andrew Moore, Jarryd Roughead, Luke Meadows and Damian Mascitti.

Box Hill will take on Footscray at 11:50am this Sunday at the MCG.


More than 8000 Victorian footballers will shine a light on mental health when they play in AFL Victoria’s beyondblue round this weekend.

Male and female players from all levels of football across the state – from junior leagues to the Peter Jackson VFL, Swisse Wellness VFL Women’s and NAB league– will wear blue tape around their wrists to get people talking about mental health.

In partnership with Beyond Blue, AFL Victoria is working towards educating the football community on mental health and wellbeing and the support available.

For more information, visit beyondblue.org.au/AFLVicbeyondblueRound

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