Qualifying Final Match Preview

WHERE: Box Hill City Oval, Box Hill
WHEN: Sunday, 2:00pm
HOW TO FOLLOW: We’ll be live tweeting the match via @boxhillhawks and posting quarterly updates on Facebook and Instagram.

Additionally, 3WBC 94.1FM will be providing radio commentary.


Round 18, 2017: Box Hill Hawks 8.10 (58) defeated by Port Melbourne 13.8 (86)

Round 7, 2017: Port Melbourne 15.18 (108) drew with Box Hill Hawks 16.12 (108)

Round 12, 2016: Port Melbourne 10.11 (71) defeated Box Hill 7.13 (55) at North Port Melbourne

Round 8, 2015: Box Hill 17.13 (115) defeated Port Melbourne 8.12 (60) at Box Hill City Oval

Qualifying Final, 2014: Port Melbourne 12.6 (78) defeated by Box Hill 16.6 (102) at North Port Oval


Round 15:
Box Hill defeated Sandringham (A) by 47
Port Melbourne lost to Werribee (A) by 4

Round 16:
Box Hill defeated Geelong (H) by 52
Port Melbourne defeated North Ballarat (A) by 43

Round 17:
Box Hill lost to Essendon (A) by 6
Port Melbourne defeated Coburg (H) by 160

Round 18:
Box Hill lost to Port Melbourne (H) by 28
Port Melbourne defeated Box Hill (A) by 28

Round 19
Box Hill defeated Northern Blues (H) by 77
Port Melbourne defeated Collingwood (A) by 6


And so it begins. Footy’s annual month-long game of high stakes capture the flag.

We wait all season, we scrap and fight for the right to play in September and now it’s here. Eight will become six; six will be come four; four will become two and, finally, one is left standing.

We’ve no time to settle and take in the scenery, however, because we face one of the sternest tests in VFL footy first up: Port Melbourne.

For the third time in 2017 and the second time in just three weeks it’ll be Brown and Gold vs Blue and Red, though this time its for a little more than four points. How does the right to the week off and a crack at a preliminary final opponent rested and rejuvenated sound?

Just rewards, sure, but nothing comes easy this time of year and any inch and every advantage has to be earned. As the great Ric Flair would say, “to be the man, you’ve gotta beat the man.” He’d probably chuck in a “woooo,” also.

The two sides were right amongst the very best during the home and away season, playing some truly scintillating football to claim second and third places, respectively, on the VFL ladder.

Box Hill finished with a record of 13 wins, 4 losses and 1 draw from our eighteen matches. The Borough were just four points back, having recorded 12 wins, 5 losses and 1 draw.

The Hawks tuned up for finals with a comprehensive 77-point win against the Northern Blues last weekend, with the boys from Preston City Oval still in the finals hunt, needing a positive result to secure a finals berth.

Port finished their home and away campaign on the winners’ list also, seeing off a spirited Collingwood to record a hard-fought six point win.

Borough spearhead Jordan Lisle is undoubtably a danger man for Chris Newman’s men, having claimed his second ‘Frosty’ Miller Medal as the competition’s leading goal kicker.

Lisle’s tally of 46 was enough to take the honour – four of those came when the side’s last met – whilst teammate Dylan Conway finished eight goals back on 38. The pair form a likely and lively combination that’ll challenge the Box Hill defence.


1. Discipline

When the side’s last met nine of the Borough’s thirteen goals came after the umpire’s whistle, some via fifty metre penalties. I’m not saying none of them were there; but I’m not saying they all were.

It was an element of the Hawks’ game that needed attention following that disappointing defeat, with no side, never mind the level of football, likely to survive giving their opponent 54-points in that manner.

It’s likely to be a hot footy from the get-go and goals could well be hard to come by, so the penalty for similar indiscretions this time out is too much to bear.

Play hard, but stay within the lines.

2. The Moment

Finals are about moments. Being alive to them, taking them or being at the mercy of them.

The prospect of that moment – who it falls to and when it comes – is as exciting as it is terrifying.

Is it a mark? A bump? A goal? A smother? It could be simply an effort: an extra burst to pressure the ball carrier, to provide a shepherd, or make sure the spoil clears the goal line. The scenarios are endless.

Simply, thousands of moments make up every match, with each informed by a decision. Which player(s) are charged with making those decisions and claiming those moments as there own are yet to be determined.

One of the NFL’s greatest and most celebrated figures, Vince Lombardi, was famed for his ability to spin a quote, many of which have been trotted out so often they’re a little tired nowadays. Still, they ring true. One of his best was, “winners want the ball when the game is on the line.”

In finals football thats every moment.

3. What Wins It?

Will it be a game won by attack or defence? How many goals will win the day? When the side’s met in Round 7 Box Hill’s sixteen majors was good enough for only a draw. Two weeks ago Port’s thirteen six-pointers was more than enough.

By their very nature finals are often cagey and tense affairs with scoring at a premium. Coaches are therefore keen to keep their opponent to as low a score as possible, acknowledging that 1: that gives you a better chance of victory and 2: as said above, goals can be hard to come by.

So, what wins it? Its easy to hope that we’ll have a high-scoring, free-wheeling, end-to-end shootout… but that isn’t September footy.

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