R18 Match Report: Hawks heartbreak

The Box Hill Hawks failed to withstand the comeback Kangaroos, falling by two points in a heartbreaking loss at Arden Street Oval on Saturday.

The Hawks sat pretty at the final change, leading by 31 points courtesy of a four-goal blitz from young gun Mat Walker.

But riding the emotion of its 150-year anniversary, and a determined effort to send off club man Sam Wright in style, the Kangaroos stepped up the gears in the final term.

The home side proceeded to out hunt the Hawks by 18 in uncontested possessions, 12 in contested possessions and 11 in ground-ball gets – to slam home six goals to none and snatch a remarkable victory.

Box Hill welcomed back Jack Scrimshaw and Dylan Moore from injury, and from the first bounce had plans to spoil North Melbourne’s special day.

Hawk youngster Vincent Adduci opened the scoreboard for the afternoon, with a classy set-shot from a tight angle.

It took 10 minutes for the home side to strike back; a Curtis Taylor set-shot goal putting North into the lead.

But it was all one-way traffic for the reigning premiers. A David Mirra run-down tackle on the wing stopping a likely goal out the back, represented the Hawks desperation in the opening term.

Box Hill sported a new look line up, with former club captain Jarryd Roughead in defence, while defender Kaiden Brand took the mantle up forward. The move reaped instant rewards, as Brand gathered a loose ball and strode into an opening goal for Box Hill’s second of the day.

Sharp-shooter Jackson Ross followed, slotting a 45m set-shot goal tucked in on the boundary to reach goal number 29 for the season, in front of a deafening silence at Arden Street.

Livewire Mat Walker joined the party with the Hawk’s fourth goal. But two late goals to North Melbourne’s Murphy and Wilkinson sliced the margin to seven points and ensured the game sat evenly poised at quarter time.

Hawk Teia Miles opened the second term with a bang. The playmaker streamed through the corridor of Arden Street Oval, ran into 50 and roosted home the goal, before celebrating jubilantly with teammate Jackson Ross.

The next 20 minutes of play hosted transfixing, end-to-end football – although both teams struggled to capitalise on their chances.

A Damian Mascitti hook on goal brought Mat Walker back into the contest. The young gun reeled in a leaping pack mark, outreaching a swarm of opponents. He duly went back and snapped around his body for an impressive major.

Defender-turned-forward Kaiden Brand was embracing his new role, getting on the end of a handball out the back and dribbling through his second goal, moments before the half-time siren sounded.

It concluded a powerful opening half from Box Hill, led by 17 disposals and four marks from midfielder Lachie Walker. The visitors dominated North Melbourne by 40 in disposals, 23 in marks, eight inside 50s and ultimately held a 23-point lead at the main break.

North Melbourne secured the perfect start to the second half, with Wilkinson and Hosie pulling off running goals – clearly signifying North’s newfound intent.

It provided the perfect platform for Mat Walker to assert himself on the contest.

The youngster stepped up to kick his third goal, a vital steadier in the scheme of the match. It then took him only three minutes to repeat the feat, peeling off a long-range set-shot for back-to-back majors, and in the process stealing back the momentum.

Speedster Teia Miles put on the afterburners, leaving his scrambling opponent in his wake, and burst into 50 to slot his second running goal for the day.

After two consecutive goals from North Melbourne to open the term, the visitors were well and truly back on top – boasting a comfortable 31-point lead at the final change.

Most other clubs could be forgiven for holding up the white flag with six goals needed for victory.

But not the Shinboners. And certainly not on this special day for the club.

Roo Nash Holmes secured the all-important first major within the opening two minutes.

North’s Robinson soon followed and when they added another two goals within a minute to bring the margin down to nine-points – it was clear everything North Melbourne touched was turning to gold.

With every corresponding goal, the pressure and stakes of the match rose higher and higher.

More significantly, the healthy crowd at Arden Street Oval sparked to life.

When North Melbourne’s Nash Holmes slotted his second major for the term, to take the lead for the first time since the 13thminute mark of the match, the home side had slammed home six goals to none – completely overrunning the Hawks.

The visitors were left stunned and had no answers to stem the barrage of goals going against them.

But with 28 minutes on the clock, Box Hill had one final chance of victory.

In a scrambled attempt to win the match, the ball, and fate of the match, fell into the hands of Kaiden Brand 25 metres from goal.

Brands shot on goal skewed wide, slamming into the post.

Seconds later, the siren sounded as the sea of blue and white at Arden Street Oval let out a full-throated roar.

In-form powerhouse ruckman Tom Campbell (24 disposals, eight marks, 32 hitouts) and Marc Pittonet (18 disposals, seven marks, 29 hitouts) played out an entertaining battle in the ruck.

Midfielder James Cousins toiled hard all afternoon to accumulate 24 disposals and lay five tackles.

Stalwart David Mirra was a general in defence for Box Hill yet again, finishing with 22 disposals, 11 marks and an array of contest-saving spoils to be the Silvertop Taxi’s Player of the Match.

Box Hill Assistant Coach Marco Bello believed the match was one that slipped away.

“We got out hunted; plain and simple,” Bello said post-game.

“They brought energy, a real vigour to want to win the football.”

“They got their energy up once they kicked two or three goals and got a sniff of winning the game.

“They outworked us, and that was it in the end.

“We’ve got a lot to play for too, our finals is on the line now.

“The first three quarters we brought our energy, our want and our will. We competed really strong, but it takes four quarters.

“We found that out the hard way today.”

Box Hill currently sits in eighth position on the VFL ladder with seven wins, seven losses and a draw.

The Hawks will travel to Avalon Airport Oval to take on the fifth-placed Werribee next Saturday.


BOX HILL HAWKS       4.3  7.5 10.8  10.13  (73)

NORTH MELBOURNE VFL  3.2  3.6 5.7  11.9  (75)


Box Hill Hawks: Walker 4, Brand 2, Miles 2, Ross 1, Adduci

North Melbourne: Wilkinson 2, Holmes 2, Hosie 1, Murphy, Taylor, Verbi


Box Hill Hawks: Cousins 24, Mirra 22, Walker 22, Glass 19, Mascitti 19, Meadows 19, Morrison 19

North Melbourne: Hrovat 33, Anderson 24, Campbell 24, Holmes 21, Crocker 20


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