R18 Preview: North Melbourne


Round 8, 2018: Box Hill 14. 12. (73) defeated by North Melbourne 16. 13 (109) at Chirnside Park, Werribee.

Box Hill will commence its critical final four rounds of the season, when it takes on North Melbourne at Arden Street on Saturday.

Box Hill will be determined to re-join the winners’ list after falling 14-points short of Richmond in Round 16. Despite trailing by 37-points at three-quarter time, Coach Max Bailey urged his side to put everything on the line, in a determined effort to celebrate favourite son David Mirra’s 150th game in style. The Reigning Premiers responded to pile on six goals to two, along with a five-goal haul from Mat Walker, sparking a full house at Box Hill City Oval to life.  But a Coleman-Jones major at the 28thmin ensured the second-placed Richmond held on to victory in a frenetic conclusion.

North Melbourne fell to the Northern Blues by 75 points last Saturday. The Blues were dominant from the get-go, kicking 13 of the game’s first 18 goals, as well as kicking eight second-half goals to three. Nash Holmes (22 disposals and nine marks), Ryan Morrison (19 disposals and 12 marks) and Daniel Robinson (24 disposals, seven marks and one goal) were North Melbourne’s best players in what was a disappointing outing.

The Box Hill Hawks didn’t earn the result they would have wanted in club stalwart David Mirra’s 150th VFL match against Richmond, but the first Box Hill player to reach that milestone in 36 years still produced a vintage performance in a 14-point loss to Richmond. The 28-year-old did what he’s consistently done in defence for a long time, recording 22 disposals, a round-high 13 marks and five rebound-50s.

North Melbourne ruckman Tom Campbell has been arguably the form player of the VFL this season, averaging 22 disposals, five marks, four tackles and 35 hitouts per game. Campbell will come up against in-form Hawk big man Marc Pittonet (averaging 16 disposals, three marks, three tackles and 37 hitouts per game) in a battle of the giants that looms critical in supplying either midfields first use to the football.

Box Hill Skipper Andrew Moore has been leading from the front in the club’s charge to finals, averaging 32 disposals, five marks and seven tackles the past two matches. Expect Moore to continue to drive Box Hill’s engine room against North Melbourne this Saturday.

With the race for finals heating up, Box Hill sit in eighth position with seven wins and six losses – with a win potentially leaping it up to as high as fifth position.

The Kangaroos, who have lost six of their last seven games, sit in 13th position on the ladder.

Following his 150thsenior match for Box Hill, David Mirra addressed Box Hill’s aspirations for season 2019.

“The first thing for this year is to make finals,” Mirra said.

“We play teams over the next four rounds that we should be competitive in.”

“If we win those games, it will give us the best opportunity to qualify for finals – and it’s a different ball game from there.”

“Anything can happen.”

“We need to make sure we stick to our processes and our system, like we know we can.”

“That should hold us in good stead.”

Box Hill will resume its season when it takes on North Melbourne at Arden Street at 2pm.



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