R19 Match Report: Hawks suffer third-consecutive defeat

At the final break, the equation seemed simple for Box Hill.

Twenty-one points needed with the stiff breeze for victory – and to fight off all competition for its finals spot from chasing teams below.

Coach Max Bailey gathered his troops and delivered a rousing three-quarter-time speech. The message was clear; everything was to be put on the line.

All eyes were cast on Jarryd Roughead. After enduring a dogged day in defence, the veteran strolled over to his natural habitat – the forward 50.

You got the sense that Box Hill’s season was on the line, with one last-ditch effort.

Through weight of entries and pressure, the visitors secured the all-important first major within the opening five minutes – Jackson Ross snapping his second goal for the afternoon.

The deficit had been reduced to just two straight kicks, with ample time remaining.

Young gun Mat Walker joined the party. He used teammate Kaiden Brand as a step ladder to launch himself over a pack and into the stars, reeling in one of the marks of the season.  Dare we say, the leap brought a striking resemblance to a fan-favourite former no. 33.

A bevy of Box Hill attacking forays continued. But it was Werribee who stood tall.

The home side weathered frantic-attack after frantic-attack from the Hawks.

While limiting Box Hill to a single goal, Werribee took advantage of the Hawks high press and rebounded from defence into forward 50 with ease. Tigers Nick Coughlan and Matt Munro slammed home late goals to finish the affair.

It reflected the story of Box Hill’s season.

The effort and intensity was evident – but the conversion in front of goals, the ability to win crunch moments, and a match-winning spark was not.

In the end, Werribee prevailed comfortably to victory by 25 points.

The day began with a sense of optimism for Box Hill.

In an effort to put last week’s heartbreaking loss to North Melbourne behind them, the Hawks had put in extra hours during the week.

Vice-Captain Damian Mascitti laced up his boots for the 100th time in his VFL career, a true testament to his perseverance and love for the game, amidst a VFL landscape becoming increasingly harder to reach significant milestones.

Youngster Matt Shannon received his debut brown and gold guernsey from house-mate Luke Meadows, in front a rapturous applause. It was a just reward for effort, for a young player knocking on the door all season.

Jarryd Roughead followed the team out onto the ground sporting the canary yellow long-sleeves. In frosty Werribee, it was a case of no Clarko, no worries for the Hawks champion.

Within 90 seconds, it seemed all the work the reigning-premiers had done mid-week was paying dividends.

Quick hands released a streaming Teia Miles to run into an open goal, giving Box Hill its first major in a lightening start to the game.

But Mark Williams’ men got to work and began to demonstrate their fifth-placed standing.

The Tigers proceeded to slam on the next four goals in blistering succession.

Werribee’s method of attack was clear; capitalise on Hawk turnovers and burst straight through the centre corridor with the wind – serving up its forwards one-on-one opportunities.

It was a tactic the Hawks could not repeat in the second term.

Sharpshooter Jackson Ross executed a brilliant 40-metre set-shot tucked in on the boundary. His 31st goal of the season narrowed the margin to just nine points.

But for all of Box Hill’s good work, Werribee’s Angus Clarke clunked a mammoth grab over two swarming opponents in front of goal and slotted the set-shot after the siren.

Failure to convert proved costly, as Werribee’s 3.0 against the breeze to Box Hill’s 1.5 took the home side 14-points clear at the main break.

But just as the heavens opened up for the day, so too did a Box Hill respite.

It was led by Hawthorn’s future.

Mat Walker snapped truly, while dynamic forward Dylan Moore slotted his second goal on the run to bring the margin down to 13 points.

But again, the Hawks gave up vital goals in over-time.

Werribee’s Michael Barlow was everywhere. On his way to amassing 42 disposals (23 clearances), 14 clearances and seven tackles – he set up teammate Jordan Henderson for goal at the 30th minute.

It extended Werribee’s lead to 20 points, and a lead they never surrendered.

Former Prime Minister and Beyond Blue Chair Julia Gillard concluded the day by presenting the 10th annual Beyond Blue Cup to victorious Werribee Skipper, Michael Sodomaco in front a boisterous crowd at Avalon Airport Oval.

The classy Harry Morrison produced an all-round performance as the Silvertop Taxi’s Player of the Match for the Hawks, finishing with 23 disposals, four marks, three tackles and six inside 50s to press his case for a senior recall.

Ruckman Marc Pittonet continued his commanding season form, giving great service to his midfield with 17 disposals, four marks and 63 hitouts.

Playmaker Teia Miles gathered 19 disposals (18 kicks), while Skipper Andrew Moore fought hard until the final siren with 20 disposals and six tackles.

Box Hill Assistant Coach Torin Baker believed Werribee’s in-roads against the wind proved key in the victory.

“We’ve invested a fair bit in this week – with doing an extra session,” Baker said.

“We were asking a fair bit from our boys after the loss last week.

“There was execution stuff that didn’t go right, they were more efficient inside 50 than what we were.

“We didn’t seem to retain the ball inside 50 for long enough to be able to score today.

“We matched them around the ball – we were plus eight in clearances.

“At either end, they were just a little bit more efficient than us.

“That was the difference in the game.”

After three consecutive losses, Box Hill falls to ninth position on the VFL ladder with a 7-8-1 record.

Box Hill now turns its attention to aspiring finals rivals the Northern Blues, in a return home to Box Hill City Oval next Saturday – a venue where the Hawks have triumphed in five out of six occasions this season.


BOX HILL HAWKS      3.1 4.6  6.7  7.9 (51)

WERRIBEE TIGERS    4.2 7.2  9.9  11.10 (76)


Box Hill Hawks: D Moore 2, Ross 2, Miles 1, Walker, Mullenger-McHugh

Werribee: Declase 2, Munro 2, Henderson 2, Riccardi 1, Clarke, Coughlan, Garoni, Kemp


Box Hill Hawks: Morrison 23, Miles 19, A Moore 19, Meadows 17, Pittonet 17, Scrimshaw 17

Werribee: Barlow 42, Gribble 32, Clayton 22, Bennett 21, Coughlan 21

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