R9 Match Report: Box Hill back on track

The Box Hill Hawks have put their season back on track with a convincing 20-point victory over Williamstown on Saturday, in another entertaining battle between the two rivals.

The Hawks came out of the blocks firing booting 3.5 and taking a 16-point lead into the first break, in a strong response to a lean three weeks.

However, Williamstown hit back hard with ferocious tackling and pressure around the contest, clawing its way back in front to hold a slender three-point lead at half-time.

But from there it was all Box Hill, as the reigning Premiers booted six second-half goals to Williamstown’s three, on their way to recording their first victory since Round 4.

The Round 9 clash was the first time the two rivals had met since Box Hill’s stunning one-point triumph in last season’s heart-stopping preliminary final, and the Hawks were bolstered by the inclusions of the AFL-listed Harry Morrison, Dylan Moore, David Mirra and again Jarryd Roughead.

But the opening passage of play did not go to plan for the home side.

An errant kick out of bounds from Nathan Mullenger-McHugh gifted Williamstown its first opportunity for the day deep in attack. Playmaker Mitch Hibberd made the Hawks pay with a suburb snap from the boundary, and roared in jubilation as every one of his Seagull teammates flocked to him in celebration.

But the Seagulls did not have a lot more to squawk about in the opening term, as Box Hill’s crafty forward line machine started to hum with Hanrahan, Moore and Miles slotting impressive majors in helping the Hawks cruise to a 16-point buffer at the first break.

Williamstown, however, had won three out of its previous four games and the Andy Collins coached side began to display why it is a feared outfit around the competition.

And Seagull Jaylon Thorpe started to get dangerous.

The key forward slotted an impressive long-range shot from a tight angle to open the term.

He then nailed his second goal, slicing the deficit down to a mere five-points.

The Seagulls imposed themselves on the contest, hitting back hard at the Hawks to lay 13 more tackles for the quarter despite still winning the disposal count.

Jackson Ross added to the plethora of remarkable goals for the day, producing his first major with a special snap over his body in heavy traffic.

But Williamstown was proving to be a tough challenger, and when Jack Charleston peeled of an uplifting, long bomb from the centre square, the Seagulls had clawed back to hold a three-point lead at the main break.

Goal machine Jackson Ross gave Box Hill the perfect start to open the third term, executing a set shot for his second goal for the day.

Jaylon Thorpe then had his say once again in the tense see-sawing affair, making the most of a free kick at the top of the square for his third major.

Marc Pittonet’s promotion to Hawthorn’s AFL side was balanced out by the significant absence of bullocking Williamstown ruckman Nick Meese. Third game Hawk Ned Reeves was convincingly winning the hitouts (37-28), complemented with support from Jarryd Roughead (22 hitouts).

The Hawks made their move, courtesy of goals to Adduci and Maloney, and broke away to a 14-point lead at the final break.

Coach Max Bailey’s message to his troops in the last huddle was clear – keep taking the game on.

And the reigning Premiers did just that, as Teia Miles made the most of a 50m penalty for his second goal.

Then entered one of the highlights of the day.

Lachie Walker poked his boot out at a tumbling ball on the goal line, securing the goal to a rapturous applause from the Box Hill City Oval crowd – stretching the lead to a game-high 25 points.

Williamstown produced a late respite, with Josh Greiser kicking the Seagull’s eighth goal, cutting the margin down to 13-points.

But it proved too little, too late.

Daniel Howe stepped up in the dying minutes to seal the victory with a classy set shot, much to the satisfaction of his teammates who gathered around him to celebrate.

Luke Meadows was outstanding in producing his best performance for the year with 28 disposals, six marks and five tackles.

Daniel Howe proved a prominent force in the midfield battle collecting 21 disposals, six marks and five tackles, while Harry Morrison was lively to record 20 disposals.

Teia Miles was electric in defence and attack with two goals, nine marks and five rebound 50s, while Jackson Ross continued his dominant season as the VFL’s leading goal-kicker with another classy two goals.

Box Hill Coach Max Bailey spoke about the side’s much needed victory post-match.

“It’d been three weeks coming losing some close games. We are just excited to have a win and fight out a really hard game,” Bailey said.

“’Willy’ pulled us right back in that second quarter and gave us that reality check, as we probably expected would happen.”

“It was pleasing for the third and fourth quarters to go our way.”

According to Bailey, a clear focus for the club this week was an increased intensity in the midfield battle and more composed forward entries inside 50.

“The danger is trying to change things every week,” Bailey said.

“We were really beaten up around the ball against Collingwood and didn’t put the ball inside 50 all that well.”

“We’ve focused on that the week just gone, and we had a reasonable result with that today.”

“We’ve got to go back to school on that again and keep doing that well.”

“I’m a young coach, and we have a young group, and we are all learning together, and that takes time.”

The win topped off an emphatic day for the club after Hawthorn’s VFLW side recorded back-to-back wins with a nine-point victory over Williamstown in front of a large brown and gold army at Box Hill City Oval.

Box Hill now return to the top eight of the VFL ladder, heading into the bye with four wins and a draw from its eight matches.



BOX HILL HAWKS   3.5  4.6 7.11  10.14  (74)

WILLIAMSTOWN     1.1  5.3 6.3  8.6  (54)


Box Hill Hawks: Ross 2, Miles 2, Hanrahan 1, Moore, Adduci, Howe, Maloney, Walker.

Williamstown: Thorpe 3, Hunt 1, Charleston, Greiser, Hibberd, Ottavi


Box Hill Hawks: Meadows 27, Howe 21, Morrison 20, Miles 19, Hanrahan 17

Williamstown: Greiser 23, Hunt 21, Masters 16, Mellington 16, Wheeler 16.

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