The Box Hill Hawks downed North Melbourne on Sunday afternoon, securing a sixth win in seven outings and with it the four points required to move back inside the top eight.
Played at Arden Street under ominously grey skies and with a tricky breeze wreaking havoc throughout, the brown and gold started well into the wind, consolidated with it at their backs and put the game to bed by the time the rain arrived just before three quarter time.
In a thoroughly professional display, Clint Proctor’s men won all four quarters on their way to a 71-point win – the Hawks’ second biggest victory of the 2022 season – and finished the match-up +29 in total disposals, +20 in inside 50s, +9 in clearances and having never trailed.
As if to illustrate the breadth of contributors, 11 Hawks hit the scoreboard and all but three in brown and gold tallied double figure disposals.
James Worpel and Finn Maginness were two of the standout performers on the day, racking up 30 and 35 disposals, respectively. More, Worpel’s 12 clearances were five clear of any other player on the ground and his five tackles evidence of an impressive work rate.
Forward of centre it was the tandem of Ben Cavarra and Fergus Greene who did the damage, with the pair a threat on the deck and in the air on their way to three apiece – they could’ve each finished with more if not for either unselfishness or the breeze.
Having touched on a pair of former Dogs, it’s time to give some one-time Cats some kudos. James Parsons and Jordan Cunico combined for 51 disposals, 10 clearances and a goal, patrolling the stoppages and driving the Hawks forward time and again.
In news that will shock no one, the class of Damian Mascitti was on full display throughout. The reigning best and fairest and former skipper was stationed behind the ball and was integral in both setting up his side and distributing the ball out of defence.
Again, in news that will shock no one, he handled the breeze better than most, hitting targets at will by hand and foot.
As pleasing as the efforts of the Hawks’ senior players was throughout, it was supported by a number of developing players across the ground.
Box Hill’s generation next proved up to the task, with the likes of Charlie Beasley, Max Hall, Max Walton, Jake Arundell and David Brinker-Ritchie belying their inexperience at the level to do their part; on Brinker-Ritchie, the former Gippsland Power product proved the dominant ruck on the ground and produced arguably the best game of his young VFL career.
The Hawks started the game kicking into the breeze and were on the board inside three minutes. Cavarra’s first from the goal line was as regulation as they come, but preceded a five-minute spell in which North controlled territory but couldn’t convert.
Having survived this period of defence-first football, Parsons steered through a wonderful long range set shot to take the wind out of the hosts’ sails, before Porter and Greene capped a great start for the visiting Hawks with six-pointers of their own.
Mat Walker’s second quarter opener drew the Kangaroos to within three goals, but Saunders and Phillips replied in quick order to keep North at arms reach.
Box Hill dominated what remained of the second quarter, before five consecutive behinds kept the door ajar.
Walker and Cavarra traded goals late on to send the sides to the long break 33-points apart.
North had managed the only score – a behind – through 11 minutes of play in the third quarter, before Greene, Callow, Grey and Serong found their mark and handed the Hawks a 56-point lead. Following a tight opening to the second half the Hawks had produced a match-winning seven-and-a-half minutes to blow the game open.
The rain rolled in just as the teams shared four goals in the shadows of three-quarter-time, notable for the first senior six-pointer of Jake Arundell’s VFL career.
As the heavens opened, the deck softened and the ball became hard to handle, scoring dried up in the fourth term.
Maginness put the icing on his fine individual display with a well-deserved goal, before Cavarra kicked arguably goal of the afternoon to wrap up the day, snapping a beauty on his right from 35 meters on a tight angle.
The Hawks sit fifth on the VFL ladder with a six-and-three record and host the three-and-six Port Melbourne next Saturday afternoon.
|Box Hill||4.3||7.10||13.10||15.17 (107)|
|North Melbourne||0.4||2.7||4.10||4.12 (36)|
Best: Worpel, Maginness, Cavarra, Parsons, Blanck, Greene
Goals: Cavarra, Greene 3, Arundell, Callow, Grey, Maginness, Parsons, Phillips, Porter, Saunders, Serong
Disposals: Maginness 35, Worpel 30, Mascitti 30, Cunico 26, Parsons 25, Phillips 21