Round 12 Preview: Hawks Host Lions

The Box Hill Hawks host the Brisbane Lions tomorrow afternoon in a history-making and season-shaping showdown.

Keep reading for a full preview of how we got here and what to expect!

Who: Brisbane Lions
Where: Box Hill City Oval
When: Saturday 10 June
First bounce: 12:05pm

A Little Bit of History (Being Made)

There is none. This is the first time the Box Hill Hawks and Brisbane Lions have met.

So, that’s a little bit exciting, isn’t it.

2023 So Far

The Hawks remained in the VFL’s top four at the conclusion of round 11 despite defeat, with a healthy percentage placing them at the front of a queue of four teams on seven wins.

The loss was Box Hill’s second from nine outings, but when the side last tasted defeat they bounced back to win three on the spin against the Bullants, Southport and Essendon. 

With only the top six guaranteed finals action in 2023, it’s important to keep banking the wins which will serve to gap the chasing pack. 

Fresh off the bye, Brisbane are gunning for a perfect 10 out of 10 start to 2023.

Despite close calls against Werribee in round one (one point), Footscray in round two (eight points) and Carlton in round seven (four points), the Lions have been otherwise fairly comfortable in accounting for Collingwood (67-points), Southport (19-points), GWS (83-points), Essendon (68-points), Coburg (117-points) and, most recently, Frankston (35-points. 

Tom Fullarton, Kai Lohmann and Wylie Buzza have been excellent avenues to goal thus far, booting 56-goals between them to each rank inside the VFL’s top 10 marksmen, while Rhys Mathieson and Jarryd Lyons have been prolific ball hunters and ball winners.

All told, when you’re sitting atop the competition ladder with a perfect record at the half-way point of a season, you’ve got a lot of players in form and are doing a lot right.

Selection News

In our selection news piece I’d said we’d made three changes to the side which fell to Williamstown last week. Obviously I cannot count, because it’s actually four.

Out of the squad go ruckman Clay Tucker and defender Stu Horner, who have both been managed, while Mitch Sruk and Max Hall are unlucky to miss out on balance.

Into the 23 comes the experienced and classy Chad Wingard, the versatile Emerson Jeka, the raw and exciting Jed Rule and, last but not least, the big-bodied bull Ned Long.

Long is a welcome addition to a midfield mix which missed his size and power late in the loss to the Seagulls, especially in light of his superb showing the previous week away to Essendon. 

Front-Half Firepower

Box Hill’s balance between attack and defence has been largely excellent in 2023. For reference, the brown and gold boasts the league’s best defence and fourth best attack.

But this 23-man squad is comprised of as much attacking potential as any Zane Littlejohn has named this season.

I don’t want to pre-empt how the side will play – because it would be irresponsible of me to pretend I know – but the composition of each line will make for fascinating and, hopefully, entertaining viewing throughout Saturday’s contest. Why? because, simply, we can’t play 10 forwards without being short elsewhere.

When you’ve got the likes of Chad Wingard, Fergus Greene, Ned Long, Jai Serong, Max Ramsden, Emerson Jeka, Josh Bennetts, Jack O’Sullivan, Jed Rule and Lachie Wynd at your disposal, surely that means goals, no?

While players with attacking flair will no doubt be given the opportunity and platform to influence the contest, versatile types like Damian Mascitti, Ed Phillips, Josh Morris, Cal Brown, Cal Porter, Emerson Jeka and Jai Serong, who have each had stints in the back six this year, are excellent options to deploy ahead of or behind the ball as needed. 

One to Watch

Following a standout four-goal showing in the Hawks’ round one win over Sydney, developing tall Jed Rule has been asked to be patient for a second opportunity.

The former Oakleigh Charger has likely been one of the principle casualties of a relatively healthy AFL program stocking it’s VFL team with similar types, if not by size then by position, resulting in a near three month wait between appearance one and two of 2023.

An athletic, smooth mover, Rule possesses excellent hands and a classical kicking technique – something which was a highlight of the aforementioned performance in Sydney. 

How To Follow

Hawks fans can keep up-to-date with all the action via our official social media channels.

Curated match commentary will be provided on Twitter, while further coverage will be available across Instagram and Facebook.  

Where To Watch

All VFL matches can be streamed via the AFL app. Coverage of Sunday’s game starts at 12:00pm and can be found in the match hub or via this link.

Further, radio commentary can be found via our community radio partner, 3WBC 94.1FM.

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