Round 14 Match Preview: Hawks Host Port

Saturday shapes as a massive day of state league footy at Box Hill City Oval, as the Hawks and Borough lock horns in a high stakes double header.

The two clubs’ VFLW sides square off to keep their seasons alive, before the fifth placed VFL Hawks welcome Port Melbourne – and with the senior side across the Nullarbor for the weekend there’s no better place for the brown and gold faithful to spend their Saturday than City Oval.

Who: Port Melbourne
Where: Box Hill City Oval 
When: Saturday, 2:05pm
Radio: 3WBC, 94.1FM
TV/Streaming: VFL live stream available via the VFL Match Centre.


Our VFLW side opens the day’s action with a win-or-go-home Elimination Final against Port Melbourne from 11:30am.

The two sides played out a thrilling draw in the final home and away game of the season last weekend and will renew hostilities for the right to stay alive in season 2024 this.

Those planning on coming along are encouraged to get in early, while those watching from home can do so via the VFLW match centre.

Box Hill: played 11, won 8, lost 3 – 5th on the ladder
Port Melbourne: played 12 won 4, lost 8 – 15th on the ladder

A Little Bit of History

Played 44 (since 1996) – Box Hill 17, Port Melbourne 26, 1 draw

Ok, so that 17-26-1 raw number doesn’t make for great reading, but what if I told you the team in brown and gold is 5-1-1 since 2017? Well, the good news is that I can.

Ever since the two sides played out an exhilarating 108-apiece draw in round 7, 2017, the Hawks have lost to their great rival of the 2010s just once. 

Better again, Box Hill had never beaten the Borough in September prior to a stirring six-point win on semi-final day in 2010 – the first of four finals the teams would contest in the 2010s

The two sides had played four finals between 1951 and 2009, with the Hawks dropping the last of which – the 2009 semi final – but just four points to bow out of the premiership race in heartbreaking fashion. 

Four years later Box Hill ticked off a relatively routine 24-point qualifying final win as they sought to defend their 2013 flag, before the teams staged a pair of heart-stoppers in back-to-back seasons: the 2017 qualifying final, which Box Hill won by 13-points, and the 2018 elimination final, which the Hawks claimed by 11-points in extra time.

Brayden Kilpatrick and Olly Hanrahan were the heroes that day, writing themselves into folklore when they combined with just seconds left in the fourth quarter to goal, tie the scores and force extra time. Having been one second from elimination, three weeks later Box Hill would be premiers. 

Fergus Greene was Box Hill’s hero when Port visited City Oval in round 12 of 2022, kicking the winning goal after the full time siren – kind of, but thats another story altogether – to secure a come-from-behind six point victory, while the last time the teams butted heads it was four goals from Denver Grainger-Barras which ultimately won the points.

The WA born defender had his magnet swung from back to front and duly delivered with 4.1, while Cal Brown had 33 disposals in a superb individual display.

2023 So Far

The Hawks hit their second bye of the 2024 season on the back of three wins in succession, a run which had catapulted the Club to fifth on the ladder – just percentage out of the four and win behind top-of-the-table Werribee. 

Big wins over Essendon and GWS were consolidated by a wire-to-wire victory over Richmond at Punt road in which the Hawks overcame the loss of Ed Phillips and Max Ramsden to niggles mid-match and the managed Mitch Lewis, who got through the first half before being rested. 

New-boy Jasper Scaife booted three goals from 14 disposals and seven marks in an encouraging showing, while Daniel Wood kicked two vital goals in the third term to keep the hosts’ at arms reach.

Come the last term Cal Porter went forward and made a nuisance of himself to kick a pair of match sealing six-pointers of his own.

Harry Morrison, Seamus Mitchell, Josh Ward, Henry Hustwaite and Finn Maginnes didn’t bring their own footballs, but seemingly shared the one between them as they combined for 164 disposals and 41 marks – and all five were the only players on the ground to tally more than 22 touches. 

It was the perfect full stop to a four week spell either side of the round eight and round 13 byes, with the Hawks putting the disappointment of a heavy loss to Brisbane in round nine to one side to finish the month 3-1 with a pair of percentage boosting wins and lots of confidence.

Saturday’s match is the first in a stretch of season-shaping fixtures which will see the Club square off with fellow top four aspirants Geelong and Southport in the coming weeks. 

As for Port, the Borough have had a tricky campaign so far – but are clearly a better side than their  four-and-eight record and 15th placing on the ladder suggest.

Perennial contenders, the standalone powerhouse lost their first five hit-outs of the year, but as if to illustrate the evenness of the VFL competition their results include a five-point loss to reigning premiers Gold Coast, a 12-point defeat to competition pacesetters Footscray, while they are bottom-of-the-ladder Carlton’s only scalp of the season so far.

Meanwhile, they’ve notched wins agains Williamstown and Geelong – who both sit a game and percentage off top spot – by 10 goals and two-points respectively. Talk about Jekyll and Hyde. What is clear is their best is more than good enough to trouble the very best. 

Selection News

Zane Littlejohn and his match committee have made three changes to the side which defeated Richmond a fortnight ago.

Into the team come a trio of AFL-listed Hawks returning from injury, with each line represented.

Key back Ethan Phillips and midfielder Cooper Stephens will play their first matches since the round seven win over Sandringham, while small forward Jack O’Sullivan is back in the mix for the first time since the round six loss to Footscray.

Harry Morrison has been elevated to the AFL side’s squad for Sunday’s match with West Coast, while Ed Phillips suffered a slight hamstring strain at Punt Road and will not be risked.

One(s) to Watch

Jack O’Sullivan is set to make his first appearance since the round six loss to Footscray and, as always, shapes as one to keep an eye on. 

The creative, slippery small forward has nine goals from his six VFL appearances this year, highlighted by a standout display against the Cats in round two. 

‘Sul’ was injected into the game at GMHBA Stadium following half-time – having sat out the first half on a minutes restriction – and turned in a match-winning cameo. He booted three goals from his eight touches and played a key role in the Hawks’ come-from-behind victory. 

A high impact and dangerous player, O’Sullivan’s return is a welcome one. 

How To Follow

Match coverage will be provided via our social channels throughout the day, while a radio call will be available via our wonderful community partners 3WBC 94.1FM.

Where To Watch

You can catch the live stream via the VFL match centre!

VFL live stream available via the VFL Match Centre.


Membership, as always, is the best way to support the Box Hill Hawks in 2024!

You can purchase your 2024 Box Hill Hawks membership via this link.

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