Round 15 Match Preview: Hawks and Borough Renew Rivalry

Port Melbourne roll into Box Hill City Oval on Saturday afternoon hoping for the win which will ignite their season. The Hawks welcome their old foe seeking the points which will keep us in the race for the top four. 

Who: Port Melbourne
Where: Box Hill City Oval
When: Saturday 1 July
First bounce: 2:05pm

A Little Bit of History

The Hawks and Borough have shared many memorable duels in recent times, headlined by a last-gasp, come-from-behind Box Hill victory in their most recent encounter. And, of course, an all-time great Elimination Final back in 2018.

Needing to find three goals well into time on in round 12 of 2022, Box Hill rallied to level the score via six-pointers to Connor Macdonald and Ben Cavarra, before Damian Mascitti’s perfectly weighted ball to the heart of the Hawks’ attacking 50 landed in the lap of a leading Fergus Greene.

Knowing any score would do, Ferg wasn’t to know that time had elapsed shortly after his mark. A fault with the siren would keep the players and crowd in suspense even after he dispatched his set shot, but when it finally sounded just seconds after play resumed City Oval erupted.

James Parsons was superb in winning 23 touches and kicking 4.3 on the day, while James Worpel kicked two of his own to go with 12 clearances. 

Back on Elimination Final day in 2018 Olly Hanrahan was the hero, running onto Brayden Kilpatrick’s toe poke to boot a goal which tied the scores with just one second left on the clock.

In extra time Chris Newman’s Hawks kicked the only two goals to survive and advance, ultimately sweeping all before them to capture the flag.

Box Hill got the better of Gary Ayres’ Borough in the 2017 Qualifying Final, too, winning a tight, tense arm wrestle by 13-points. But Port would have the last laugh, winning through to the Grand Final and beating a Richmond side which had eliminated Box Hill a week prior. 

And who could forget the draw at North Port Oval in round 7 of 2017. Level at half-time and again at full-time, the game was highlighted by a superb five-goal haul by soon-to-be-Fremantle forward Sam Switkowski, who lit the game up after the long break.

If you haven’t noticed, Box Hill and Port Melbourne have a knack of playing out classic matches and this portion of the match preview could be 3,000 words long because of it.  

2023 So Far

Box Hill’s campaign hit a banana peel of sorts last weekend. Excellent at times throughout the season, and very good in patches last Sunday afternoon away to The Suns, the Hawks were better than competitive through two quarters.

Unfortunately, the competition’s pace-setters put the pedal to the metal after half-time, turning a one-point lead into a match-winning 54-point advantage in just over half-an-hour.

If it wasn’t against us it would’ve made for great viewing. 

The loss saw the Hawks drop a place to fourth on the ladder with an eight-and-three record, so a win against the visiting Port Melbourne will be vital in consolidating a place in the top four. 

The Borough have had an up-and-down kind of year through 12 matches. They sit five-and-seven, in 15th place and a game-and-a-half outside the VFL’s wildcard places. 

Just last weekend they accounted for Essendon by 53-points, a win which put the brakes on a trio of losses to Geelong (by 13-points), The Suns (by 64-points) and Southport (by 24-points) in successive weeks.

Always organised, always a proud outfit and always hard to beat, they represent another searching test of Box Hill’s bonafides. 

Selection News

Zane Littlejohn and his match committee were forced to throw the magnets around this weekend, having lost a few players to injury and a few to senior call-ups.

There were seven changes made to the side who came up short on the Gold Coast last weekend, with Josh Ward, Fergus Greene and Chad Wingard all winning a place in Hawthorn’s side for Sunday’s match against Carlton; while Fionn O’Hara, Josh Morris and Hugh Beasley miss our hit-out with Port Melbourne due to niggles picked up against The Suns.

Developing tall Jed Rule has been omitted. 

In comes Changkuoth Jiath for his first run for Box Hill since the 2019 Elimination Final, Lachie Bramble and Jacob Koschitzke.

Youngsters Jack O’Sullivan, Cam Mackenzie and Darcy Tucker have also been named, as well as debutant Darcy Murr. 

Murr has impressed in recent weeks with his form at community club level and his application and attitude in training. The Frankston YCW product has been designated the Hawks’ 23rd man. 

One to Watch

A 2018 premiership player with Box Hill, ‘CJ’ hasn’t featured at any level since aggravating his calf in mid-May.

Dashing, daring and downright fun to watch, any team in brown and gold will be better for his energy across half-back. 

Sam Mitchell indicated during his weekly press conference that Jiath was likely to play on managed minutes, but Hawks fans will no doubt be excited to see him back on deck and building towards a senior return.

For those of us who remember where his journey as a Hawk began, it’s just nice to see him back on City Oval – even if only for an afternoon. 

Twice The Footy, Twice The Fun

With our VFL and VFLW sides in action in back-to-back high stakes, high quality match-ups, the day is shaping up as a big one.

Our fourth-placed VFLW side entertain the fifth-placed Southern Saints knowing a win will guarantee finals participation, while our fourth-placed VFL outfit host the always dangerous Port Melbourne looking to atone for a last-start loss and consolidate a place in the top four. 

The VFLW fixture gets the day underway from 11:30am, with gates open from 10:30am. Patrons are advised entry to City Oval will be free of charge prior to 12:30pm.

Dress To Impress

Our VFLW side will don our first-ever Pride guernsey in their contest against the Southern Saints, while our VFL cohort will pay tribute to our 2013 premiership by wearing a special ‘Heritage’ guernsey.

A throwback to the classic Mustang jumper, it comes complete with a retro collar and, in an aesthetically pleasing and exciting development, a few of the boys might even be sporting a long sleeve version.

Keep an eye on our social media accounts for pictures.

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 2:00pm 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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