Round 15 Match Report: GIANTS Down Hawks

The Box Hill Hawks were made to rue a slow start on Sunday, falling to a mature and accurate GIANTS outfit in Sydney’s west.

The result sees the brown and gold drop to seventh on the VFL ladder on account of a seven-and-five record – and at the front of a queue of four teams on 28 points.

Heavy rain had lashed the harbour city prior to the team’s arrival on Saturday afternoon, with further falls continuing overnight and into Sunday’s first bounce.

While ominous and assuredly on the way, the rain stayed away for much of the first half.

Sadly, once the ball was bounced it was the GIANTS who made best use of what would likely be the day’s best conditions – even if the ground was subject to a swirly and strong breeze throughout. 

GWS kicked the first four of the contest in a devastating and arguably decisive six minute burst early in the opening term, setting up a foothold and advantage they would maintain for much of the afternoon.

Relief came in the form of a James Parsons set shot with 17 minutes on the clock, but the early stoppage dominance of GIANTS bigs Kieren Briggs and Brayden Preuss was the catalyst for a pair of quick replies as the first entered time on.

A 28-point quarter time deficit was far from ideal for Clint Proctor and his coaches. Unfortunately the task went from difficult to improbable when play resumed and a second GIANTS blitz netted three more goals in four minutes.

47-points in arrears and with just the one goal to show for a tick over 55 minutes of footy, the Hawks needed something to spark themselves and the contest into life.

Emerson Jeka pulled one back for the visitors, before the retuning Jaylon Thorpe took a towering pack mark and nailed his set shot two minutes later.

Jacob Hopper snapped a reply, but a pair of sensational goals from Ben Cavarra and Daniel Howe squared the quarter at 4.2 apiece and quickly re-cast a massive deficit as a manageable one.

When play resumed the GIANTS were the first on the board, but Hawks’ youngster Max Hall answered with a lovely set shot a la Parsons earlier.

With the rain rolling in and the contest delicately poised things suddenly felt tighter than the scoreboard, suggesting the next goal was crucial.

As had been the case throughout the afternoon when that crucial goal arrived it came from the boot of a player in orange.

It was then the conditions worsened. With time becoming the enemy it was about creating and taking the next opportunity for the Hawks.

But by the time Box Hill’s 6.8 had become 6.14 the GIANTS had the game in their keeping. An early final quarter goal gave the hosts a 43-point lead, but in a heartening final 15 minutes it was the Hawks who did the bulk of the attacking.

This period netted the final five scoring shots of the day, but owing to worsening conditions and significant fatigue only 10 points as a result.

The 28-point quarter time deficit had become 33 by game’s end, stressing both how and when the four points were won and lost.

Curiously, despite finishing -53 in hit-outs the Hawks finished +8 in clearance. Comfort, perhaps, for Proctor that his charges never threw in the towel.

This stat was driven by the sensational work rate of Cal Porter – who was named Box Hill’s best on the day. Porter was given the job of running with the dangerous Jacob Hopper and recorded 14 touches, a game-high 11 tackles and ranked second on the ground in clearances with nine.

Given the implications of the rain and wind around Sydney, it’s little surprise the Hawks were down on their season average for total disposals, with just three Hawks tallying more than 20 disposals.

Josh Ward turned in a fine individual performance, too, racking up 27 disposals. He was the top rated Hawk on the field and the only Box Hill player in that measurements top seven. The first-year midfielder was #3 on the ground in clearances with 8 and only one teammate – Porter – laid more tackles.

Daniel Howe and Finn Maginness were also named in the Hawks’ best, finishing with 21 and 28 total disposals, respectively. 

Maginness tallied five clearances for the day and was ever-present around the ball and in the clinches, while Howe covered the ground well, floating forward to kick a lovely goal and sitting behind the ball whenever his side needed help in defence.

Ben Cavarra’s efforts were also recognised by his coaches, with the classy, creative mid-forward a senior voice in a relatively youthful and experienced forward 50.

He finished with 1.2, 15 disposals, five tackles and five clearances. 

Box Hill return to action next weekend, taking on the second-placed Southport on Saturday afternoon at Box Hill City Oval.

Box Hill

1.5

5.7

6.12

7.18 50

GWS

6.3

10.5

13.6

14.7 91


Best: Porter, Ward, Howe, Maginness, Cavarra

Goals: Cavarra, Hall, Howe, Jeka, Parsons, Thorpe, Ward

Disposals:
Maginness 28, Ward 27, Howe 21, De Wit 19, Phillips 18

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