Round 16 Match Report: Sharks Too Strong

The Box Hill Hawks succumbed to a third loss in succession on Saturday afternoon, defeated at home by second-placed Southport by 15-points.

The result sees the Hawks slip to seven-and-six on the season and outside the VFL top eight, setting up a massive meeting with the eight-and-five Werribee next weekend.

Clint Proctor welcomed Damian Mascitti and Fergus Greene into his 23-man match day squad, with the pair late replacements for Liam Shiels and Kyle Hartigan – who had both been named in the team on Friday.

They were joined by VFL debutants Mitch Sruk and Liam Coghlan, while the slightly more experienced Max Lynch made his Box Hill bow following a string of injury interruptions to his 2022 campaign.

The Hawks opened the scoring thanks to Cal Porter’s superb set shot and a minor score from the boot of James Parsons, before the Sharks’ efficiency in the front half began to shape the contest.

Billy Gowers and Jay Lockhart kicked back-to-back goals, which were cancelled out by a smart snap from Ned Long.

Gowers’ second was consolidated by Mitch Johnson’s first and by quarter’s end the visitors’ 14 inside 50s had netted 12 scoring shots and a 16-point lead.

As if to illustrate the point, the Hawks had managed 14 inside 50s of their own for just six scoring shots. 

The Sharks picked up where they left off in the second, peppering the goals with six of the first seven attempts of the term. Somewhat fortunately they kicked just 3.3 to keep the door ever so slightly ajar.

But their 36-point advantage in time on of the second quarter loomed large, especially with rain forecast and the clouds above City Oval becoming progressively darker.

It was both timely and opportune, then, when Brady Grey popped up with a classy snap following a forward 50 turnover to end a tough half for the hosts on a positive note and keep his side in touch.

Proctor used his half-time address to implore his charges to play their way and when play resumed that’s what they did.

Having endured a tough fortnight prior to Saturday’s difficult first half, the Hawks played their best footy since the last-gasp win over Port Melbourne.

Goals to Lynch and Greene were the highlights, but it was the intent and method employed by the hosts which turned the game their way, ultimately winning the term 2.2 to just 0.1 to set up a grandstand finish.

On Lynch, the returning big man competed all afternoon to win 12 disposals, have 25 hit outs, kick that goal and take seven marks around the ground. 

A key to this improved effort was the move of Emerson Jeka to defence. Better known as a forward in his time with the Hawks, Jeka covered the ground well to intercept and cut off the Sharks’ forward 50 entries, chopping out his teammates and distributing the ball cleanly off half-back.

An early goal to Jacob Townsend extended the lead to 22-points and made the Hawks’ task difficult, but Proctor’s men never threw in the towel.

Quick goals to Jaylon Thorpe and Jackson Callow drew Box Hill to within 11-points with a tick over 15 minutes played, while a pair of half-chances to Mascitti and Parsons floated just wide shortly thereafter.

The Hawks were finishing with a flurry, eyeing a repeat of the fourth quarter heroics that saw them run over the top of Port Melbourne and Richmond earlier in the season.

Sadly, the crucial next goal went the way of Southport.

Jai Serong answered to clip their lead back to nine points with 23 minutes gone, but there would be no great escape this time. Max Pescud iced the game and the points a short time later.

For the Hawks the standout performer was Daniel Howe.

The midfielder compiled a team-high 26 touches, took five marks, won a game-high four centre clearances and drove his side inside 50 a game-high seven times.

He was supported around the ball by James Parsons, Tom Phillips and Cal Porter.

Parsons covered every blade of grass on the ground to finish with four clearances, four inside 50s, three rebound 50s and 21 total disposals.

Phillips accumulated 24 touches, laid an equal game-high six tackles, had three inside 50s, three rebound 50s and four clearances.

While the always industrious and hard-working Cal Porter also had the ball 24 times, laying five tackles, winning four clearances and tallying five inside 50s.

Meanwhile, the always reliable and assured Damian Mascitti played his part. His 24 touches included four clearances, four inside 50s and an equal game-high eight rebound 50s.

The Hawks will look to rebound next weekend when they host Werribee in the annual Beyond Blue Cup. The day is set to be a big one, with the Box Hill launching the Club’s Hall of Fame at a pre-match luncheon.

Box Hill




8.11 59





10.14 74

Howe, Parsons, T Phillips, Porter, Mascitti

Goals: Callow, Greene, Grey, Long, Lynch, Porter, Serong, Thorpe

Disposals: Howe 26, T Phillips 24, Porter 24, Mascitti 24, Parsons 21

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