The Box Hill Hawks returned to action on Saturday, recording a storming 63-point win over Collingwood at a windy Olympic Park.
The result is the Hawks’ sixth win in succession, good enough for the second-best form line in the VFL, and cements Sam Mitchell’s men in the competition’s top four.
In the Club’s first hit-out since the Round 12 win over Gold Coast some 28-days earlier, Box Hill were bolstered by the inclusions of Jon Ceglar, Harry Morrison, Jai Newcombe and the returning Jordan Cunico.
With conditions making for an intriguing tactical battle, the Hawks would overcome a slow start to work into the contest prior to half time, before turning the game on its head with five goals into the wind in the third term.
Buoyed by a well-earned last-change lead, the brown and gold ultimately ran away with the points come the final quarter, piling on nine unanswered goals to secure an eighth win on the season.
Come days end the Hawks finished plus-138 disposals, plus-96 handball receives, plus-38 uncontested marks and plus-25 inside 50s.
It was an absorbing contest for the most part, with the aforementioned breeze worth four-to-five goals and demanding contrasting styles and philosophies quarter-to-quarter.
The Hawks recorded two fewer scoring shots from just four less inside 50s in the opening term, but despite playing well enough to be rewarded with a goal went to the first change with only five behinds to show for their efforts.
The Magpies kicking the opening goal of the second quarter wasn’t in the script, but having been made to toil for our first major of the afternoon but the time it arrived the boys in brown and gold looked to have found their rhythm.
The impressive Josh Morris was instrumental in this phase of the game, hitting up Fergus Greene for his first of five goals for the day, before roosting a massive right footer himself as the Pies and Hawks traded goals.
Jordan Cunico was proving to be an important springboard off half-back as his side slowly built into the game, whilst Cal Porter was thrust from a lockdown role into the midfield mix and brought his team alive with his physicality and pressure on the ball and the man.
The former Bulldog finished with 25 disposals, a game high seven inside 50s, as well as six clearances and four tackles.
Like Cunico, Harry Morrison’s class and poise began to show. He hit up Phillips with a scything kick across his body to set up a goal, before Jackson Callow’s first of the day further tightened things up.
Having stared down a significant deficit at half-time, the Hawks turned for home just the four points in arrears.
Re-focused and ready to go after the long break, Collingwood got the ideal start by kicking the first goal of the second half.
But in the decisive period of the contest, the Hawks found five of the next six goals. Seamus Mitchell got things rolling after a strong contest from Callow bought the ball to ground, before two goals apiece from Jeka and Greene gave the Hawks their first lead of the day and set-up a grandstand finish.
A goal from Jeka – his third – was the perfect start to the final term. When Olly Hanrahan got onto one from outside 50 to extend the lead to three kicks things looked on the up.
That goal was just reward for Hanrahan, who’s influence on the result was telling. He led all-comers on the ground with 35 disposals, an equal game-high nine clearances and six inside 50s.
The Hawks had well and truly gotten on top by this point, led by Jon Ceglar’s equal-game high 10 first possessions and six clearances, as well as Newcombe’s equal game-high nine clearances.
Before you could blink, goals to Pepper, Phillips, Callow and Greene had blown the game apart. Despite holding a 43-point lead the scoring wasn’t done.
Vincent Adduci, who had built impressively into the game, was at the heart of the move that led to Greene’s fifth, which was followed up shortly thereafter by Harry Morrison’s first.
Having accumulated 19 disposals and four inside 50s, the goal capped a fine performance.
There was time for one more – a ninth of the final quarter – which came from the boot of Emerson Jeka to underline a stunning 30 minutes of football and confirm a stirring 63-point win.
|Box Hill||0.5||4.11||9.13||18.15 123|
Best: Porter, Morris, Hanrahan, Cunico, Mascitti, Ceglar
Goals: Greene 5, Jeka 4, Phillips, Callow 2, Morris, Mitchell, Hanrahan, Pepper, Morrison
Disposals: Hanrahan 35, Porter 25, Cunico 25, Mascitti 24, Newcombe 22, Hartley 20