Round 17 Match Report

The Box Hill Hawks have turned back-to-back wins into a hat trick of victories, overcoming a dogged Sandringham outfit at Trevor Barker Beach Oval to remain firmly in the frame for the double chance.

The Hawks kicked the opening four goals of the match before Sandringham could counter with a major of their own, and while the Zebras peppered for the duration, the margin never closed within 12 points as the Hawks found answers at every challenge.

With the breeze in their favour, Box Hill set the tone in the centre early. Andrew Moore led from the front, on his way to nine clearances; aided by an authoritative ruck performance by Marc Pittonet, who would finish with an enormous 68 hit-outs.

This dominance at the clearance saw Box Hill gain ascendency, with fluent ball movement resulting in repeat forward fifty entries.

Mitch Lewis opened the scoring with the first major of the day, before a piece of individual brilliance from Pittonet broke a string of behinds, the big man roving his own hit-out deep in forward fifty to put through the Hawks’ second.

Increasing forward pressure saw goals to Dallas Willsmore and Changuoth Jiath ensue, with Box Hill leading a thus far scoreless Sandringham by 30 points deep into time-on.

It was Kai Owens who opened the Zebras’ account to ensure this wouldn’t remain the case, with the late effort the only blemish on an otherwise impressive quarter of football from Box Hill.

With the breeze at their backs in the term that followed, the Zebras were able to begin to find their rhythm, initially only to be denied by the defensive efforts of Kurt Heatherley, whose intercept marking was the order of the day; and David Mirra, in characteristic fashion a stalwart on the last line.

However, Owens would again be the Zebra to break through, slotting another set shot to notch back-to-back goals.

The Hawks responded, first through the quick thinking of Kieran Lovell to sneak a clever goal from the pack, followed by yet another accurate set shot from Lewis – his second goal for the day bringing his overall tally just three goals shy of the competition leader, from two fewer games.

The Zebras continued to battle valiantly, and looked dangerous at times, however despite the aid of the breeze added just one more goal via Nathan Freeman, a tidy contribution to his impressive individual performance.

The quarter concluded squarely with two goals apiece, the trend of equivalence one that would continue on the other side of the major break.

A Sandringham goal off the boot of Jonathan Haidon and a classy Brayden Kilpatrick set shot for Box Hill were the only two majors recorded, with Kilpatrick’s effort followed by a 20-minute stalemate without goal.

It was a 20-point Box Hill lead which stood heading into the last, however with the Zebra’s favoured by the breeze it would take a notable finish from the Hawks.

And that was exactly what they delivered.

Sandringham got the start they were after, with Hayden McLean taking a strong contested grab and finishing his work to close the margin to just over two goals.

Yet as they did for most of the day, the Hawks continued to find answers.

Heatherley again stood up in the contest, returning a strong pack mark into forward fifty where Oliver Hanrahan roved the pack to perfection to snap a polished goal.

It may have been goal of the day had Mirra not found James Cousins on a searching lead just moments later, with the fellow young gun one-upping his teammate as he slotted a near impossible set shot from the toughest position on the ground, with relative ease.

Tim O’Brien was important across half-back while Conor Glass provided trademark dash and polished disposal to link defence and attack.

The Hawks third consecutive goal then came in the way of skipper, Andrew Moore, a fine exclamation point on what would be a best afield performance consisting of 34 disposals, 9 marks and 6 tackles.

Sandringham’s Kane Nissenbaum stole one against momentum before Jackson Ross had the final say, adding his name to a list of ten goal-kickers and capping the final margin at 31 points.

With victory, the Hawks have assumed fourth spot on the table with the superior percentage of three teams on equal points vying for the position. Hot on their heels is Collingwood – their opponent next week – a huge battle for both teams on their path toward September.

 

Box Hill 4.6 6.8 7.10 11.12 (78)
Sandringham 1.1 3.7 4.8 6.11 (47)

Goals: Lewis 2, Pittonet, Willsmore, Jiath, Lovell, Kilpatrick, Hanrahan, Cousins, A. Moore, Ross

Disposals: Moore 34, Kilpatrick 23, Hams 22, Willsmore 21, Lovell 21, Glass 20, Mirra 20

Best: A. Moore, Pittonet, Glass, Kilpatrick, Mirra, Heatherley

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