Round 18 Match Preview

WHEN: 12 noon, Sunday July 23
Preston City Oval 
COVERAGE: Live on channel 7 or stream live via the AFL Live Official app or tune in to listen with 3WBC 94.1FM. 

This weekend the Box Hill Hawks will travel to Preston City Oval to take on the Northern Bullants (*formerly the Northern Blues prior to 2021) in our Round 18 clash. While the Bullants have won just the one game so far this season, they aren’t one to dismiss easily. It’s likely to be a good match up, especially with a few familiar faces now playing in the red and white, with Billy Murphy, Mackenzie Doreien and Liam Mackie all former Hawks. 

Last five meetings 

Round 2, 2021: Box Hill 17.10 (112) defeated Northern Bullants (8.8 (56) at Box Hill City Oval. 
Round 20, 2019: Box Hill 10.22 (82) defeated Northern Blues* 8.17 (65) at Box Hill City Oval. 
Round 7, 2018: Box Hill 14.12 (96) defeated Northern Blues* 8.10 (58) at Box Hill City Oval. 
Round 19, 2017: Box Hill 19.13 (127) defeated Northern Blues* 7.8 (50) at Box Hill City Oval. 
Round 11, 2017: Box Hill 11.11 (77) defeated Northern Blues* 6.19 (55) at Preston City Oval. 

The Hawks have claimed the victory in the last five meetings with the Bullants, four of those five on home turf. But this weekend it’ll be at Preston City Oval, where we did win when we last played them there in 2017. Each of the wins have been relatively convincing judging by the score line, one can only hope that tradition continues come Sunday. 

How have we been going? 

L, L, W, W, L, W, W, W, W, W, L, L, L, W.

Box Hill pulled off a thriller in Round 17 over Werribee to break a three-game losing streak and secure a victory for old times’ sake in a heritage guernsey and in conjunction with the club’s inaugural Hall of Fame. It was seven points the difference at game’s end, 12.15 (87) to 11.4 (80). 

Just shy of the 20-minute mark in the final term and the Hawks trailed by 20 points, but thanks to a string of goals (and a few behinds) we clawed out way back into the contest. Goals from Jaylon Thorpe, Fergus Greene, then the pearler of a snap for Ben Cavarra which put us in the lead by one, before Greene goaled again for his sixth and the game’s sealer. 

There were a number of impressive performers in the clash, but it was Tom Phillips who was named best afield. He was given a role to play and did it well, as well as racking up 28 disposals, 12 marks and an equal-best six clearances. 

Also among the best were Fergus Greene with six goals, Liam Shiels (two goals, 27 disposals), Emerson Jeka (20 disposals, 15 kicks), Brady Grey and Max Lynch (42 hitouts). 

How have they been going? 

L, L, L, W, L, L, L, L, L, L, L, L, L, L. 

The Bullants have managed just one win so far this season, besting the Swans in Sydney back in Round 4. It was 15.14 (104) to 13.7 (85) come the final siren. 

Aside from that, the Bullants have been on the backend of 13 losses for the year. Their most recent defeat came at the hands of Frankston on home turf, the final score, 13.13 (91) to 5.9 (39). The Bullants were outscored in each quarter and trailed at every break. 

Their skipper Tom Wilson was best on ground, having managed 30 disposals and 11 marks, while Matthew King was busy through the middle with 24 possessions and five tackles, and Will Mitchell managed 23 disposals, seven clearances and six tackles. 

Team News 

A couple of changes this week from the team that marched to victory last weekend over Werribee. 

The three main outs this week include the likes of skipper, Hugh Beasley who has been managed for the match up with the Bullants. As well as senior figures, Damian Mascitti and James Parsons who both suffered knocks in Round 17. 

Potential ins for the side are Hawthorn’s Jacob Koschitzke, Ned Long, Kyle Hartigan and Sam Butler, if they don’t line up with the senior side on Saturday against North, they will take to the field with Box Hill on Sunday. 

While a definite in for the side is debutant Kai Windsor, a top aged player with Eastern Ranges, who will play as the 23rd man. 

One to Watch  

Fergus Greene is hard to look passed up forward for the Hawks at the best of times, let alone after a six-goal haul – Hence why he’s the one to watch for our Round 18 clash. 

Ferg is no stranger to bags of goals obviously. Of the games he’s played so far this season (He’s missed only two games, due to COVID and concussion), he’s only not slotted a major in Round 14 against Footscray, when he was subbed out midway through with a head knock. He’s kicked four on three occasions; against Richmond, the Suns and Port Melbourne, and managed five against Essendon. 

He is currently sitting just two goals away from his 100th VFL goal. For those who follow us on Twitter you may be aware of our countdown to #Ferg100, which has been fun to document – Especially considering he seems blissfully unaware of the hashtag. 

Perhaps the clash with the Bullants will be the game for Ferg’s century? We’ll have to wait and see.  

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