Round 18 Match Report: Back In The Eight

The Box Hill Hawks have recorded back-to-back wins for the first time since rounds 11 & 12 and returned to the competition’s top eight.

The 56-point win over the Northern Bullants represents a vital four points for Clint Proctor and his men, who sit sixth on 36 points with four rounds to play, just a win outside the four or, conversely, a loss from 11th.

Having lost experienced hands Damian Mascitti and James Parsons to knocks from last weekend, Proctor and his match committee made the difficult albeit calculated call to manage skipper Hugh Beasley – who has had an injury interrupted season.

Jacob Koschitzke, Ned Long, Kyle Hartigan and Sam Butler were all welcome additions for the must-win clash, but it was three former Dogs who did the bulk of the damage on a good day for a number of Hawks.

Cal Porter was adjudged best afield for his career-high 45 disposals, winning the ball and driving his team forward time and again.

In addition to his game-high 45 disposals, ’Ports’ lead all-comers on the ground in ranking points (187), inside 50s (12), tackles (10) and clearances (9). Further, his 10 marks was bettered only by Tom Phillips’ 11.

Inside forward 50 it was Ben Cavarra and Fergus Greene who filled their boots, kicking five apiece.

Cavarra cast himself in the role of match-winner on the back of a scintillating 12-minute burst either side of half-time, recording his first after 25 minutes of the second and his fourth with barely seven minutes played in the third.

For Greene, his second of the day took him to 100 career VFL goals, while his fifth and final major of the afternoon drew him level with the Gold Coast Suns’ Chris Burgess on a competition best 42 goals for the year.

The Hawks’ best was rounded out by AFL-listed trio Daniel Howe, Emerson Jeka and Jack Saunders.

Howe’s class was crucial in diffusing contested situations around the ground and he deftly linked defence and attack throughout the day. The experienced midfielder tallied 31 disposals, nine marks, five tackles and two clearances.

Emerson Jeka’s move to half back continues to pay dividends, with the goal-kicker turned intercepter finishing with eight marks and 19 disposals – all of which were kicks.

His ability to spread the field by hitting both short and long targets was a standout aspect of another strong showing in a new role.

Box Hill’s own ‘Mighty Mouse,’ Saunders turned in arguably his finest performance of the 2022 campaign. Operating between wing and half forward, Saunders won 21 touches, took seven marks, laid four tackles and kicked two classy goals.

His 102 ranking points on the day was 46 better than his season average.

The Hawks started the contest by kicking into a three-four goal breeze and would’ve been satisfied to change ends neither behind or in front.

The first term was a cagey affair for the most part, with neither side really able to impose themselves or their style of play on the game.

An early highlight came from debutant Kai Windsor, with the top-aged Eastern Ranges product kicking the Hawks’ opening goal of the game from a set shot that was by no means a gimme.

In the second term goals to Wilson and Velissaris either side of five behinds to Box Hill gave the hosts the perfect start, before six-pointers from the boots of Saunders, Greene and Cavarra wrestled back control.

A quick-fire triple from Cavarra after the long-break consolidated the Hawks’ advantage and come three quarter time the visitors had worked their way to a five-goal lead with the wind at their backs for the final term. 

Greene and Cavarra kicked goals as the sides traded the first four majors of the last quarter, but the Hawks put the game to bed with a devastating salvo shortly thereafter.

Five goals in 10 minutes – including a pair to Jaylon Thorpe, Greene’s fifth and a second each to Windsor and Saunders – was a fine way to put the exclamation mark on an important win.

Come the final siren the Hawks were +66 in disposals, +25 in inside 50s, +17 marks, +12 tackles and had seven of the top 10 ranked players on the ground – including the top four.

Box Hill will sit out round 19 of the VFL due to a fixtured bye, before returning to action on Saturday week against Frankston.

Box Hill




17.13 115

 Northern Bullants




8.11 59

Porter, Cavarra, Greene, Howe, Jeka, Saunders

Porter 45, Howe 31, T Phillips 27, E Phillips 26, Long 24

Cavarra, Greene 5, Saunders, Thorpe, Windsor 2, Koschitzke 

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