Round 19 Match Report

The Box Hill Hawks have faltered in their run toward the final four, experiencing defeat at the hands of Werribee for the second time this year.

Despite the twelfth placed Tigers remaining out of finals contention, there remained plenty at stake – the Hawks out to atone for their early season loss and Werribee eager to prove that their first victory was by no chance. 

In addition, the Hawks were tasked with getting the job done in the absence of Mitch Lewis, Will Hams and Will Langford all lost to injury, Conor Nash and Marc Pittonet in the way of senior AFL call-up, Taylor Duryea as an AFL holdover and skipper, Andrew Moore, missing via the first match of a two-week suspension.

Despite differing personnel, the clash played out in a fashion similar to that of the prior hit-out between the two clubs, in a seesawing affair of exchanging momentum. It looked like the Tigers would be overrun when the Hawks charged to a 12-point lead early in the last quarter, but the hosts responded with four unanswered goals to claim the four points, the ninth annual beyondblue Cup and a perfect record against the Hawks for season 2018.

The match began unconvincingly, with a turnover riddled opening in which neither team were quite able to find their feet. Joe Maishman eventually drew first blood for the Tigers, before third-gamer Harrison Burt evened the ledger off the back of impressive forward fifty pressure.

Werribee gathered momentum with back-to back goals in the space of a minute, through big-man Jack Berry and utility Jake Sharp, as efficient forward fifty entries proved the difference between the two sides.

It was an unlikely suspect who hit back for the Hawks – impassable backman David Mirra this week afforded a stint in the forward line, in the absence of leading goal kicker, Mitch Lewis. Despite the unfamiliar territory, the former skipper wasted no time in putting his first goal on the board.

Changkuoth Jiath looked dangerous around the ground, his athleticism and marking ability a feature of multiple contests; while the work rate of Mitch O’Donnell was again second to none, well on his way to a best afield performance.

It was the Tigers who found the next response, with another pair of back-to-back goals, both to Aaron Hooper, to hand Werribee an 18-point lead deep into the first term.

However, scores would stand level at the quarter’s conclusion, with a fast finish granting goals to Oliver Hanrahan, Billy Murphy and Jackson Ross, fitting of what had been an even contest thus far.

The resumption of play saw O’Donnell pick up exactly where he left off, the opening clearance just one of what would become nine, while James Cousins continued to customarily rack up disposal.

The first two goals of the term came care of Mirra, his presentation up the ground, bodywork deep and ability to finish, able to fool any first-time onlooker that the forward line was home.

What had become a run of five consecutive Box Hill goals would come to a close courtesy of a Ben Maloney major, before the Tigers finished the term in exactly the same manner as the Hawks did the first, with further goals to Jake Sharp and Josh Porter.

A four-point ball game in favour of the Tigers was what stood at the half.

The term that followed brought with it rain, and plenty of it, and a subsequent 17-minute period in which neither team could find an elusive major.

The deadlock eventually broken by a Mirra snap from the tightest of angles, his fourth major of the day taking a tally which stood at 8 goals over 137 VFL matches to 12 in the course of just one afternoon.

While the Hawks had reclaimed the lead, it would be short-lived as Werribee continued to find answers, with rapid-fire goals to Jack Berry and Aaron Hooper, their second and third goals, respectively.

Momentum shifted once more as the quick-thinking Hanrahan slotted his second; followed by another from Lachlan Walker off the hands of the pack to allow the Hawks a 5-point advantage heading into a huge final term.

Box Hill began just as necessary, with the hard work of Chris Jones repaid, the big-man putting through his first of the day in what was a due reward for effort.

A crumbing goal from Werribee’s Matthew Munro was met by a second from Jones, with the lead standing at two straight kicks in favour of the Hawks ten minutes into the final term.

However, the Tigers refused to go down without a fight.

Werribee stormed home with the final four goals of the game to steal the lead as the Hawks found themselves 14 points in arrears at the final siren.

In spite of the setback, with two home and away matches remaining, finals are secured for the Hawks; and while it won’t come easy the double chance remains a possibility.

With battles against the now top of the table Casey and third-placed Geelong, the following fortnight of football will provide an important barometer for the Hawks who will look to bounce back before launching their tilt at September.


Box Hill 5.2 7.5 10.8 12.9 (81)
Werribee 5.2 8.3 10.3 15.5 (95)

Goals: Mirra 4, Hanrahan, Jones 2, Burt, Murphy, Ross, Walker

Disposals: Cousins 33, O’Donnell 22, Mirra 22, O’Rourke 17, Mackie 17

Best: O’Donnell, Mirra, Cousins, Knoll, Jones, Mackie

Similar Posts