Round 20 Talking Points

1. The Response

With seven final quarter minutes played last week- and after periods of hail and heavy rain throughout a hard fought contest – Box Hill held both a narrow two-goal lead and it’s top four destiny in its own hands.

By game’s end Werribee had rallied and kicked the final four goals of the contest to run out deserved 14-point victors.

Magnanimous though the Hawks are, and as good as Werribee had been all day and in those final exchanges, there was an inescapable sense of one that had gotten away.

The review would likely have been pointed and the message simple: socks up, sleeves up and dig a little deeper, because you’re going to have to.

Casey, this week’s opponent, sat atop the competition ladder and had a well earned reputation as a contested ball, clearance winning machine.

A response was needed and a response was what came. Right from the off the Hawks went toe-to-toe in the clinches and for work rate.

Chris Newman remarked post-match that it mightn’t have been the prettiest spectacle for the fans at the ground and those watching at home, but this was a contest in the purest sense of the word. Two sides hunting the ball and ball carrier in tight, cracking in from first siren to final whistle.

Three players registered 10 or more tackles. James Cousins, Michael Knoll and Mitch O’Donnell, the stand-in skipper. ‘Bullie’ would lead all-comers with 19.

The three lines worked beautifully as individual groups and with one another, combining seamlessly to keep the dangerous Demons to one, one, three and one goals in each of the four quarters.

2. Coming of Age

When Kurt Heatherley went down mid-way through the first term clutching at his hamstring you couldn’t help but think, ‘oh dear, how will this play out now’. Combative, adaptable and in good form, ‘Kiwi’ was going to prove hard to cover.

But in his place stepped up a resolute back six.

Changkuoth Jiath – CJ – was a revelation; Liam Mackie a terrific contributor; Will Hams a steady hand; Tim O’Brien the sticky hands; Sam Parsons, the debutant, an outstanding performer when asked to step up.

In CJ the Hawks have a player who can do things few others can. His natural athleticism melded with his developing instinct for the game at this level makes for a potent combination.

His courage to take the game on with ball in hand and confidence to leap for his marks (he hauled in nine on the day) was a highlight all afternoon.

He’s still a touch raw and rough around the edges, bit what he might become – what he has the tools to become – is taking shape before our eyes.

Parsons, his side’s 23rd man, looked every bit a fifty game player at VFL level, let alone a man playing his first match by game’s end.

Sometimes you feel like the 23rd needs a little while to adjust and come up to speed with the rhythm and flow of state league football, but that wasn’t a luxury afforded to either Parsons or his coach once Heatherley’s involvement was cut short.

Without wanting to pre-empt selection or tempt fate, ‘Parso’ should look forward to a second taste of VFL football in the Hawks’ final game of the home and away season this Saturday.

3. (An Unlikely) Dynamic Duo

In light of his four goal performance last weekend it wasn’t clear whether Box Hill skipper and premier VFL defender David Mirra would line up forward or back for the visit of Casey, especially with Mitch Lewis retuning following a spell.

Last week he’d been deployed forward to do a job on Sam Collins as much as hit the scoreboard, and the Demons’ outs certainly suggested he could be used forward of centre rather than back of it.

A further three goals later and he’s starting to make it all look annoyingly easy.

Alongside ‘Miz’ was his good mate, Billy Murphy. The two are thick as thieves off the field and when Mirra remarks post-match that he’s “enjoying playing alongside you,” you can tell he means it, perhaps even more than he knows.

Mirra’s 3.1 was bettered only by Murphy’s 3.3 on the day, with either man seemingly involved each and every time the Hawks went forward.

In tandem with players like Brayden Kilpatrick, Tom Maloney and Jackson Ross, Mirra and Lewis created contests in the air and the smalls provided the headaches on the deck.

You know, it almost feels a little like when The Rock and Mankind became the tag team you never knew you wanted but suddenly knew you couldn’t live without. It’s football with a smile whenever they’re around.

Similar Posts