Round 21 Match Preview: Dogs Await Hawks

A first meeting of Hawks and Bulldogs at Box Hill City Oval awaits, as does a meeting between two of the competition’s most in form sides.

Who: Footscray
Where: Box Hill City Oval
When: Saturday 12 August
First bounce: 2:05pm

A Little Bit of History

The Box Hill Hawks and Footscray have played just once since their 2019 MCG curtain raiser ended in a pulsating draw, and just nine matches in all since the Dogs established their own reserves program prior to the 2014 season.

Saturday’s match marks the first meeting of the two sides at City Oval since a 40-point Box Hill win in the 2015 Qualifying Final, with the Hawks leading the head-to-head record 5-3-1.

The most painful loss of those three is unquestionably the 2014 Grand Final defeat, won by Footscray on the back of storming final term.

With scores tied at quarter time and a single point between the sides at the half, Box Hill edged away to a six-point lead with one term to play.

But it was the Bulldogs’ day, with the sons of the ‘Scray pulling away to win the flag in their first year as a re-constituted Footscray.

Somewhat notable for the Hawks was the performance of now-skipper James Sicily, who booted three goals for the afternoon. 

The most recent meeting of the sides was similarly disappointing for those of us in brown and gold, although not anywhere near as important.

Having won five games on the spin and boasting a better-than-decent 7-3 record before a trip to Whitten Oval, the Hawks started poorly and were never in the hunt, eventually slumping to a 48-point defeat.

On a windy day out west, Box Hill kicked with the breeze in the first quarter and turned five goals down. Unsurprisingly, things didn’t improve from there. 

Ben Cavarra was Box Hill’s standout contributor, kicking three goals from 18 touches. 

Compounding matters, the loss would mark the first of three such results in a row, taking the Hawks from 7-3 to 7-6 and on the lip of the top eight. The team would settle following this run, winning four in succession to qualify for the finals.

2023 So Far

Pleasingly, the Hawks have locked in a guaranteed finals place and require just one more win to ensure the team finishes no lower than fifth and will thus play at least one home final.

Sitting at 8-3 following a tough loss on the Gold Coast, Zane Littlejohn’s men have flawlessly navigated their next five match-ups, beating Port Melbourne, GWS, North Melbourne, Richmond and Sandringham along the way. 

As for the Bulldogs, the red, white and blue endured a torrid start to 2023 and sat two-and-six following round nine.

They’ve since put together a sensational eight-and-zero run to charge into seventh spot on the ladder, just a game outside the top six.

Coincidentally, just like the Hawks, Footscray haven’t lost since suffering a big defeat on the Gold Coast.

In their unbeaten run they’ve accounted for Geelong, Frankston, Coburg, Collingwood, Sydeny, the Bullants and North Melbourne.

Like Box Hill, the four points on offer shape as season-defining. 

Pride Game

Saturday’s match-up marks the Box Hill Hawks’ first VFL Pride Match.

We’ll don our inaugural Pride Guernsey, as worn by our VFLW outfit earlier in the season, while the Hawks and Bulldogs Pride groups will each have stalls inside the venue.

The Box Hill Hawks are proud to promote an inclusive and diverse initiative and welcome football fans of all backgrounds to enjoy our great game

Selection News

Zane Littlejohn has made seven changes to the side which accounted for Sandringham two weeks ago, but some of those will likely feature for Hawthorn on Sunday. 

Among the listed ins are Tyler Brockman, Lachy Bramble, Lloyd Meek, Cam Mackenzie, Jaylon Thorpe, Henry Hustwaite and debutant Lachie Bryce, who has been designated the Hawks’ 23rd man.

Out of the team go the promoted Harry Morrison, Jack Scrimshaw, Bailey Macdonald and Jacob Koschitzke – the latter two are listed as “interchange from” for the senior side – while Box Hill listed youngsters Max Hall, Jake Arundell and Tristen Waack have been squeezed out for now.

The Cavarra Cup

So, we started doing this prior to the Williamstown game and I’m pleased to say, given other results, the Cavarra Cup is still up for grabs!

A Footscray win would secure them the the VFL’s second most prestigious team accolade, while a Box Hill win would take the round robin tournament to a final day showdown with Frankston, with the Hawks knowing what it would take to win the series on plus-minus

Basically, the Cavarra Cup is contested between the four VFL teams that Ben Cavarra has represented. Fortunately, the fixture this year ensured that each of the four teams – Frankston, Williamstown, Footscray and Box Hill – played one another at least once.

This meant that we could fashion a World Cup style group format in which every team played three matches, winning three points for a victory and one point for a draw. Any ties would be split using for/against. 

As it stands, the table looks like this:













Box Hill








Previous Cavarra Cup fixtures

Round 2

Frankston 47 def by Williamstown 74 

Round 11 

Box Hill 61 def by Williamstown 76

Round 12 

Frankston 81 def by Footscray 100

Round 13 

Williamstown 48 def by Footscray 78

Forthcoming Cavarra Cup Fixtures

Round 21

Box Hill vs Footscray

Round 22

Frankston vs Box Hill

One(s) to Watch

I’m going to go with Cooper Stephens this week. An off-season recruit out of Geelong, ‘Sugar’ has had a consistent year for Box Hill.

Strong in the contest, boasting a great attitude week in, week out and an excellent leader on and off the field, Stephens has cast himself as a reliable contributor at the VFL level.

Fingers crossed we’ll see the #21 in senior action before the season is out. 

How To Follow

Hawks fans can keep up-to-date with all the action via our official social media channels.

Curated match commentary will be provided on Twitter, while further coverage will be available across Instagram and Facebook. 

Where To Watch

All VFL matches can be streamed via the AFL app. Coverage of Sunday’s game starts at 2:00pm and can be found in the match hub or via this link.

Further, radio commentary can be found via our community radio partner, 3WBC 94.1FM.

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