Round 21 Match Report: Hawks Outclass Cats

The Box Hill Hawks have inched closer to a finals berth, accounting for Geelong on Saturday at City Oval.

On the back of five goals from the boot of spearhead Fergus Greene and a total of 10 individual goal kickers, the Hawks lead from go to woah to run out 43-point winners.

As was the case last weekend, Clint Proctor deployed a 23-man squad compromised of a mix of youth and experience, blending AFL and VFL-listed talent at both ends of that spectrum as he made six changes to the side that won last start at Frankston.

With the season approaching it’s conclusion, Proctor would’ve been thrilled to see reliable types like Damian Mascitti, Cal Porter, Ed Phillips and Brady Grey ably assisted by Liam Coghlan, Luis D’Angelo, Max Ramsden, Jack Saunders, Sam Butler, Max Hall, Max Walton and Mitch Sruk. 

More than the individual contributions of the kids – who all looked at home at the level –  and the level heads of those around them, it was a case of the collective combining well in all phases of the game to keep the Cats at bay.

As far as select key statistical indicators are concerned, Proctor’s men finished the day +13 for inside 50s, +25 marks, +16 total disposals, +7 contested disposals, +8 tackles and with 16 marks inside 50, which was +7 on the Cats.

Hard-nosed midfielder Porter was named the brown and gold’s best player, consolidating a stretch of form that has seen him emerge as a best and fairest fancy come season’s end.

The former Western Bulldog tallied 26 touches, laid three tackles, won a game-high four centre clearances and 10 total clearances.

Regarded internally for his attack on the ball and ability to inject energy in the group, Porter was excellent from first siren to last inside and outside the contest.

Former skipper and reigning best and fairest winner Damian Mascitti was another standout performer, winning a game-high 29 touches – including 27 kicks – taking eight marks, driving his side inside 50 five times a notching a game-high seven rebound 50s.

As reliable as he is versatile, Mascitti played in numerous positions on the day, starting the contest on the wing before floating between the arcs as needed, using his class and poise to diffuse or launch attacks on both sides of the ball.

Jack Saunders turned in arguably his finest display of the season, covering the ground beautifully from half-back to half-forward and using his speed to transition play on his way to 24 touches and a game-high 11 marks.

‘Mighty Mouse’ topped off his performance with a goal to go with his five inside 50s.

As mentioned above, Fergus Greene was the standout forward on the ground, kicking five goals from eight marks and moving to within touching distance of a first ‘Frosty’ Miller Medal.

Greene’s finishing was a highlight on a blustery day, where conversion was made difficult by a tricky and unpredictable breeze.

Dan Howe’s experience was telling throughout the contest, with the 95-game Hawk an outlet both as a strong body in the contest and clean mark of the football behind the play.

He finished with 25 touches, six marks, four tackles and three centre clearances.

Box Hill’s best was rounded out by Brady Grey, who returned to the mix having missed last weekend with Covid.

Grey was typically solid over the ball and in the tackle, recording 19 touches, taking three marks, driving the Hawks inside 50 on five occasions and kicking a crucial goal.

The day started well enough for the Hawks, who kicked three of the first four goals of the afternoon from seven of the first eight scoring shots to the Davey Street end.

The Cats would rally late to draw within nine at the first change, but with the breeze seemingly favouring neither end of the venue it was impossible to know what par was. 

Kicking to the Whitehorse Road or scoreboard end in the second, which is typically the scoring end, the Hawks kicked 3.2 to the Cats’ 1.5 to head to half time three goals to the good.

Goals to Grey, Hall and Greene felt significant with the sky above turning grey and the lights being switched on.

Cavarra opened the scoring in the third with an arrowed set shot to give Box Hill a four-goal lead, before a nasty looking incident involving Charlie Beasley brought play to a halt.

Having effected a spoil in a marking contest, Beasley copped an accidental knee to the head as he scrambled to follow up at ground level.

In positive news, Beasley was soon awake and alert. He would leave the venue for further assessment and be discharged later in the evening.

Max Lynch kicked a superb team goal once play resumed, finishing off a fantastic transition from Jack Saunders with a running check side to increase his side’s advantage to five goals.

The Cats’ Shannon Neale gave the visitors a lifeline entering time on, before Greene kicked his second of the day at the 31-minute mark to put the Hawks in pole position with a quarter to play. 

Any concerns of a blue and white comeback were snuffed out early, with Greene giving his side the ideal start after four minutes.

Box Hill’s number 56 would add three more to his personal tally to cancel out goals from Jackson McLachlan and Shaun Higgins, before Porter and ruckman Max Ramsden kicked goals to ice the game and conclude the scoring. 

Best: Porter, Mascitti, Saunders, Greene, Howe, Grey

Goals: Greene 5, Cavarra, Lynch, Butler, Saunders, Grey, Hall, Porter, Ramsden, Walton

Disposals: Mascitti 29, Porter 26, Howe 25, Saunders 24, E Phillips 19, Grey 19

Box Hill

3.5

6.7

9.10

14.13 (97)

Geelong

2.2

3.7

4.10

7.12 (54)


The Hawks will host Sydney next Saturday afternoon at 12:35pm. 

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