Round 7: Preview


Round 13, 2018. Richmond 14. 11. (95) defeated Box Hill 6. 12. (48) at Swinburne Centre.


Box Hill will look to regain its place on the winners’ list when it takes on Richmond on Sunday.

The Hawks come off a thrilling draw against Footscray at the MCG, in what was a fitting result for the see-sawing contest.

Although the Hawks won 29 more contested possessions and 17 more clearances than the Bulldogs, they weren’t able to fully take advantage of this dominance on the scoreboard. The Hawks will take confidence in gaining 24 scoring shots, but after only kicking 12. 12. will no doubt be looking for a more efficient scoreline against Richmond.

The in-form Tigerssit perched on top of the VFL ladder as the only undefeated team in the league, and come in hot after a 74-point demolition of Frankston last week.

Richmond recorded 14 more insides 50s than the winless Frankston, and the club’s flawless record this season presents an ominous sign for the rest of the competition, considering the mass injuries for the Tigers at AFL level.

AFL-listed youngster Patrick Naish is blossoming in his second season at Richmond, clearly leading the Tigers’ VFL group for total disposals, uncontested possessions and inside-50s. The 20-year-old produced an outstanding game last week recording 29 disposals, a round-high 22 uncontested possessions and four goals and will certainly require close attention this week.

Tiger Mav Wellerreturned to form after a quiet opening month. Weller hit his straps collecting 27 disposals and seven tackles last week and will play a crucial role in combatting Box Hill’s coveted midfield brigade this week.

Jacob Townsend looms as another key player for Richmond. The bullocking midfielder has again been a tackling machine this season, averaging six a match. Along with Weller, expect Townsend’s manic aggression to be a feature at the contest.

As it stands, Box Hill sits in the Top 4 of the VFL Ladder on percentage and is in the midst of a critical month for the club, set to face Collingwood and Williamstown before it’s second bye.

The Hawks have struggled in recent times against Richmond, losing by 47 points in Round 13 2018 and 65 points in 2017’s Preliminary Final.

With a strong and injury-free line-up, Box Hill will be eyeing off this Round 7 encounter as the club’s best chance in recent memory to knock off the league leaders.

Jarryd Rougheadwas a surprise inclusion for Box Hill against Footscray last week and responded with a 5-star performance. In his first game in the VFL for more than seven years, the Hawk great booted five goals, along with 17 disposals and seven marks on his way to having a significant influence on the match.  More importantly, ‘Roughy’ provided invaluable leadership and experience to Box Hill’s young line up, and will again play an important role in fast-tracking the development of his teammates, if selected again this week.

There is no doubt that Hawk ruckman Marc Pittonet would’ve been licking his lips hearing the news that Richmond ruckman Toby Nankervis is to be sidelined with injury. The fallout is likely to result in Ivan Soldo’s elevation to the AFL side. Soldo has been herculean for Richmond’s VFL side, averaging 34 hitouts and four tackles a game. Likewise, Pittonet has also been in imposing form this season in averaging 34 hitouts a match. You can expect to see an equally influential performance from the Hawk this week.

First-year Hawk Mat Walker has already started to put together an impressive highlight reel in his first two games.  The livewire forward helped the Hawks turn the game on its head in the third quarter last week, kicking two classy goals and setting up another. Expect to see another exciting contribution from Walker against this week.

 Box Hill Assistant coach Marco Bello believes the club faces another tough assignment this week against Richmond.

“Richmond is always a strong side. They might have some injuries at AFL level, but it doesn’t matter who’s playing for them, they’ll always adhere to their AFL and VFL system,” he said.

“We are expecting a tough and physical, quick paced game. We know if we don’t stop them from using the football well we are going to be in a world of hurt.

“We have been playing some good football and we back in our system to stop sides. It will be an arm wrestle for most of the day, and I envisage this will be another close game.”

The Box Hill Hawks will take on Richmond at 11:40am this Sunday at the Swinburne Centre.

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