Round 8 Match Preview

WHERE: Eureka Stadium, North Ballarat
WHEN: Sunday, 1:10pm
COVERAGE: Live streamed on


Round 9, 2016: Box Hill 12.18 (90) defeated North Ballarat 9.9 (63) at Box Hill City Oval

Round 13, 2015: Box Hill 12.11 (83) defeated North Ballarat 11.12 (78) at Box Hill City Oval

Round 9, 2014: Box Hill 8.11 (59) defeated by North Ballarat 8.13 (61) at Box Hill City Oval

Round 7, 2013: North Ballarat  14.7 (91) defeated by Box Hill 17.12 (114) at Eureka Stadium

Round 9, 2012: Box Hill 21.16 (142) defeated North Ballarat 8.13 (61) at Box Hill City Oval


If not for an eleventh-hour decision at an early December board meeting, the Roosters would no longer be competing in the VFL. It was a brave and welcome resolution; one which the league is all the better for.

Box Hill play at Eureka Stadium for the first time in four years, travelling to Ballarat on the back of a truly superb display last week against Port Melbourne. Seven points in arrears with thirty-two and a half minutes on the clock, Nelson Lane’s classy finish and Kade Stewart’s quick snap tied the scores.

The performance might not have netted four points but it certainly justified the Hawks’ place atop the VFL ladder.

On the other side of the coin, North Ballarat pushed Essendon right to the last, having done the same to Werribee a fortnight prior.

Struck by an injury epidemic on the eve of the season, the Roosters’ suffered a trio of heavy losses to Richmond, Footscray and Williamstown in the first five rounds, with their conffidence and percentage suffering a huge dent as a result.

It’s no surprise Marc Greig’s side have improved as experience and continuity returned to their match day squads.

In the last four meetings between the Hawks and Roosters the winning margin hasn’t exceeded 27-points, with the average just 14-points. It’s hard to know exactly what to expect, though both will be looking to maintain positive recent form.


On paper this is first versus last; the team yet to suffer defeat up against the side yet to taste victory. Choose your next response carefully.

A) the game isn’t played on paper
B) stranger things have happened
C) They’re due a win
D) all of the above.

For their part and as touched on above, the Roosters have been on the build of late, working towards their first win of 2017. You can bet the first team to take them lightly will suffer defeat. You can bet that Chris Newman and his coaches are planning and preparing for a test as stern as last week; and the week before; and the week before…

It’s a vital game for the top-of-the-table Box Hill, who will be out to ensure the gap between them and their nearest rival remains, at the very least, one game.

As touched on last week, this phase of the season has been heavily front loaded with away games – this is the sixth road trip of the year to date – so maximum points will have the Hawks well placed with plenty of home games on the horizon.

Winning is never easy, but it’s always important.

If you’ll allow me to contradict myself, whilst the four points are all that really matters the reality is there might be some handy percentage on offer.

It’s certainly true that the Roosters have given a good account of themselves over the past month, the loss at Williamstown aside, and that five of their seven losses – the last five in fact – have come against teams currently in the top eight informs the how and why of their current position on the ladder. Simply, they’ve played the cream of the competition.

What that has meant is wins for the chasing pack that currently sit right on Box Hill’s tail. A loss – a slip of any sort – will halt much of the momentum Chris Newman’s side have built up. A win creates yet more breathing room.

You never want to underestimate or disrespect an opponent, for even those going through a lean spell pose a unique threat, but If the Hawks can have a good win it creates an insurance policy in the form of a percentage buffer should the ladder tighten up. It all adds up, after all.

If last week was about embracing the challenge of Port at North Port, the expectations of match of the day and mentally steeling themselves for a good showing after the bye, this week is about embracing the hunt.

Top plays bottom, with the pair separated by contrasting fortunes and form.

It’s clear that the Hawks are currently the benchmark, so because of that they’re the prize scalp in the VFL. Teams will relish the chance to measure up against the best, so the challenge for Box Hill is to embrace and own their status as the team to beat.

North Ballarat will approach the game with a freedom that should make for a free-flowing, open and entertaining spectacle. The Roosters know full well the pressure is on the more fancied visitors and will attack the contest accordingly. Who has more to lose? Who has more on the line? That’d be the Hawks.

Similar Posts