Round 8 Match Report

The Box Hill Hawks roared into the VFL’s top eight on Sunday afternoon, conquering the visiting Tigers on the back of an eight-goal final term blitz.

Senior Coach Clint Proctor was prepared to roll the dice from the off, directing stand-in skipper Stu Horner to kick into the breeze should he win the toss. The play was simple: ‘Proc’ believed his charges could maintain touch throughout the day and would finish the stronger with the wind behind them.

In the end, it was inspired coaching. The Hawks toiled hard to trail by just 10-points at the final change, and when play resumed had seven goals on the board before the visiting Tigers knew what had hit them.

Come the final siren the margin was 33-points and Box Hill were left to enjoy as good a win as the Club has had since a certain September day back in 2018.

The sensational Cal Porter was best afield, racking up a team-high nine clearances, laying six tackles, propelling his side inside 50 on four occasions and kicking two vital final quarter goals – the first two goals of the term.

More, ‘Ports’ went to Richmond’s Collier-Dawkins in the second half and held the Tiger midfielder to just five total disposals across quarters three and four.

Former skipper Damian Mascitti was superb as always, accumulating a game-high 27 disposals – including 25 kicks. He took seven marks and distributed the ball brilliantly all afternoon, tallying six inside 50s and 10 rebound 50s.

Senior-listed Hawks Liam Shiels and Dan Howe were commanding presences through the midfield, combining for 46 disposals, 12 clearances and 11 inside 50s. Further, the big-bodied Howe laid a game-high seven tackles, impressing his work inside the contest.  

Inside forward 50 it was the tandem of Fergus Greene and Ben Cavarra who did the damage, booting 4.2 apiece to spearhead the brown and gold to victory.

Greene presented expertly all afternoon and took a game-high 10 marks, while Cavarra was the live-wire spark which kept his side in touch when the game looked to be getting away from the hosts, kicking big goals at crucial moments to keep the contest alive.

All that good work was bookended by impressive key back James Blanck and key forward Jackson Callow, with the pair holding down posts at either end which anchored the Hawks’ performance.

It wasn’t all smooth sailing for Proctor and his coaches’ box, having lost Josh Ward just before the half-time break after a heavy knock and Stu Horner just after with a hamstring complaint. 

Two men down and as many as four goals in arrears, ‘Proc’ called for a special effort. He got one.

The Hawks finished the game +11 in disposals, +34 in contested possessions, +15 inside 50s and +23 in tackles – a snap shot of a stat line which stress a team willing to roll its sleeves up and get their hands dirty to win the ball.

Following a first term in which Liam Shiels’ opener was cancelled out by a trio of Tiger goals, Box Hill looked to take full toll with the wind at their backs. Sadly, a dominant second period netted a return of just 3.8 – good enough to win the quarter by a solitary point. 

The hosts trailed by as many as four goals during this time, but majors from Greene, Cavarra and Jordan Cunico gave the brown and gold hope of a second-half comeback.

When the third quarter got underway Callow and Greene kicked back-to-back goals to bring the Hawks within two-points, before the Tigers’ Tylar Young goalled to wrestle back some initiative.

Cavarra booted his second shortly thereafter, but Noah Cumberland responded as the Tigers searched for an advantage to defend in the last. When the siren sounded for three-quarter-time the visitors’ lead was just 10-points – a lead one suspected wouldn’t be enough with the breeze as strong as it was.

Once play resumed the margin was reduced to four points after just 14 seconds as Porter burst from stoppage and drilled a beauty. Six minutes later it was Porter again. His second gave the Hawks a lead for the first time since the 13-minute mark of the first term. 

Any fear the game would ebb and flow to a frantic finish was snuffed out when Box Hill laid on five unanswered goals in 12 minutes. Kyle Hartigan got the first of that set, before Cavarra kicked his third, Greene his third and fourth and Ed Phillips his first.

Cumberland’s third represented consolation for the individual and his team, before Cavarra’s fourth acted as the exclamation mark on his – and his side’s – afternoon. 

The Hawks had kicked 8.4 in a stirring final stanza to nearly double their three-quarter-time score, while keeping the Tigers to a single goal in the process, to secure a 33-point win.

Box Hill have a fixtured bye next weekend, before returning to action in a fortnight away to Gold Coast.

Best: Porter, Blanck, Howe, Shiels, Greene, Callow

Goals: Cavarra, Greene 4, Porter 2, Callow, Cunico, Hartigan, Phillips, Shiels

Disposals:
Mascitti 27, Cunico 25, Howe 24, Porter 24, Shiels 22

Box Hill

1.1

4.9

7.12

15.16 (106)

Richmond

3.4

7.5

9.10

10.13 (73)

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