ROUND 8 Preview: Hawks to take flight

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

A brave Box Hill came up just short against an undefeated Richmond in Round 7, losing by eight points in a bruising contest at the Swinburne Centre.

The Tigers held the Hawks scoreless in the opening quarter, before a six-goal-to-none second quarter from Box Hill gave the visitors a 22-point lead at half time. But the reigning premiers could only add two last term majors, as Richmond – courtesy of nine second half goals- willed themselves to victory in front of a vocal home crowd.

Collingwood suffered another close loss, this time at the hands of Geelong by seven-points, last Sunday. A three-goal-to-one final quarter from the Pies ensured Collingwood wouldn’t go quietly, however it proved too little too late.

Box Hill has been bolstered by the presence of four-time AFL premiership player and former captain Jarryd Roughead in its side. Roughead has kicked six goals in his two VFL matches this season, and provides a wealth of experience and leadership in an otherwise youthful forward line. Meanwhile,Jackson Ross continued his impressive season with another three goals against Richmond to take his season tally to 13, and looms again as a key avenue to score goals this week for Box Hill.

Inform ruckman Marc Pittonet certainly loves a contest – so much that he recorded a game-high 15 contested possessions in his team’s loss to Richmond but didn’t find even one uncontested possession. To put that into perspective, no player who had more than two disposals in Round 7, has neglected to record an uncontested possession.

David Mirracontinued his stellar season against Richmond notching up 23 disposals, 11 marks and eight rebound 50s to be the best Hawk on the day. It was a rousing performance, considering Box Hill’s defence was under siege all day as the Tigers piled on 49-37 inside 50s. Mirra was rewarded with selection in the Round 7 VFL Team of the Week, and the experienced campaigner shapes up as an integral component in Box Hill’s defence again this week.

A familiar face is continuing to dominate the VFL, but this time for Collingwood. Alex Woodward spent five years on Hawthorn’s list, winning the JJ. Liston Trophy in 2014. However, the crafty on-baller has been plying his trade for Collingwood since joining the club in 2017 and managed to finish third in last season’s JJ. Liston Trophy, despite only playing eight games for the year. The Collingwood co-captain continued his superb form last week notching 33 disposals, five marks and five tackles. So expect to see an entertaining battle when he goes head to head with Box Hill midfielders, Luke Meadows and Harry Jones this week.

Magpie Ben Crocker shone in his newfound midfield role against Geelong, recording 26 disposals, seven marks and six inside 50s. Crocker backed up his blistering opening fortnight of 2019, in which he averaged 30 disposals and seven marks, and his damaging disposals loom as a threat for the Hawks this week.

Collingwood will be out to convert its improved form into positive results at Victoria Park on Saturday, after its third loss by a single-figure margin this season against Geelong. Three losses by seven points or less in their last four outings have left the Magpies reeling in 13th position on the VFL ladder, two games out of the top eight.

Meanwhile, the Hawks have slipped to seventh on the ladder having no wins since Round 4.  Box Hill has been playing solid football but just lacking composure and polish late in matches, and will be desperate to get its season back on track against Collingwood.

Box Hill may be without inspirational Premiership Skipper Andrew Moore after injuring his shoulder late in the club’s loss to Richmond, while inform ruckman Marc Pittonet may be required at AFL level after an ankle sprain ruled Ben McEvoy out for a month.

Box Hill Assistant Coach Torin Baker identified the work the club was doing during the week in order to correct its results late in matches this season.

“We’ve come up against two really good sides the last two weeks,” Baker said.

“We’ve played some strong footy, but we just haven’t quite got it done late in games.”

“We will continue to analyse all parts of our game and educate our players.”

“There is some scenario work, in simulating close games that we are doing at training which will hopefully give us the benefits to turn it around.”

Box Hill will take on Collingwood at 2pm this Saturday at Victoria Park.





Similar Posts