Round Eight Match Preview

WHERE: Avalon Airport Oval
WHEN: Saturday, 2:10PM
COVERAGE: Channel 7; 3WBC radio – 94.1FM


Round 17, 2017: Box Hill 15.18 (108) defeated Werribee 9.9 (63) at Box Hill City Oval

Round 18, 2017: Box Hill 28.17 (185) defeated Werribee 4.3 (27) at Box Hill City Oval
Round 16, 2017: Werribee 2.5 (17) defeated by Box Hill 18.16 (124) at Avalon Airport Oval

Round 6, 2017: Werribee 10.5 (65) defeated by Box Hill 18.8 (116) at Avalon Airport Oval

Round 15, 2016: Werribee 9.12 (66) defeated Box Hill 7.11 (53) at Avalon Airport Oval

*first year fielding a standalone VFL team; past results have been taken from previous North Melbourne VFL affiliate club Werribee


Box Hill will hit the road once more, this week headed for the revamped Avalon Airport Oval to tackle North Melbourne, with both sides fresh off important victories.

The Hawks returned to the winner’s list last week, accounting for the Northern Blues in relatively comfortable fashion, coming away from the home ground clash 38 points the superior. In what was a tight and tough contest for much off the day, the triumph kept Box Hill amongst a trio of sides – also comprising Richmond and Collingwood – tied for top spot on the table.

In their inaugural year as North Melbourne’s standalone VFL affiliate, the Roos will seek to string together their first pair of back-to-back wins; after a promising victory over reigning premiers, Port Melbourne. Currently holding a two-and-three record, North will be looking to even the ledger and restore balance to their win-loss ratio this week.

Selected as the Match of the Day broadcast to be televised to fans far and wide, a bevy of talent will be on display, with provisional squads for the two sides boasting no less than a total of 43 AFL-listed players between them.


As previously mentioned, fans will be able to tune in to see all the action live, with televised coverage on Channel 7 from 2:00PM. Alternatively, 3WBC will provide the call via radio once more; while our official social channels continue to report throughout the match. Twitter remains the destination for play by play action, or head to Facebook and Instagram for updates by the quarter.


A lengthy list of senior Hawks – including familiar names Kurt Heatherley, Daniel Howe, Harrison Jones, Jackson Ross and Tim O’Brien – have been named in Chris Newman’s squad.

Young gun James Worpel has also been named in the middle; alongside the in-form Kieran Lovell, who racked up a game-high 30 disposals in an impressive individual performance last week.

Tall timber Kaiden Brand and Marc Pittonet are also both set to return to the side; while a new face will step in as 23rd man, with debutant Ryan McGannon set to don the guernsey for the first time.

The comeback king Jonathon Ceglar, Irishman Conor Glass, forward threat Ryan Schoenmakers and hard-working Will Langford, will serve as emergencies for the senior Hawks, ahead of their Sunday clash with West Coast.

The consistent and composed backline presence of Mitch O’Donnell will be missed this week as he comes from the side, along with the hard-nosed Billy Evans. Retaining his spot in the senior team, Box Hill will also be without leading goal kicker Mitch Lewis once more; with the youngster pleasingly covered by a list of ten individual goal kickers last week.

North Melbourne’s squad is headlined by the returning Declan Mountford, set to take to the field for the first time since Round 2 – North’s first match of the season due to a Round 1 bye – after sustaining an ankle injury. The AFL-listed midfielder will add important dash through the middle, and a threatening ability to break lines.

Mountford will be joined by leading ball-winner Nash Holmes and skipper Chris Jansen, who will shoulder the leadership responsibility alone this week, in the absence of co-captain, Michael Close.

North will also be without Sam Durdin, after another strong display, highlighted by a tenacious run-down tackle in the final term to shift the course of the game, earned the defensive stalwart a call-up to the senior side in the absence of Majak Daw.

The consistent defensive pairing of Ben McKay and Tom Murphy will return and look to back up impressive performances against Port Melbourne in Durdin’s absence.

With 14 goals to his name, leading goal kicker Nick Larkey will also return; while Braydon Preuss will take to the ruckwork once more, tallying 39 hit-outs at North Port Oval last week to continue to rank as one of the best rucks in the competition.

Prior to their Sunday afternoon contest with the Dockers, ball magnet Nathan Hrovat, livewire Taylor Garner, game-breaker Luke Davies-Uniacke and talented rookie Cam Zurhaa, will be emergencies for the AFL side after being named on the extended bench earlier in the week.


Chastened by a loss to Casey in Round 6, Box Hill authoritatively bounced back last week, toppling the Northern Blues to sit equal atop the ladder, trailing Richmond and Collingwood on percentage alone.

While the Hawks led for all bar two minutes of the game – early in the first quarter – the Northern Blues were able to find form late, to win the final term and reduce the eventual damage on the scoreboard.


North Melbourne currently sit 11th on the table and just four points out of touch with the eight. A mixed bag of results thus far in season 2018 – until last week – were characterised by an unsuccessful record against top eight sides.

Rebounding from heavy losses at the hands of Richmond and Essendon, the Roos led reigning premiers Port Melbourne from start to finish in their Round 7 clash, before eventually triumphing by 8 points. Pleasingly for North fans, their side successfully weathered numerous fightbacks from the Borough, finding goals at opportune times before setting up their victory with three of the first four goals of the final term.


After a stint on the sidelines which saw the Kiwi remain absent since Box Hill’s Round 1 clash with Williamstown, Kurt Heatherley is set to return to reinforce an already imposing backline.

Heatherley’s performance early this year was typified by his trademark ability to win the one-on-one contest, and aptitude to read the play for the intercept mark. Impressively, this was bolstered by five rebound 50s and a slew of one percenters.

With a notable capacity to step up when it counts – evidenced by his recognition as Box Hill’s player of the final series last year – Heatherley makes himself a difficult defender to line up against for North Melbourne.

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