Round Eleven Match Report

Box Hill has rebounded from back-to-back losses and the week off to record a sixth win on the season.

The Brown and Gold’s 63-point win over Frankston leaves them hot on the heels of the fourth-placed Essendon ahead of a season-shaping clash next Sunday.

The Hawks entered the contest with a season high 19 AFL-listed players in their squad of 23, with Kaiden Brand’s late call up for Hawthorn opening the door for Billy Murphy to take his place after having been ruled out earlier in the week.

Chris Newman would have been pleased to see Mitch O’Donnell’s name amongst the ins, with the  solid bodied, hard working midfielder-turned-defender’s absence keenly felt in recent losses to North Melbourne and Werribee.

With rain having lashed Melbourne in the early parts of Sunday morning City Oval was set for windy, wet and sometimes extraordinary conditions.

The visiting Dolphins gave a good account of themselves in the early exchanges and had a pair of opportunities to open the scoring, only to be denied by the desperate, scrambling defence of David Mirra and Kurt Heatherley and see one behind for their hard work.

The Hawks’ would soon settle and set about doing the bulk of the attacking.

O’Brien lead, marked and finished beautifully for his side’s first, whilst Willsmore, Whitecross, Hanrahan and O’Rourke were instrumental in patrolling the perimeter and creating repeat inside 50s.

Cousins and O’Brien kept the scoreboard ticking over, but only with minor scores, as the Hawks’ mids continued to press.

With 14 first quarter minutes played Harrison Jones produced a moment of genuine quality, his hands superb in the wet to gather and his vision better to find Miles. The half-back took a handful of steps to steady and fired home from just inside 50.

With Marc Pittonet controlling the ruck and Andrew Moore peerless in the contest the Hawks surged forward time and time again.

On 18 minutes it was terrific forward pressure that created the loose ball opportunity for James Worpel to goal, with Billy Murphy’s quick tap on plucked off the deck and snapped instinctively towards goal.

Frankston’s first of the afternoon bookended Worpel’s goal and a run of five behinds for the host, before Andrew Moore’s attack on the footy won him the opportunity to go back and kick his first of the day from on 50.

A second Frankston goal after the siren took the gloss of an otherwise solid opening term and brought about a little push and shove as the two sides headed to their huddles.

It seemed to spark the Dolphins, who began the second term in bright fashion. They produced the first of the term after just four minutes, before a pair of opportunities were set up by Box Hill’s bustling captain only to sail just narrowly wide.

Despite the rain becoming heavier Moore’s influence was beginning to grow. On his way to 27 first-half touches, the skipper had seemingly brought his own football.

Frustratingly, the Dolphins were resourceful enough to manufacture something from nothing, snapping their fourth goal of the day out of a rare stoppage inside forward 50.

Having played some good football without any reward, and with Frankston uncomfortably close all of sudden it was important Box Hill found a reply.

A reply is just what came.

Moore, again in the thick of it, gathered cleanly under pressure and flicked a brilliant handpass out to Cousins to check side his first. Mere moments later Mitch Lewis laid a crunching tackle just meters from goal, winning a free kick for holding the ball and duly dobbing his set shot.

A good five minutes got better when Jackson Ross produced a party trick to pull in Willsmore’s long kick with just one hand, a remarkable feat given the conditions. Some ill-discipline in the aftermath advanced Ross to the goal line and allowed the youngster to kick his first with little fuss.

Ross, impressing across half-forward, won a free kick minutes later and was again taken to the goal line to kick his second and the Hawks’ fourth unanswered of the quarter to close the half.

The second half began in tight fashion, with neither side really able to play with the fluency they’d have liked, owing as much to the conditions as the willingness of the contest.

But a flurry of six Box Hill goals in ten minutes all but confirmed the result.

Cousins, acting as a conduit between defence and attack all day, was rewarded for his hard work with a goal, before Nash scrambled one home from close range and Lewis got in on the act with one of the goals of the day, bending a terrific right-foot snap home from hard against the boundary.

Lovell, Murphy and Hanrahan added their names to the growing list of goal kickers, with the latter’s 50-metre set shot his side’s tenth without reply and taking us to the final break with the Hawks 69-points to the good.

Tim O’Brien got the ball rolling early in the last, kicking his second of the day and the Hawks’ final six-pointer of the contest.

Thereafter an arm wrestled ensued for much of what remained, with Frankston given some consolation for their brave efforts with three final quarter goals.

Box Hill would have chances to extend the margin, but finished the term kicking 1.6 to 3.0 and set up a mouth watering clash with the Bombers next Sunday afternoon.

Box Hill 4.8 8.12 14.15 15.21 111
Frankston 2.3 4.5 4.6 7.6 48

Goals: Ross 2, Lewis 2, Cousins 2, O’Brien 2, Miles, Worpel, Moore, Nash, Lovell, Murphy, Hanrahan

Disposals: A. Moore 38, Cousins 35, Lovell 31, O’Donnell 30, Miles 27, Willsmore 26

Best: A. Moore, Miles, Cousins, Mirra, Ross, Lovell

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