Round Five Match Report

Box Hill have retained top spot on the ladder, their perfect start to 2018 and the Blue Ribbon Cup thanks to a 64-point win over Sandringham on Saturday.

In a contest that at times felt tighter on the field than it was on the scoreboard the Hawks won every quarter, pulling away gradually to record their fourth win from as many starts.

It was a victory built on a near complete team performance and a number of truly wonderful contributions.

Mitch O’Donnell was adjudged best afield for his 29-disposal game across half-back, whilst midfielders Andrew Moore (34 disposals and 10 clearances), Jono O’Rourke (30 disposals, 6 clearances) and Billy Evans (27 disposals) controlled the stoppages to deny Sandringham first use.

In a heavily contested opening stanza it was O’Rourke who got the scoring started with a smart finish from forty-five. An answering goal from the Zebras tied things up, but goals to Mitch Lewis, who marked strongly on a searching lead and kicked truly from just inside the arc, and Andrew Moore, who was unselfishly teed up by Billy Murphy, gave the hosts the first break of the day.

With time on approaching it was Hawks’ ability to win the ball at the coalface – helped enormously by the presence of the dominant big man on the ground, Marc Pittonet – and spread via hand from the stoppage that created the better scoring opportunities.

Murphy was proving a lively outlet across half forward and when his centering ball found the top of the goal square it was met by the returning Jonathon Ceglar, who marked well and converted on his return to senior football some 625-days since last lacing a boot.

Pittonet continued to control the stoppages, and as a result the attacks continued from the boys in Brown and Gold.

A Zebras goal was perhaps a little against the run of play, but soon after their search for another gave the Box Hill back six some work to do.

The hosts’ defence would hold firm to deny a string of repeat fifties, with Kaiden Brand performing particularly well during this period.

A goal, the Hawks’ fifth, would follow shortly after, when Conor Glass broke the lines and dashed through half back and the centre of the ground. A long kick split the Zebras defence, allowing countryman Conor Nash to fly, mark and run into an open goal.

This action closed the scoring for the first term, confirming a 20-point quarter time lead, and when the contest resumed in the second it looked like we might be in for more of the same.

O’Donnell and Nick Evans combined brilliantly to get the ball to the retreating Schoenmakers, though the big man would ultimately see his third shot of the afternoon sail narrowly wide.

The Zebras again found a timely and opportunistic goal, this time from Lonie, before Ceglar’s poise in possession and decision to tee the ball up to an offensive outnumber in the Hawks’ goal square allowed Murphy to pounce and kick his first.

Billy Evans got in on the act minutes later, with a near identical situation producing a carbon copy of his namesake’s goal.

The period that followed was as tight and contested as the match got, with neither side afforded any time or space to meaningfully test each other’s defence.

Eventually some chances did come, with Brand showing excellent desperation to deny a Sandy snap on the goal line, before Sinclar kept the Zebras in touching distance with a long-range effort.

From the resulting centre bounce it was the tap work of Pittonet that set-up the Hawks’ for the answering goal. Finding Hams, the Box Hill number ten set off, finding the leading Ceglar at centre half-forward. After a quick one-two and an underground kick, Schoenmakers gathered, swivelled and snapped through his first.

Goals were at a premium at the start of the second half, with Tom Maloney the first to find the big sticks some fifteen minutes in. When O’Rourke kicked his second the game had been blown open.

Ceglar again flew at the top of the square and converted his second, before Murphy joined the big man and O’Rourke on two majors when he gathered in the pocket and burned off an opponent into the open goal.

When Mitch Lewis laid a jarring tackle Liam Mackie gathered the loose ball and kicked a beauty of his own to well and truly have the Hawks in the box seat. A Jack Lonie goal after the siren was the Zebras only six-pointer and reduced the margin to 51-points with half-an-hour to play.

The final term played out without incident, though it was the Hawks who ran the match out the strongest; with Brayden Kilpatrick finishing off the game better than anyone to kick three final quarter goals.

the defensive outfit continued to impress, with Brand, Mirra, Nick Evans, Hams and O’Donnell combining well to finish the game in a positive manner.

Additional majors to Nash and Maloney, their second goals of the day, helped confirm a 64-point triumph and consolidated top spot on the VFL ladder.

Box Hill 5.4 8.6 13.8 18.11 119
Sandringham 2.2 4.4 5.5 8.7 55

Goals: Kilpatrick 3, O’Rourke, Ceglar, Nash Murphy, Maloney 2, Mackie, Lewis, Moore, B Evans, Schoenmakers

Disposals: Moore 34, O’Rourke 30, O’Donnell 29, B. Evans 27, Kilpatrick 27, Brand 27

Best: O’Donnell, Moore, Pittonet, B Evans, O’Rourke, Schoenmakers

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