Round Fourteen Match Preview

WHERE: Etihad Stadium
WHEN: Saturday, 3:20 PM
COVERAGE:  3WBC radio – 94.1FM

LAST FIVE MEETINGS

Round 1, 2017: Footscray 14.9 (93) defeated by Box Hill 15.9 (95) at Whitten Oval
Round 17, 2016:
Footscray 10.13 (73) defeated Box Hill 10.8 (68) at Whitten Oval
Qualifying Final, 2015: Box Hill 18.12 (120) defeated Footscray 12.8 (80) at Box Hill City Oval
Round 1, 2015: Footscray 7.15 (57) defeated by Box Hill 11.4 (70) at Whitten Oval
Grand Final, 2014: Footscray 16.13 (109) defeated Box Hill 13.9 (87) at Etihad Stadium

SETTING THE SCENE

Box Hill will set the stage for the evening’s AFL clash, taking on Footscray in a must-win curtain-raiser at Etihad Stadium.

The Dogs and the Hawks boast a history of close encounters, with just two points separating the two sides at the conclusion of their most recent outing. The 2017 season-opener marked a year in which both teams would go on to play finals football, but without the desired impact.

After seven rounds of season present, Box Hill sat in third spot on the table while the up-and-down Bulldogs stood ninth. A reversal in form has seen the Dogs rise and the Hawks slide, now sitting at sixth and seventh, respectively. With top four aspirations on the line, securing the four points remains vital for both sides if they are to make a dent when September rolls around once more.

HOW TO FOLLOW?

For radio coverage, tune in to 3WBC; while reporting throughout the match will once again be provided across our official social channels. Twitter remains the destination for play by play action, or check in at Facebook and Instagram for updates by the quarter.

TEAM NEWS

Box Hill’s backline will this week be without the level-head and polished disposal of Teia Miles, with the consistent performer duly rewarded for his form with senior call-up.

Conversely, the VFL side will likely welcome the return of Tim O’Brien following his stint at AFL level; while hard-running midfielder, Jono O’Rourke, is also in the mix to feature – the duo named as emergencies for the AFL Hawks alongside Kaiden Brand and Brendan Whitecross.

Six senior VFL-listed Hawks have been handed a place in Chris Newman’s 27-man squad, with each acknowledged for impressive form at local level.

Billy Murphy’s name is amongst the magnets following an impressive best afield display on debut for Greensborough; whilst Brayden Kilpatrick is again in the frame, following a month of consistent performances at South Croydon.

In this week’s good news story, Chris Jones features amongst the potential ins, with the key position tall in the match day squad for the first time this season, following a serious knee injury sustained in the Hawks’ final pre-season hit-out.

Liam Mackie, Leigh Osborne and Anthony Brolic are also on the cusp of selection; while Nathan Boucher will this week return to the highly sought-after position of 23rd man.

Ten AFL-listed Bulldogs will run out for Footscray, including athletic big-man Tim English, who is set to make his return to football after a six-week stint on the sidelines following a foot injury.

English will bolster an already potent forward line, comprising drifting ruckman Jordan Roughead and versatile tall, Fletcher Roberts, the latter booting three majors last week.

The duo will be joined by skipper, Angus Monfries, bringing with him over 200 games of AFL experience accumulated at Essendon and Port Adelaide.

Will Hayes, Mitch Honeychurch and Callum Porter make up an in-form and dynamic midfield unit; while Kieran Collins will head up defence off the back of a solid last start performance .

HOW HAVE WE BEEN DOING?

Box Hill were unable to tame the Tigers last week, falling by 47 points in a heated contest away from home. The Hawks came out firing to match the intensity of the league-leaders and take a slender three-point lead into the major break. However, it was to be a tale of two halves, as the Tigers found another gear to prove exactly why they sit atop the table.

The loss saw the Hawks continue to slide down the ladder, currently sitting in seventh position and clinging to their finals chance on percentage alone. A challenging run home looms, with Box Hill to face a spate of contenders, placing increasing importance on this week’s clash in terms of shaping their finals campaign.

HOW HAVE THEY BEEN DOING?

Footscray come into this week’s hit-out in impressive form, their seven-and-four record bolstered by four consecutive wins – the latest a 7-point defeat of the Northern Blues. Trailing 10 minutes into the fourth quarter, Angus Monfries produced the goal that put the Bulldogs in front, before another pair of final-term majors saw off a persistent Blues outfit.

ONE TO WATCH

With an abundance of young talent at Box Hill, the 23rd man has become a coveted position, with plenty of youngsters putting their hand up for selection. This week sees the return of Nathan Boucher; off the back of being named amongst the best for the Metro side in the final Young Guns contest, capping a hat-trick of recognised individual performances across the series.

Boucher will come in for his third hit-out with Box Hill this year, following a baptism of fire on debut against Casey, and solid follow up against the Northern Blues. The TAC Cup graduate will look to build on his current form, bringing work rate, goal sense and excitement to the big stage on Saturday afternoon.

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