WHERE: Box Hill City Oval
WHEN: Saturday, 2:00PM
COVERAGE: 3WBC radio – 94.1FM
SETTING THE SCENE
Box Hill will return home to take on a 13th placed Werribee outfit, with both teams eager to atone for disappointing last-start losses and return to the winner’s list.
The now standalone Tigers will be keen to string together a four-quarter effort and make a statement to reverse their losing form; while a win for Box Hill could see them sneak into the top two and hit next week’s bye in just the right fashion.
Both sides were jumped early in the contest last week, with results all but sealed by daunting half-time margins. The start to this week’s clash will remain a key, as will the contested possession count, with both sides losing that battle in their previous hit-out.
The week marks the AFL’s Sir Doug Nicholls Round, celebrating the contribution of Australia’s indigenous people to our national game; and will also see the club’s second home double-header of season 2018. Fresh off a Round 4 bye, the VFLW outfit will kick off proceedings at 11.30am, looking to keep their unbeaten start to the year rolling.
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.
With AFL-experience in their back pocket, former skipper David Mirra will return to fortify the backline; while youngster Mitch Lewis also returns, in hopefully the consistent goal kicking form which saw him boot 14 majors before senior call-up a fortnight ago.
James Cousins could also come back into the frame, after a stint on the sidelines following concussion sustained in Hawthorn’s Round 9 clash with Brisbane.
Potency around goal will be improved by Vincent Adduci and Brayden Kilpatrick; while Nelson Lane also continues to put his hand up for selection, after hard work and persistence have seen him overcome pre-season surgery.
After a tough match on debut, Ryan McGannon will be back to reprise his role as 23rd man.
Standout performances in last week’s hit-out against North Melbourne, see Tim O’Brien and Daniel Howe recalled for senior selection; while Box Hill talent Mitch O’Donnell unfortunately remains from the side with a shoulder complaint.
Werribee make just one change to their extended squad this week, as hard-nosed midfielder Dominic Brew returns to the frame following suspension; joined by Nick Buykx and Charlie Bance as possible inclusions to the final team.
The relatively stable side comes as welcome change for Werribee, whose on-ball division has taken a hit in recent weeks, losing ruckman Nick Nott for the season after rupturing his anterior cruciate ligament against Collingwood in Round Five; and star midfielder Matt Hanson, sidelined indefinitely after fracturing his metatarsal against Footscray in Round Seven.
However, their absence has seen others step up to the plate, including impressive midfielder Joe Maishman, who notched his second best afield performance in a row last week, off the back of team high numbers in clearances, inside 50s and tackles, as well as slotting two goals for the day.
He’ll be joined in the middle by Tom Gribble, Ben Maloney and Jake Sharp; while forwards Matt Munro and Kye Declase will look to back up four and three goal hauls in rounds eight and seven, respectively.
An in-form Kurt Aylett will line-up across half back, alongside last week’s leading disposal winner Dane McFarlane, and ex-Hawk Sam Collins, who continues to stand up and accumulate contested marks on the last line of defence.
HOW HAVE WE BEEN DOING?
Suffering defeat at the hands of North Melbourne, the Hawks have slipped to 5th place on the table, as their second loss in the last three starts takes them to five-and-two.
The damage was done early last week, with Box Hill stunned by a contested possession dominance which set up a six-goal start for the Roos, before the Hawks had managed to trouble the scorers. Although eventually winning the second half to go down by a lesser six goals, a match winning 60-point margin had been opened up at halftime, which proved to be too tall of an order.
HOW HAVE THEY BEEN DOING?
Werribee currently sit in 13th position, with just a single win recorded thus far in season 2018. However, what their record doesn’t reflect, is their ability to stick close with teams at the other end of the table.
A tale similar to that of Box Hill unfolded for Werribee last week, as the Tigers found it difficult to seriously threaten the game’s outcome after their opponents opened up a 49-point advantage at the major break. The eventual 51-point defeat was the club’s fourth straight loss, not tasting victory since their early season win over Williamstown.
ONES TO WATCH
After a stint at AFL-level, Mitch Lewis is set return to Box Hill City Oval, following a consistent start to the VFL season which saw him kick at least three goals in all bar one of the opening six rounds of the year. Lewis will look to add to his 14-goal tally, which sees him currently sit atop the Box Hill goal kicking and just five goals shy of the overall league leader.
In a game last week which at times felt disconnected between the two halves, Lewis’ ability to present at the ball will be vital to make amends for the Hawk’s previously poor start. Particularly in the absence of the consistently dangerous Ryan Schoenmakers, and last week’s ‘Stang of the Day and multiple goal-kicker, Daniel Howe, Lewis’ threatening forward 50 presence will be a key in applying scoreboard pressure early.