Round One Match Report

The Box Hill Hawks have started 2018 in style, overrunning a competitive Williamstown in sunny and blustery conditions at the Seagulls’ home ground.

Seventeen AFL-listed Hawks donned the Brown and Gold of Box Hill, including former skipper David Mirra who arrived from the MCG just five minutes before the centre bounce.

The hosts won the toss and elected to kick with the aid of a strong breeze to the grandstand end and made home comforts count for plenty early on. Their first goal of the afternoon arrived with barely a minute played and their second followed from the ensuing centre bounce. 

Heavy scoring to the grandstand end of Williamstown Football Oval is a feature of the venue and a failure to adjust has brought many visiting sides undone over the years.

Once the Hawks won some territory it was down to their zone to ensure the Seagulls couldn’t get the ball out. 

Kurt Heatherley and Dallas Willsmore pulled in important intercept marks on the wing, before Glass, Hams and Hanrahan combined beautifully to transition the ball inside attacking fifty.

Repeat entries eventually paid off, with Mitch Lewis marking well and converting his first of the day.

It had been a strong opening 10-12 minutes, but when Heatherley arrived to a contest a fraction late Cavarra was advanced to within scoring range and put through the Seagulls’ third.

Cavarra was again in the thick of it a short time later, when his rushed snap fell short and was marked in the goal square to give the hosts a 19-point break nearing time on.

A fifth Seagulls goal late on gave them a 23-point lead at the first change.

The Hawks weren’t doing a whole lot wrong, but as said above, the sides wouldn’t know what par was until both had kicked with the wind.

Box Hill began the second term brightly and with that breeze at their backs looked to put Williamstown under early pressure.

The hardworking Will Hams was a central figure, amassing twelve touches for the quarter and, with the assistance of Mirra, propelled the Hawks forward time and time again.

As Marc Pittonet began to take control at the coalface, Cousins, Worpel and Lovell became prominent and on the back of some sustained pressure the opportunities mounted.

O’Rourke calmly converted one of his seventeen first-half possessions on the run for the visitor’s second, before Conor Nash showed some trademark dash down the wing to hit up Cousins who kicked his first of the day from a well executed snap.

By the time Mitch Lewis added his second six-pointer from a similar angle and range to Cousins the margin was a manageable five points.

Back-to-back goals to the Seagulls, including another from a from a fifty metre penalty, threatened to undo all of the Hawks’ hard work.

An important moment arrived right in the shadows of half-time when Teia Miles, impressing across half-back, gathered cleanly and burst through fifty. With his kick pressured he was able to find Worpel and the young man added his name to the list of first half goal-kickers and reduced the deficit to just ten points.

Once play resumed Williamstown managed back-to-back goals to take a 22-point lead after just six minutes.

They would be their final goals of the contest.

Cousins did well to be on the end of a sweeping end-to-end transition and kick his second and the Hawks used this momentum and the confidence it brought to dig in against the breeze and play arguably the best football of the match.

Not content to stay in range of their hosts, the Hawks began to turn the screws.

Whitecross expertly chopped off a Williamstown rebound fifty and when Lovell hit up Lewis just twenty from goal, the big man unselfishly handballed over the top to Brolic so to make a certainty of it.

Brolic added a second from similar range only two minutes later and Box Hill were back within a kick.

Suddenly everything was clicking. Cousins and O’Rourke were winning it in tight, Glass was cleaning up at half-back and Maloney and Murphy were creating panic at the feet of Williamstown’s tall defenders.

The Hawks finished the term in the best possible fashion, landing a brutal and ultimately crucial left, right, left combination that knocked the wind right out of the Seagulls.

Goals from Lewis and Cousins – their third majors of the contest – were big, but when Miles kicked his first of the day after the three quarter time siren Box Hill had surged spectacularly into a 17-point lead.

Chris Newman’s men were content to control the final term with excellent pressure back of centre and the two sides traded behinds as Box Hill looked to put the contest to bed.

Lovell showed excellent poise to twice tee up teammates in better positions deep inside attacking fifty, with Worpel kicking his second and Murphy his first from the midfielder’s centred kicks.

The Hawks were full of run as the final siren approached, and when Dylan Moore marked and goalled they’d kicked nine without reply and well and truly iced the contest.

Box Hill    1.4    5.9    11.16    14.21 105
5.3    7.7    9.11    9.14 68

Goals: Lewis, Cousins 3, Brolic, Worpel 2, O’Rourke, Miles, Murphy, Moore

Disposals: Cousins 29, O’Rourke 29, Hams 29, Whitecross 24, D Moore 24, Willsmore 23, Maloney 23

Best: Cousins, Lewis, Hams, Pittonet, Nash, D. Moore

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