Round Seven Match Preview


WHERE: Box Hill City Oval
WHEN: Saturday, 2:00PM
COVERAGE: 3WBC radio – 94.1FM


Round 19, 2017: Box Hill 19.13 (127) defeated Northern Blues 7.8 (50) at Box Hill City Oval
Round 11, 2017: Northern Blues 6.19 (55) defeated by Box Hill 11.11 (77) at Preston City Oval
Round 10, 2016: Box Hill 10.7 (67) defeated by Northern Blues 15.13 (103) at Box Hill City Oval
Round 19, 2015: Northern Blues 11.9 (75) defeated by Box Hill 26.9 (165) at Preston City Oval
Round 7, 2015: Box Hill 15.6 (96) defeated Northern Blues 10.8 (68) at Box Hill City Oval


The Box Hill Hawks will look to restore previous form and bounce back from their first loss of the 2018 season, returning home to host the Northern Blues at Box Hill City Oval on Saturday afternoon.

Box Hill were handed their first defeat by the Demons last weekend at Casey Fields, in a match where stifled ball movement saw the Hawks struggle to find their rhythm for much of the day. As a result, Box Hill relinquished top spot on the VFL ladder and slipped to third, becoming one of five clubs sitting on four-and-one.

The Northern Blues continue to try to find balance, having rotated 40 players through their roster – a figure which sees them lead league in this department. Of those 40, 19 have played their first senior games for the club this year; while 25 are aged either 21 or under, in another competition high.

On the opposing end of the scale, the weekend will mark a milestone for club stalwart Tom Wilson who will play his 100th game for the Blues, with the achievement no doubt spurring a young side to deliver.

With Hawthorn’s AFL side away, Box Hill City Oval will be the destination for fans to get their football fix, as the match marks the first home double header of the year. The Hawks Women will also face the Blues, taking to home turf for the first time this year and bringing with them an undefeated record off the back of two impressive wins, in their historic first season under the Hawthorn name.


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 you can check in at Facebook and Instagram for updates by the quarter.


The Box Hill squad comprises a strong AFL-listed contingent, headlined by big names Paul Puopolo, Daniel Howe, Tim O’Brien, Will Langford and Brendon Whitecross; joined by returning first-year player James Worpel.

Vincent Adduci, Nelson Lane and Billy Murphy have been recalled into Chris Newman’s squad, providing pace around the ball and an important goal sense in the forward fifty.

On either end of the experience spectrum, skipper Andrew Moore will look to continue his impressive run of form; while young gun Nathan Boucher will return to reprise his role as 23rd man, after debuting last week.

For the first time this year, Box Hill will be without leading goal kicker Mitch Lewis. Lewis’ consistent efforts in front of goal (comprising 14 goals from 5 outings), have seen him duly rewarded with promotion to the Hawthorn side, to debut against Brisbane on Sunday.

For the Northern Blues, skipper and two-time club best and fairest winner, Tom Wilson, will line up for his 100th game. In his eighth year at the club, Wilson has been celebrated for his grit and consistency, and in a case of perfect symmetry, will see his milestone mirror both the opponent and location of his 50th match.

Carlton young guns Tom Williamson and David Cuningham will return to the Northern Blues line-up, after being sidelined by back and hamstring injuries, respectively. For running defender Williamson, the clash will be his first hit-out of season 2018; while Cuningham returns to the frame after missing consecutive matches since sustaining his injury early in the Blue’s Round 4 battle with Port Melbourne.

Conversely, the Blues will be without promising youngster Tom De Koning and AFL-experienced Matthew Kennedy, who both come from the side due to injury.

Nick Graham, Jed Lamb, Aaron Mullett, Matthew Shaw and Matthew Wright have been included in the VFL side, and are joined by Patrick Kerr, Jack Silvagni and Jacob Weitering on Carlton’s eight-man interchange, ahead of their Sunday afternoon contest against Melbourne.


The first blemish of the year was marked on Box Hill’s record last week, as the previously undefeated side fell to a deserving Casey Demons outfit.

Casey’s pressure displaced a usually composed and precise Box Hill unit, as the Hawks lost the contested possession count by 22 and the tackle count by 31; areas that will need to be improved in order for the Hawks to return to the form that saw them sit atop the table.


The Blues have had a tough start to their season with a mixed bag of margins and just one win from five starts. Their single victory came in their Round 5 match up against Frankston, in which a fourth quarter surge saw them turn a 3-point deficit at the dawn of the term, into a 39-point victory.

Much like Box Hill last week, the Blues have struggled when it comes to contested possession. The lowest ranked team in the league in this field, the Blues lost the count and eventually the day against Williamstown last week, as the Seagulls accounted for the Blues by a comfortable 43 points.


Boasting over 150 games of AFL experience and with a goal tally figuring in the same realm, if Paul Puopolo is to return from injury via the VFL on Saturday he is sure to prove difficult for a young Blues side to handle.

After an interrupted 2017 campaign saw Puopolo restricted to just 15 games, a more cautious approach may be taken to his return from a hamstring strain sustained in Hawthorn’s Round 5 victory over Melbourne.

There will be no complaints from Box Hill, who will happily have the small forward aboard, who brings a consistently dangerous presence around the goal front, impressive aerial abilities and trademark forward fifty pressure.

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