WHERE: Piranha Park
WHEN: Saturday, 2:00PM
COVERAGE: 3WBC radio – 94.1FM
LAST FIVE MEETINGS
Round 2, 2017: Box Hill 20.8 (128) defeated Coburg 9.8 (62) at Box Hill City Oval
Round 3, 2016: Coburg 11.12 (78) defeated by Box Hill 13.8 (86) at Piranha Park
Round 14, 2015: Coburg 8.13 (61) defeated by Box Hill 26.5 (161) at Piranha Park
Round 2, 2015: Box Hill 14.7 (91) defeated Coburg 10.11 (71) at Box Hill City Oval
Round 16, 2014: Box Hill 16.19 (115) defeated Coburg 14.9 (93) at Box Hill City Oval
SETTING THE SCENE
The Box Hill Hawks will look to turn their two-and-zero start into a hat trick of victories, as they travel to Coburg to take on the Lions on Saturday afternoon. With next weekend’s bye approaching, the Hawks will be eager to put their third success away from home in the books, before returning to Box Hill City Oval following the week off.
The contest will mark the annual ANZAC Cup battle between the two sides, with the player adjudged best afield to be awarded the Gibbs-Lines medal in a post-match ceremony.
Box Hill will be eager to retain the trophy, which they successfully acquired in last year’s contest off the back of an eleven-goal opening quarter onslaught, from which Coburg were never able to recover. While Box Hill would no doubt love to see history repeat itself, this attacking masterclass will likely be etched in the memory of Coburg, who will seek to nullify the contest on home turf.
HOW TO FOLLOW?
Radio coverage on 3WBC will continue, whilst our official social channels remain the destination for coverage throughout the match. For play by play action, head to Twitter; and check in at Facebook and Instagram for quarter-by-quarter updates.
Box Hill skipper Andrew Moore will serve his final week on suspension this Saturday, to return after the bye; while vice-captain Max Warren and forward Chris Jones remain sideline bound by extended injury stints.
Dylan Moore has unfortunately also been added to the injury list, suffering a blow to the shoulder late in last week’s clash against Frankston.
With injury woes also striking Hawthorn, a number of names are in the mix for the AFL side’s Sunday afternoon contest – including members of last week’s Box Hill line-up Ryan Burton, James Cousins, Kaiden Brand, Will Langford, Mitch Lewis and James Worpel, alongside Connor Glass and Daniel Howe – who have all been named in Chris Newman’s extended Box Hill squad.
On paper, Harrison Jones and the experienced Brendan Whitecross could also feature for Box Hill, as well as tall utility Ryan Schoenmakers.
Will Hams will take the reigns as captain for the week, patrolling the backline alongside consistent performers Nick Evans and Teia Miles.
Potential debuts could be on the cards for VFL listed Liam Jeffs, Stuart Horner and Lachlan Walker, who have been rewarded for their positive form in the local leagues and named in the extended squad; while consistent performances in the opening rounds will see Tom Maloney in the 23rd man position for the third week running.
Hawthorn rookie Changkuoth Jiath is also in the frame to make his debut in brown and gold, with the exciting project player a chance to make things happen up forward.
Both sides will be taking the field without their appointed skipper, with Tom Goodwin the only confirmed out for Coburg. The Lions lost their captain and lead ruckman five minutes into their round two clash with Footscray, suffering a concussion after a heavy fall.
Aiden Tilley will be faced with the challenge of filling this void, named in the ruck after standing in valiantly for the remainder of the match last week.
Defenders Ryan Exon and Sean Gregory, named the best players for Coburg in round one and two respectively, will return alongside an experienced midfield unit comprising reigning best and fairest Liam Hunt, Hisham Kerbatieh and Nick Mellington.
Hard-hitting midfielder Jay O’Donoghue could be a welcome addition to this group, headlining a handful of potential debutants for the Lions, with Lachie Mitchell, Josh Weightman, Harry Nolan and Mitch Podhajski all named on an extended bench, and with their first game within reach.
HOW HAVE WE BEEN DOING?
Box Hill remain one of five undefeated sides of season 2018, with solid form in the opening rounds seeing both Williamstown and Frankston accounted for relatively comfortably.
While contributions have been spread across the ground, it is perhaps the defence of the Hawks which has been most impressive, with a rotating group keeping both opposition sides to just nine goals apiece.
HOW HAVE THEY BEEN DOING?
A young Coburg list have been tested early, coming up against strong AFL affiliated clubs in Casey and Footscray in their opening hit-outs of 2018.
Despite promising starts, the Lions have found themselves on the wrong end of significant margins, and will be looking to rectify this with four strong quarters of football come Saturday afternoon.
ONES TO WATCH
With a bevy of midfield talent on hand, the adaptability of Mitch O’Donnell was tested come preseason. ‘Bull’ made the transition from able-bodied midfielder to level-headed backman – and if consistency and composure are any measure, an onlooker would never have guessed the backline to be unfamiliar territory.
Playing an important shut down role on dangerous Williamstown forward Ben Cavarra in round one, and holding strong in a defensive unit which were tested against the elements last week, O’Donnell has remained a key component of a rotating back six, winning crucial contests time and time again.
With the potential to make his debut this week, Hawthorn rookie Changkuoth Jiath is most certainly one who will ensure he’s noticed. Of Sudanese heritage but born in an Ethiopian refugee camp, the project player brings with him plenty of potential, raw ability and an ‘x-factor’ which should have Box Hill, and Hawthorn fans alike, very excited.