Tigers Strike Late to Beat Hawks

Box Hill have finalised preparations for the 2018 VFL season with a 23-point loss to Richmond at Punt Road Oval.

The 25-man squad was blend of VFL and AFL-listed Hawks, with Chris Newman and his team handing youngsters James Worpel, Kieren Lovell, Olly Hanrahan, James Cousins and Jono O’Rourke the chance to play prominent midfield roles.

AFL-listed Hawks weren’t the only players afforded the opportunity to impress, however, with big man Michael Knoll shouldering the number one ruck duties in the absence of Marc Pittonet, and Box Hill rookie Ned Reeves given his first taste of senior football since joining out of the TAC Cup.

On the VFL side of things, experienced heads Andrew Moore and Will Hams were joined by Chris Jones, Billy Murphy, Mitch O’Donnell and Nick Evans in pushing to shore up a spot in next weekend’s season opener.

The Hawks kicked with the aid of a slight breeze in the first term and saw the better of the opportunities in a very tight contest.

The Tigers, understandably familiar with how conditions affect their home base, hung tight for most of the quarter and would likely have emerged the happier given the Hawks’ chances.

It was goals from the boots of Worpel and Moore, who each did well to find the mark from set shots, that gave the visitors a slender lead at the first break.


The Hawks started the second term brightly enough, with Worpel and Lovell again in the thick of the action and Mirra looking right at home patrolling half back, though as the quarter wore on the Tigers seized control. Repeat inside fifties paid dividends and three quick goals saw the lead balloon to 20-points nearing time-on.

Whilst chances were at a premium, Lovell, wearing number 36, was a standout during a hard fought first half. Playing predominantly inside the contest his ability to present, win and then cleanly distribute the ball was a highlight.

Mitch O’Donnell, playing in an unfamiliar role across half back, saw plenty of the ball, too, accumulating a team-high 16 touches through to the main break. 

The second half began in perfect fashion for the Hawks, with back-to-back inside fifties resulting in goals.

James Cousins saw his beautifully measured right footer sail over the goal umpire’s head, before Mitch Lewis showed great bodywork and anticipation to mark one-out and convert from no more than twenty out, reducing the margin to just a kick with three minutes played.

Against the run of play and into the breeze the Tigers struck two blows of their own in relatively quick succession to have us back where we started.

After a brief arm-wrestle, during which neither side could crack the other, Moore became his side’s first multiple goal kicker of the afternoon when Maloney decided to square a pass, conceding ground to improve the angle. The skipper’s set shot was always on target.

Cousins joined his captain on two goals with virtually the last kick of the term, reading the ball well off hands and snapping on the turn to draw his side within 9-points.

Given the trend of the game it was unsurprising that Richmond, kicking to the Yarra Park end that had seen the bulk of the scoring, began the third term with the better chances.

But when Lewis was adjudged to have had his arms chopped in a marking contest and converted his second of the day the teams had split two goals in ten minutes and the Tigers lead by 11-points.

Again the sides traded majors, with Lewis’ impressive pack mark matched by a terrific finish into the wind. The developing tall had enjoyed a good day, marking well, kicking three and being an ever-present danger to the Richmond defence.

O’Donnell applied himself brilliantly in a series of contests deep in defence as the Tigers pressed for a sealer, keeping his cool to relieve the danger and launch his team down the field. It was indicative of a broader attitude that never faded.

Sadly it was the hosts who had the final say, their 10th and 11th goals of the afternoon closing the scoring and confirming a 23-point win.

In amongst all the positives there was a sour note, with Chris Jones going down in a contest late in the final term and being assisted from the field by trainers.

Box Hill   2.3   2.4   6.7   8.9 57

Richmond   1.2   5.6   7.10   11.14 80

Goals: Lewis 3, Moore, Cousins 2, Worpel

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