Twin pillars rock solid

Twin pillars David Mirra and Kaiden Brand continued their standout seasons in defence for Box Hill with rousing performances on Sunday.

The Round 7 contest against an undefeated Richmond side at its home ground loomed as the clubs biggest challenge of the season, and Box Hill was made to work as the Tigers piled on 49-37 inside 50s for the match.

However, the pair were resolute in defence, as Mirra racked up 23 disposals, 11 marks and eight rebound 50s to be the best Hawk on the day, while Brand recorded 16 disposals, 10 marks and four rebound 50s.

Box Hill was under siege from the opening bounce, as a swirling breeze towards the Punt Road end aided Richmond’s flood of 12-4 inside 50s for the opening term.

Nevertheless the key-position defenders played pivotal roles in absorbing the Tiger’s attacking barrage through vital intercept marks and steady rebound.

It proved influential in restricting the home side’s lead to just 14-points at the first break, keeping the Hawks within reach and providing a vital launching pad for their blistering six-goal second term.

So impressive were Mirra and Brand’s performances, that they were rewarded with selection in the Round 7 VFL Team of the Week.

Box Hill Assistant Coach Marco Bello sang their praises after the club’s eight-point loss.

“They were extremely important,” Bello said.

“To be able to take marks off opposition boot down there and use them as a starting board to go forward, was what kept us in the game. It was really pleasing that they were able to contribute, but unfortunately we just didn’t have enough people who could assist in that way.

“Those guys have been very good for us for a few weeks now, so it’s pleasing that they are getting a reward for effort.”

In three matches for Box Hill this season, Mirra has averaged 22 disposals, seven marks and six rebound 50s per game.

While fellow experienced campaigner Brand has averaged 16 disposals, eight marks, and five rebound 50s from his four games.

Together, along with support from Damian Mascitti, Jacob Koschitzke, Changkuoth Jiath, Damon Greaves and Stuart Horner, the Hawks have proven to be one of the competition’s stingiest defences in conceding only 68 points per game.

Box Hill Assistant Coach Torin Baker was equally impressed with the duo’s performances against the VFL league leaders.

“Dave was in our best couple of players on the day,” Baker said.

“Not only was his contest work really strong, but his ball use out of the back half was really good as well. He’s been back at VFL level for a few weeks now and is providing tremendous leadership and building really strong form.”

“KB was also one of our very best players on the day.”

“He found the balance really well between whether to mark or spoil. He put us in good positions further down the field with his effective exits from defensive 50.”

Although both Brand and Mirra have had a limited taste of the action at AFL level this season, playing just four and three games respectively, they have returned to Box Hill with an impressive attitude to provide leadership and stability in an otherwise inexperienced defence.

And with both players in stellar form, Alastair Clarkson and Hawthorn’s match committee will have no hesitation in recalling upon either of these dependable players.

Box Hill will take on Collingwood at 2pm this Saturday at Victoria Park.




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