VFL: Round 19 Preview

WHERE: Box Hill City Oval, Box Hill
WHEN: Sunday, 2:00pm
HOW TO FOLLOW: We’ll be live tweeting the match via @boxhillhawks and posting quarterly updates on Facebook and Instagram.

Additionally, 3WBC 94.1FM will be providing radio commentary.

LAST FIVE MEETINGS

Round 11, 2017: Northern Blues 6.19 (55) defeated by Box Hill Hawks 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 Hawks 26.9  (165) at Preston City Oval

Round 7, 2015: Box Hill Hawks 15.6  (96) defeated Northern Blues 10.6  (68) at Box Hill City Oval

Round 20, 2014: Box Hill Hawks 26.15  (171) defeated Northern Blues 6.6  (42) at Box Hill City Oval

FORM

Round 14:
Box Hill defeated Werribee (H) by 45
Northern Blues lost to North Ballarat (A) by 26


Round 15:
Box Hill defeated Sandringham (A) by 47
Northern Blues defeated Geelong (H) by 5

Round 16:
Box Hill defeated Geelong (H) by 52
Northern Blues lost to Footscray (H) by 13

Round 17:
Box Hill lost to Essendon (A) by 6
Northern Blues lost to Casey (A) by 37

Round 18:
Box Hill lost to Port Melbourne (H) by 28
Northern Blues defeated Werribee (H) by 29

SUMMARY

A home and away season that started for the Hawks back on Good Friday culminates this Sunday at Box Hill City Oval, with the equation for what comes next simple enough.

Win and a top two finish and home final is a certainty; and the minor premiership a possibility.

Lose and, well, the outcome could be less than ideal.

Defeat for Box Hill and victory for Port Melbourne will see the sides swap places and take the Hawks to North Port for a qualifying final.

I know which scenario(s) I prefer.

At the other end of the eight the stakes are just as high and the possibilities as varied.

The ninth placed Blues find themselves duking it out with the eighth placed Collingwood and tenth placed Werribee for the final spot in the eight. All three teams sit on eight wins and come 5pm Saturday just one will occupy eighth spot.

A narrow loss could still see the Blues qualify, with Werribee and Northern separated by four percentage points.

Collingwood host Port early Saturday and Werribee visit Casey that evening, so both the Hawks and Blues will know what they have to do to get the best or most desired outcome by the first bounce.

The Hawks have enjoyed a good recent history against the Blues, winning four of the last five – including the two side’s only other meeting this season. Two of those wins were by fifteen-plus goals, which we’d certainly take again on Sunday!

The Blues have had their ups and downs over the past month, becoming the only side to fall to North Ballarat, putting in an excellent albeit losing effort against Footscray, holding off a fast-finishing Geelong and, last weekend, keeping their season alive against Werribee.

Their best will be good enough to topple the Hawks, that much we know. With so much on the line for both clubs it shapes as the perfect preparations for finals football.

TALKING POINTS

1. FORM IS TEMPORARY

The past fortnight has been a testing one at Box Hill City Oval.

The Hawks’ two consecutive losses already represent the Club’s worst run of the season, and whilst three on the trot wouldn’t necessarily spell disaster – depending of course what it does to the ladder – it’s certainly far from ideal with at least two enormous games on the horizon.

Encouragingly, you needn’t look too far in the rearview mirror to see Chris Newman’s Hawks in top gear.

Convincing wins against Werribee, Sandringham and Geelong preceded round seventeen’s narrow defeat at Windy Hill, with some of the most extraordinary conditions we’ve seen all year – a genuine eight goal breeze – making that one a tough performance to gauge.

The brown and gold endured a day of frustration last Sunday, failing to convert large spells of good possession and territory into scoreboard pressure against a well organised and (unfortunately) clinical Port Melbourne.

Ultimately it wasn’t all doom and gloom, with the Hawks playing some good football on the day. They were simply left to rue some costly ill-discipline and a few wasted half chances.

Sunday presents a chance to end the home and away season on a good note and move into the business end of the season in a positive frame of mind. At home, check. Expectant crowd, check. Fired up opponent, check. Genuine stakes, check.

The perfect stage on which to return to winning ways ahead of a finals campaign.

2. HIT THE SCOREBOARD

Of goals, I once heard someone say, ‘it doesn’t matter who gets ‘em, so long as they get ‘em.’

They’re right. Ten goals kicked by one individual isn’t worth more or less than ten kicked by ten individuals.

The former tells the story of a single man in spectacular form. The latter paints the picture of a side humming.

Take away the seven-goal first term against Essendon and the Hawks have managed thirteen majors in it’s last seven quarters.

Sure, conditions played their part against Essendon and the Borough are always a tough nut to crack, but Box Hill will want to generate a little more forward fifty output.

With Ty Vickery, his leading goal kicker, sidelined and his attacking half coughing and spluttering these past few weeks, Chris Newman will be hoping to see a return to the “equal opportunity offence,” of early August in which speed, agility and an enormous work-rate produced some scintillating football.

The pleasing thing is similarly difficult times in the points for column have been overcome already this season, so the solutions have been found.

Perhaps necessity truly is the mother of invention.

3. HAMS RETURNS!

After navigating last weekend’s Development League win over Port Melbourne Will Hams, fresh off extended game time and twenty-nine touches, has won selection in this weekend’s senior squad.

Whilst the team still has to be confirmed, if Box Hill’s #10 takes to the field come 1:55 on Sunday afternoon it’ll mark his first senior appearance in 85 days.

Having not featured amongst Chris Newman’s game day magnets since the Round 7 draw at North Port, the classy, tough and damaging Hams is the perfect September recruit.

Here’s to a successful return, Hamsy.

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