VFLW match report: Hawks down Saints in heated battle

The Box Hill Hawks have continued their undefeated start to the VFLW season with an 8.6 (54) to 4.1 (25) victory over the Southern Saints at RSEA Park.

Battling cold and windy conditions on Sunday, the Hawks responded to a quick Saints start and never looked back. 

Led by Sarah Perkins and Sophie Locke on the scoresheet, Box Hill booted through a season-high eight majors while holding the in-form Saints to just four. 

Star forward Maddie Boyd played higher up the ground and dominated with 17 disposals, nine marks and 20 hit-outs while Grace McRae led all-comers in possessions with 18 of her own to go with a goal, five marks, five clearances and eight tackles.

Matilda Van Berkel shone on debut with 16 disposals off half-back, showing composure and smarts under pressure. 

Overall, the Hawks played arguably their best game of the season to run out 29-point winners over the team that featured in last year’s VFLW Grand Final.

Check out how the game unfolded below. 


Kicking against the wind, the Hawks stood up to the challenge. Despite an early Southern Saints goal, Box Hill lifted its energy through the efforts of Mietta Kendall. Kendall’s gut-running and perfect use of the ball led to an Emily Everist snap and goal, a good sign for the AFLW defender. After that, the Saints responded again before Kendall got rewarded for their effort on the scoreboard. Taking advantage from a free kick, the forward was again in the right spot at the right time, as the Hawks went into the quarter-time break on level terms. 


Box Hill made use of the scoring end in the second term while its defence also held strong, keeping the Saints scoreless. Perkins set RSEA Park alight when she launched a huge kick from the centre square which sailed straight through the middle. In the midfield, McRae began to take over with her clever ball use and speed from the middle. She was rewarded for her hard work with a 50-metre penalty followed by Box Hill’s fourth goal. The forwards also got plenty of the footy, with Boyd and Tamara Smith both gathering eight possessions to half-time. At the main break, it was Box Hill up by 15 points. 


Box Hill’s tackling pressure increased in the third quarter with co-vice-captain Jordan Mifsud leading the way. There was also good energy from debutant Van Berkel in the backline as well as returning Hawk Monique Trusler inside 50. The Hawks’ solid quarter was rewarded halfway through as Locke added to the tackle count with a great effort to dispossess her opponent. With a 50-metre penalty to follow, the Hawthorn AFLW forward made no mistake, converting Box Hill’s fifth major of the day. The Saints, however, were right on Box Hill’s toes, responding with two quick majors after Locke’s goal. Suddenly, the margin was back to just 10 points. It was again Locke who responded, booting through her second major of the day. In the lead-up, it was a Smith tackle that turned heads before she pounced again right on the siren to add some more heat to the high-intensity battle.


The Hawks put the foot on the pedal in the final term with two massive majors. First, it was Grace Matser who steered through a wonderful set shot after toiling away in the ruck all day. She would end the match with 31 hit-outs and 10 disposals. It was then Perkins who booted through her second goal of the day, kicking from a similar spot to Matser to put the Hawks 28 points in front. Box Hill controlled the tempo throughout the quarter, capitalising on its impressive pressure all day. When the final siren sounded, it was sweet revenge for the Hawks who were knocked out of finals last year by the Saints. The 29-point win was one to savour, as it extended the team’s unbeaten streak to start the season and saw them rise to the top of the VFLW ladder. 

SOUTHERN SAINTS 2.1 | 2.1 | 4.1 | 4.1 (25) 

BOX HILL 2.1 | 4.4 | 6.5 | 8.6 (54)  

Disposals: Boyd 17, McRae 16, Thorne 16, von Bertouch 16, Van Berkel 15, Locke 13

Goals: Locke 2, Perkins 2, McRae, Everist, Kendall, Matser 

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