VFLW match report: Hawks kick off 2023 with practice match win

In blustery conditions at La Trobe University, Box Hill got on top of the Southern Saints by 21 points.

After a slow start kicking against the breeze, the Hawks turned the jets on and capitalised when kicking with the wind.

Tackling pressure was a theme all day, with highlights around the ground.

Check out the quarter-by-quarter summary below.

Q1

The Hawks got off to a slow start in the opening term, kicking against a pesty breeze. However, Box Hill’s back line didn’t allow the Saints to capitalise, with Bella Gray using her strong hands to disrupt a lot of forward entries. Nadia von Bertouch and Nic Garner also provided good defensive stability. Up forward, Mietta Kendall was lively, kicking our first goal of the day. Maddie Boyd also proved to be a threat with some good early marks. At quarter-time, coach Cherie O’Neill called for better tackling pressure.

Q2

The Hawks delivered on their coach’s message, increasing their tackling pressure while adding scoreboard pressure at the same time. Kicking with the breeze, Grace McRae was able to get on top of her opponent early, booting through our first major of the second term. Boyd was also rewarded for her hard work with her first goal in the brown and gold. Kristy Stratton and Hanna Fosbrooke showed dangerous pace and each got on the scoreboard. At half-time, Box Hill went into the changerooms with a handy 19-point lead.

Q3

Another tricky quarter kicking against the breeze but the Hawks kept their cool. Despite scoring no majors in the term, there was plenty to like around the ground. Box Hill’s spirit was epitomised by Annie Muir whose tackling and second efforts were truly second to none. Boyd pushed a bit further up the ground to try and counter the swirling breeze while Kendall nearly gave Hawks fans something to celebrate with a narrow miss. Amanda Tessari also worked in tandem with Boyd to provide some tall targets down the line. At three-quarter-time, Box Hill’s lead was cut down to three, providing good signs of a grand finish.

Q4

The Hawks capitalised into the breeze again, with Stratton leading the way inside 50. Her pressure and speed led to her second goal of the day while fellow small forward Sunday Brisbane also got on the board. Coach O’Neill made a few positional switches with Grace Matser playing at full forward and Boyd in the ruck. Von Bertouch also played a bit higher up the ground as the wind got stronger. Forward pressure was the theme of the term with the Saints unable to exit their defensive 50 for the majority of the term.

All in all, it was a sensational effort from Box Hill, who played the wind perfectly, tackled hard and created pressure all around the ground.

The Hawks defeated the Southern Saints by 21 points in the end, providing good preparation for Saturday afternoon’s practice match against Essendon at The Hangar.

BOX HILL HAWKS 1.1 | 5.1 | 5.1 | 7.7 (49)

SOUTHERN SAINTS 1.6 | 1.6 | 3.10 | 3.10 (28)

Goals: Stratton 2, Kendall, Boyd, McRae, Fosbrooke, Brisbane

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