Box Hill finished their inaugural VFLW season in a blaze of glory with a 32-point win over the Seaford Tigerettes in the final round of the home and away season.
The Hawks led from start to finish in one of their most commanding performances of the season, breaking the record for their highest score in a game. Cassandra Papadopoulos and Jayde Van Dyk were unstoppable coming out of defence and Emily Gilder capped a fine season with a three-goal haul in the 8.5.53 to 3.3.21 win.
Having gone from a rag-tag team to a highly competitive team in the strongest competition of women’s football in the state, the Hawks were determined to stamp their development with a victory in Round 14. Within minutes of the opening bounce, they were doing all the attacking. Emily Gilder and Emma Mackie slotted goals from the forward pocket before Gilder went off the ground limping with a left knee injury. When Box Hill’s best goal-kicker returned to take a courageous contested mark and bomb through her second goal from long range, it galvanised her team. Seaford could hardly get the ball within earshot of their forward half and a late soccer goal to Emily McIlvena gave Box Hill an impressive 27-point lead at the first change.
The Tigerettes had pride on the line and fought as the wind grew stronger at their backs in the second quarter. Although they were able to get the ball forward they were foiled at every turn by the Box Hill defence. Jayde Van Dyk, Tamara Luke and Cassandra Papadopoulos were irrepressible in defence as Seaford managed just a solitary goal through Georgia Walker for their efforts – when Gab Mahoney juggled a terrific contested mark in the goal square to put the reply on the board on the stroke of half time, the Hawks had absorbed a sustained quarter of pressure to maintain their lead.
The Hawks put the win beyond doubt in the third term with a hat-trick of highlight reel goals. First, Rosie Dillon coolly split the sticks on the run from the boundary. However, she was one-upped by Olivia Flanagan, who gathered the ball at full tilt and dribbled it through from the point post. When Gilder flitted ball in hand through a pack to snap her third, the Hawks were 44 points up and could taste victory.
The last quarter saw the Hawks take their foot off the throat of the Tigerettes, who squeezed through two goals. Needless to say, the result was never in doubt and the siren rang with the Hawks 32 points clear.
Having exceeded all expectations in their maiden season, Box Hill now look to the AFLW national draft in October.