VFLW Round 1 Match Preview

The VFLW Hawks will play their first official game back under the Box Hill banner today!

Check out everything you need to know about the game below.

Who: Essendon

Where: The Hangar, Tullamarine

When: Sunday 26 March at 11am

At A Glance

Box Hill comes into Round 1 having won both its practice matches against the Southern Saints and Essendon.

The Hawks prevailed over the Saints by 21 points at La Trobe University before a Round 1 preview against the Bombers at The Hangar ended with an 11-point victory.

Under the Hawthorn VFLW banner last season, the Hawks finished second on the table behind Essendon, who went on to win their first VFLW premiership.

When these two teams met in the regular season, the match ended in a thrilling draw at Box Hill, meaning we could be set for another close contest to open the 2023 season.

Change in leadership

Nicole Garner will lead the Hawks out for the first time as captain today.

Garner filled in as acting captain last season once skipper-at-the-time Tamara Luke was recruited by Hawthorn’s AFLW team.

She will be supported in the leadership group by Nadia von Bertouch and Jordan Mifsud as co-vice-captains while Mietta Kendall and Grace McRae round out the leadership group.

The Bombers also have new leaders with Mia-Rae Clifford (who plays her 100th VFLW game today) and Courtney Ugle taking over from 2022 skipper Georgia Nanscawen.

The Who

Both the Hawks and Bombers have new-look sides for the 2023 season.

Box Hill will field 14 new players while Essendon bloods 11.

Headlining the Hawks’ recruits are former AFLW players Maddie Boyd, Grace Matser and Charlotte Hammans, experienced VFLW stars Amanda Tessari (formerly Western Bulldogs VFLW) and Akayla Peterson (formerly Carlton and Port Melbourne), and star Bond Uni duo Annie Muir and Caitlin Thorne.

Essendon’s recruits include first-year AFLW players Mia Busch and Zoe Hurrell (formerly Sydney AFLW).

On the AFLW side of things, Box Hill will field four players – Sophie Locke, Emily Everist, Catherine Brown and Aine McDonagh.

Essendon has named Alex Morcom, Renee Tierney, Alana Barba and the aforementioned Busch as part of its AFLW contingent.

Ones to Watch

It’s hard to go past Bond Uni young gun Annie Muir.

You may not be too familiar with her yet, but you’ll get to know her in a big way soon.

The 21-year-old midfielder has been a standout on the track for Box Hill, thanks to her gut-running, tackling pressure and overall footy smarts.

Watch out for her Bond Uni teammate Caitlin Thorne too, as she has a booming kick coming out of defence.

Then of course there’s Maddie Boyd up forward.

The former Geelong VFLW goalkicker has swapped the hoops for the stripes and has slotted in seamlessly.

Boyd worked her way into the game nicely inside 50 during Box Hill’s battle with the Southern Saints before exploding onto the scene against the Bombers.

In that game, she kicked four goals and took several marks, with most of those being contested.

Could she have another big performance today?

How To Follow

Hawks fans can keep up-to-date with all the action via our official social media channels.

Follow us @boxhillvflw on Twitter and @boxhillhawksvflw on Instagram.

And don’t forget to ‘like’ Box Hill Hawks on Facebook.

We’ll be live-tweeting the match and providing further coverage on Instagram and Facebook.

Where To Watch

All VFLW matches can be streamed via AFL.com.au, the AFL Live official app and the VFL app. Coverage of Sunday’s game starts at 11am and can be found in the match hub or via this link.

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