VFLW: Round 14 Talking Points

Before he can put his season up and reflect on a season in which he and his side have risen above a litany of challenges, curve balls and growing pains, Box Hill VFL Women’s coach Patrick Hill faces the Seaford Tigerettes in the final match of the home and away season.

Hill coached his group from the ground up to win two matches and earn the respect of the competition. To beat the winless Tigerettes would ice the cake, but first it must be done. Having hardly ever gone in as favourites, Box Hill are in no mood to go laissez-faire into a match they should win.

Here are five talking points ahead of Round 14…

1. Extra effort for last game
Round 14 is the last stand for the VFLW side, who have long been focusing on team development rather than finals. Hill and his charges need no reminding of giving a good show to be remembered by in their final match.
“I probably try not to coach effort that much but when you’re this close to the end of the season the mind can wander a little bit. It’s important to stay focused on the task. We talked a month ago about finishing the season really strongly all the way through to the finish line so we reminded ourselves of that commitment we made to each other. We don’t get to play finals this year so this is like a final for us.”

2. If you’d been told at the start of the season that we’d be pushing for three wins…
Considering they were rated only a chance of recording a single win, the backs-to-the-wall Hawks can already congratulate themselves on defeating two sides. However, Hill prefers to laud his side’s competitive performances against the big dogs of VFLW; in their last two matches, they have taken it right up to premiership contenders Diamond Creek and Melbourne Uni.
“If you’d told me that we’d be so close to some of the better sides, I’d be ecstatic. I would have liked to have gotten a couple more wins on the way but I wouldn’t have thought that we’d be running Diamo to seven points or Melbourne Uni to twenty points. I am ecstatic with how the list has performed.”

3. Lessons from Last Time
Box Hill made history in their thrilling four-point win against Seaford in Round 9, the Hawks’ first ever victory. Amidst the hubbub of the celebrations, Hill reminded his side that the performance was far from their best and that their follow-up would need to be better.
“They’re a pretty good side, they pressure and harass we were probably a little bit lucky to get up last time were certainly under no delusions of grandeur going into this game it’ll be a real fight for us.”

4. “When you got nothin’, you got nothin’ to lose”
The Tigerettes have been cruelled by injury in 2017, never fielding their best side and still yet to win a game. Which makes the Round 14 clash a ‘banana peel’ game for the Hawks: teams with nothing to lose can often beat those with too much to play for, a scenario Hill lived himself during his time at the helm of the Frankston Dolphins.
“I’ve been in that situation with Frankston. In our second last game at Coburg we really gave ourselves up for a massive effort. We really steeled ourselves and we lost on the last kick of the day. So I know what can be achieved when a side is playing for that one win for the season. Seaford is more than capable and they’ve got some really good players in their side.”

5. Pride
Even as he prepares for the final match of his side’s first season, Hill can’t help but feel proud of how far his side has come. He considers their off-field unity and development to be their most significant achievement.
“What I’m proud of most is how we’ve come together as a group. We talk about ‘family’ a lot because it’s our value but there’s a difference between putting a poster up on the wall and actually living that value and the girls have really done that. They’ve been able to put together a pretty reasonable game plan that requires everyone to buy in and do the right things for the team. They’ve done that consistently all year but once they’ve really started to understand that in the second half of the year they’ve been particular good at it.”

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