VFLW Talking Points – Round 9

After eight straight defeats to start the season, our VFL Women’s side stand their best chance of their maiden victory when they host the bottom-placed Seaford Tigerettes this Sunday from 3pm.

Few could argue that the Hawks have been given an easy run but there is no doubt that their baptism of fire has accelerated their development. Box Hill rank among the upper echelon for clearances and have been in winning positions at three quarter time against higher ranked sides on numerous occasions. Outstanding players like Emma Mackie, Tamara Luke and Chantella Perera have been unearthed with youngsters Cass Papadopoulos, Clare O’Donnell and Rosie Dillon relishing the learning experience of VFLW.

So, we come to our Round 9 clash with Seaford and it’s time to take all that growth, all that teamwork and all that belief and channel it into a win.

Here are five talking points ahead of Round 9…

1. Dealing with the flip-side of expectation
All season, and particularly in the last month playing against 2016 top five teams, Box Hill have had to steel themselves to fight with their backs to the wall. On Sunday, the fifty-fifty battle against fellow winless side Seaford will require a very different sort of mental preparation.
“I think we’re two pretty evenly matched teams and I know that the team that plays closest to their best on the day is going to win. Or whole effort has been around maximising our potential this week and tying up a few of our loose ends from last week.”

2. Jekyll or Hyde for Box Hill?
Hill was left more frustrated than reassured by his side’s Round 8 loss to the St Kilda Sharks. The Hawks laid the challenge square at the Sharks’ feet in the first half but fell apart in the third quarter to be left rueing a missed opportunity. So which side will turn up to Box Hill City Oval on Sunday?
“We’ve almost exclusively reviewed the first half and the things we did well, we were really positive and buoyed by that. But it was almost with a sense of that it was such a contrast of halves that it can only be a mindset issue, and we addressed that during the week.”

3. Team changes bolstering the forces
The Hawks’ preparation against the Sharks wasn’t helped by the last-minute withdrawal of Chantella Perera, intended to run with St Kilda’s most important player in Brianna Davey. With Perera among several key ‘ins’ including Sarah Goode, it will be a different side taking on the Tigerettes.
“Obviously Perera coming back in is massive for us, she’s been our best defensive player all year and we’ll need her to do her job again for us this week.”

4. The key Tigerettes
The Tigerettes have been cruelled by injury in the first two months of the season with three of their six AFLW players yet to take the field. This has made them something of an unpredictable quantity to analyse – something Hill and his brains trust are wary of.
“Obviously Kate Gillespie-Jones, her influence on that contest last week v Geelong was pretty influential… really good intercept mark, ran and carried. She did a mountain of work down back Georgia Walker was really impressive as a midfielder, then going forward she’ll probably go a bit deeper and work out of the square.”

5. The path to victory
The Hawks’ preparation has included envisioning what their modus operandi for victory would be. For Hill, a four-quarter effort in which Box Hill are relentlessly applying scoreboard pressure on Seaford would work like a charm.
“We’re starting to kick a score that can help you win a game. If we fast forward to Sunday night and we’ve won the game, I’d expect that we’ve kicked the sort of score our defence can protect. We’ve talked about a four-quarter effort, about being able to challenge and respond.”

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