Young Hawks Impress In Pre-Season Loss

It was a glimpse of generation next on Friday afternoon, as a youthful Box Hill, replete with seventeen AFL Hawks, clashed with an experienced Collingwood outfit in the fourth of five pre-season engagements.

Under a scorching mid-March sun at the Magpies’ Olympic Park headquarters, the Hawks started brightly, but it was the hosts who drew first blood after eight-and-a-half hard fought minutes, during which the ball spent the majority of time ricocheting between the arcs.

Billy Murphy, back in the brown and gold following a weeks rest, answered for the Hawks with a typically cool finish from a potentially tricky set shot, before the chance to consolidate fell the way of the Magpies.

A hat trick of Collingwood majors saw the lead ‘Pies skip to a 20-point lead nearing time on, before a little route one football laid the foundation for the Hawks’ second.

Kicking out from full-back, David Mirra assessed his options. A beautiful long kick-out later and the ball was on centre-wing. Some patient transition and a cute sidestep later and Harry Morrison had converted from forty-five.

As Collingwood’s attacks continued Kurt Heatherley showed his aerial prowess to mark and reset his side, acting as a sort of goalkeeper, whilst Kieren Lovell kept the stats team busy racking up getting touches around the contest.

Frustratingly, with a foothold established in the contest and the momentum beginning to even out it was Collingwood who finished the scoring to take a 22-point advantage to the first change.

The Hawks got precisely the start they would have wanted when play resumed, as Lovell hit-up the leading Mitch Lewis. The young ruck-forward would deliver on his end of the bargain, kicking truly from thirty out.

He wouldn’t have to wait long for his second, profiting as the man on the end of the chain following a chaos ball-like inside fifty.

Two majors in five minutes became three in six when the impressive James Worpel put through the goal of the match so far.

The first-year draftee showed his class with a smart gather at centre half forward. Riding a tackle and turning towards goal he set sail from outside fifty and watched as the goal umpire barely moved. The Hawks were on the move.

Heatherley continued his fine form across half-back, Pittonet competed well at the coalface, Lovell stayed busy in the thick of it and a tandem of O’Rourke and the experienced Whitecross showed their ability to accumulate inside the contest as the tide suddenly turned.

By the time Teia Miles squared to the unmarked Brolic to kick his first the visiting Hawks had overturned a four-goal quarter time deficit in twelve brilliant minutes.

Murphy and Worpel, the latter playing with a growing and infectious confidence, had a pair of snaps sail narrowly wide, before a defensive mix-up gifted the hosts their first of the term.

Worpel’s fine first half continued when he marked strongly and converted his second with a beautiful set shot from on the arc.

Lewis wouldn’t be outdone, though, marking just as impressively amongst a pack in the goal square and putting through his third of the day.

A Collingwood goal right on the half-time siren was a frustrating full stop on an otherwise stirring second-quarter effort.

The third quarter was to prove a struggle, with each side managing just the 1.2 in a period during which neither truly grasped any ascendency.

Miles kicked an early goal to cap a brilliant rundown tackle, but a second just wouldn’t come.

A new-look Box Hill half-back line comprised of Mitch O’Donnell and Will Hams held firm, whilst Lovell and O’Rourke set about driving the Hawks’ midfield forward as the Hawks battled manfully into a tricky breeze.

Just as the Magpies had done in the second they found a vital goal late-on to close to within a kick with half-an-hour to play.

The final term was to be a case of so near yet so far, as chances to pull away early came back to bite the brown and gold.

An early behind became three in three minutes, with Worpel and Brolic each seeing creative shots on goal miss by a hair’s breadth.

As is so often the case the Magpies needn’t a second chance to kick their first, and whilst the Hawks’ three shots produced only the three points, the ‘Pies first three shots on goal all found their mark.

A fourth and fifth goal of the term would follow for the hosts with time and the scoreboard well and truly on their side.

There was to be no rally or late heroics, but the Hawks’ generation next had shown enough to suggest they’re names to take note of.

Box Hill    2.1    8.5    9.7    9.12 66
Collingwood    5.5    7.8    8.10    13.11 89

GOALS: Lewis 3, Worpel 2, Murphy, Morrison, Brolic, Miles

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