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Box Hill win VFL flag

Taylor Duryea of the Hawks in action during the 2013 VFL Grand Final match between Geelong Cats and Box Hill Hawks at Etihad Stadium, Melbourne on September 22, 2013. (Photo: Theo Karanikos/AFL Media)
Taylor Duryea of the Hawks in action during the 2013 VFL Grand Final match between Geelong Cats and Box Hill Hawks at Etihad Stadium, Melbourne on September 22, 2013. (Photo: Theo Karanikos/AFL Media)

In front of 15,119 at Etihad Stadium, the Box Hill Hawks won their first premiership since 2001 and only the second in the club’s history after a rousing 21-point victory over the heavily favoured Geelong.
 
The Hawks didn’t start the game like a team wearing the ‘underdog’ tag when they burst through a banner that told them their destiny awaited them. The performance over the first five minutes indicated that their destiny just might hold a premiership in the near future.
 
Jonathon Simpkin, Luke Lowden and Sam Grimley all got the ball rolling early, contributing three goals in the first five minutes and forcing Geelong onto the back foot early.
 
Simpkin, playing against his old club, had his efforts for the day recognised when he received the Norm Goss medal as best afield with his 26 disposals accompanying two goals.
 
Along with Simpkin, Taylor Duryea, Jed Anderson and Shane Savage all staked a claim for the sport left vacant by injured Hawk Brendan Whitecross with strong performances.
 
If the crowd were able to choose who won the medal then they might have decided to recognise the efforts of crowd favourite Matthew Spangher.
 
Returning from a stint with Hawthorn, Spangher was tenacious in defence, regularly seen running back with the flight of the ball with minimal regard for his own health. Geelong couldn’t get past him as he ran amok in the defensive half of the ground.
 
Geelong didn’t score a goal in the second half until the six-minute mark of the final term, by which point the damage had been done and Hawks fans were already celebrating in the stands.
 
Despite entering the game without captain Daniel Pratt, instead David Mirra handled the leadership duties, coach Damian Carroll was confident in the team he put on the park.
 
“It was probably our strongest team all year so we felt pretty confident going in today,” he said. “I know there’s people out there who think Hawthorn runs it but we’ve regularly had three or four players in our development side, it has been picked on merit as well and we feel that’s important.”
 
The coach was all praise for his opponents who he described as “fantastic”, a sentiment echoed by Mirra in the post-game speech upon the collection of his medal.
 
“They’ve been a great side for the last couple of years and really set the benchmark for the VFL,” said Mirra.
 
Final scores:
Box Hill 7.2 9.4 12.10 14.15 (99)
Geelong 4.3 7.6 7.7 11.12 (78)
 
Goals: S. Grimley 3, J. Simpkin 2, M. Osborne 2, X. Murphy 2, L. Lowden, M. Hallahan, S. Iles, B. Retzlaff, S. Savage
Best: J. Simpkin, M. Spangher, S. Iles, W. Langford, K. Cheney, D. Wanganeen
 
Hawthorn listed players
 
34. Jordan Kelly
Stats: 18 disposals, 3 marks, 4 tackles

Found a bit more of the ball around the ground this week, generally he racks it up from cutting off opposition kicks but today it was his running and spread that benefitted him. Copped a big hit in the first quarter by putting his head over the ball, something he has done all season long, and bounced right back up.
 
35. Sam Grimley
Stats: 14 disposals, 5 marks, 3 goals

Was huge in the first quarter with his ability to present and be a viable target for the long kick forward with his contested marking ability. On one occasion early he took a one hander contested grab, using his head to complete the mark. Two of his goals came from using his impressive speed at ground level, really pleasing to see from the big man.
 
37. Jed Anderson
Stats: 14 disposals, 7 tackles, 4 clearances

Attacked the contest hard and was a force inside with his manic attack on the ball. Also took a great high-flying mark, displaying his aerial skills. Has certainly put his name forward for selection next week.
 
38. Mitch Hallahan
Stats: 23 disposals, 7 marks, 1 goal

Displayed the kind of form that won him the J.J. Liston throughout the year. Continues the display the skills of a balanced midfielder with his inside and outside ability and hurts the opposition on the scoreboard.
 
40. Tim O’Brien
Stats: 6 kicks, 4 disposals, 4 marks

Didn’t find much of the ball but when he did he used well as usual. When the ball hits his hands it normally sticks there and he makes the right decision every time.
 
41. Taylor Duryea
Stats: 18 disposals, 4 marks, 4 tackles

Didn’t do his chances at selection any harm with his performance as he was really solid throughout all four quarters but particularly damaging in the second half.
 
46. Derick Wanganeen
Stats: 17 disposals, 5 marks, 5 clearances

Normally provides a highlight with his run and carry out of defence but today his highlights consisted of tough, gritty acts. Held his ground several times and won free kicks after laying crunching tackles.
 
47. Jonathon Ceglar
Stats: 12 disposals, 24 hitouts, 3 marks

Had a really solid game and almost kicked a clever roving goal in the third quarter but got pushed off balance at the last second. His presence up forward commands a respectable defender and makes the forward unit function better as a whole because you can’t help defend off him.
 
61. Angus Litherland
Stats: 20 disposals, 4 tackles, 4 rebounds 50s

He just loves running with the ball and the open expanses at Etihad really suited his style of play. He found the ball in space and could use his speed and booming kick to turn into a 70-metre player.
 
63. Kyle Cheney
Stats: 17 disposals, 9 marks, 3 rebounds 50s

Provided rebound all year and continued to do so on the biggest stage of all. He continually presented as an option for the switch and left his man at the right times to provide help to his teammates.
 
65. Will Langford
Stats: 21 disposals, 5 tackles, 10 clearances

Hard as nails all day long and led the game in clearances. He has come along in leaps and bounds from Round One until now, has made himself an integral part of the team with his inside ‘go and get it’ ability combined with his now developed outside play.
 
67. Matthew Spangher
Stats: 19 disposals, 5 marks, 5 rebounds 50s

Was close to best on ground with his aerial work and a clear crowd favourite. He impacted a lot more contests than his stats indicate – lost count of the amount of times he ran back with the flight of the ball with no regard for his own safety to kill a contest. Would have had to have been in the discussion for Norm Goss medallist.
 
70. Luke Lowden
Stats: 15 disposals, 30 hitouts, 1 goal

Got off to a flying start with a clever goal in the opening minutes of the game but after that he missed a few really gettable shots at goal. His value as an added midfielder was huge today as he moved around the ground effortlessly as usual.
 
71. Shane Savage
Stats: 16 disposals, 4 clearances, 1 goal

Wasn’t as prominent as last week but still put his hand up for senior selection on Saturday. He can find the ball playing across all three lines of the ground and is just about as versatile as a mid-sized player can be.
 
72. Jonathan Simpkin
Stats: 26 disposals, 8 marks, 2 goals

Was a deserving Norm Goss Medallist for a best-on-ground performance with his incredibly consistent display across all four quarters. Such a hard runner, which allows him to outrun his opponent and get involved in more chains of play than any other player on the ground.
 
77. Michael Osborne
Stats: 17 disposals, 5 tackles, 2 goals

Continued to lead from the front and after the game Carroll again praised just how important he is to the team. When he gets the ball he still possesses that bit of class that allows him to things that most players just can’t do.