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Box Hill through to a prelim

Gabrielle Keegan  September 10, 2018 2:15 PM

VFL SF: Hanrahan Post-Match Ollie Hanrahan spoke post-match as the Hawks moved through to the preliminary final.

The Box Hill Hawks haved advanced to a Preliminary Final against Williamstown next week, after emerging 29-point victors over fierce rivals Geelong, in tricky conditions at North Port Oval.

The Hawks booked in their second consecutive preliminary final berth, controlling the contest and capitalising more efficiently than their opponents early, before withstanding a nervous period of Geelong dominance in the middle of the match.

With no more second chances, the game was off to a high-pressure start as both sides utilised the opening minutes to settle their disposal.

It would be Oliver Hanrahan to open Box Hill’s account, picking up exactly where he left off last week, swooping on the loose ball in forward fifty and converting on the run.

Marc Pittonet was at his dominant best, both in the ruck contest and around the ground, while James Cousins was a barometer in close, getting his possession count ticking early.

Read: VFLW Hawks through to the big dance

In due course, Andrew Moore, Brendan Whitecross and Hanrahan, for a second time, hit the scoreboard, while the defensive six worked overtime to hold the Cats to just a single goal for the quarter  a 23-point lead standing at its conclusion.

In the term that ensued, the Cats drew first blood courtesy of quick thinking from Quinton Narkle out of the stoppage, as the match descended into a more tightly contested affair.

However, the Hawks continued to dominate possession – Cousins the runaway leader in that field – while Teia Miles and Kaiden Brand racked up plenty of their own ball to provide important rebound from the defensive half.

Chris Jones had to beat two opponents to register his first major for the day, but was up to the task; before Jackson Ross added his name to a growing list of goal kickers, to steady the ship after Geelong looked as though they may challenge.

The intensity and pressure continued to lift with Dylan Moore, Changkuoth Jiath and Mitch O’Donnell leading the way, however it would be Lachlan Fogarty who would respond for the Cats, cutting the margin to 19 points just before the half’s end.

The two sides moved to exchange goals at the resumption of play, with a major from Dylan Moore quickly followed by a reply from Geelong’s Sam Siggins.

The backline again weathered the Geelong storm, as tall timber Tim O’Brien and Kaiden Brand continued to control the air deep in defence, as the Cats threatened to close the gap - applying pressure everywhere but the scoreboard.

From here, the Hawks put their foot to the accelerator.

Box Hill extended their lead from 17 points to a match-winning 42 pointscourtesy of a burst of goals in the 12 minutes prior to three-quarter time. Two goals from Willsmore in addition to a second to both Whitecross and Andrew Moore cemented the seven-goal margin with just one period to play.

In the final term, Zach Guthrie and Jamaine Jones got the attacking started for the Cats.

However, Hanrahan came to the fore once more, putting through his third goal for the day to put an exclamation point on his standout performance and extend the Box Hill advantage for the final time, with the eventual margin standing at 29 points in favour of the brown and gold.

The result books Box Hill in for a showdown with Williamstown at North Port Oval in a week’s time, as the Hawks look to continue their unbeaten September run and reach their first VFL grand final in three years.

Box Hill

4.6

6.8

11.9

13.12 90

Geelong

1.1

3.7

4.9

8.13 61

Goals:  Hanrahan 3, Willsmore 2, Whitecross 2, A. Moore 2, Jones, Ross, D. Moore, Maloney

Disposals: Cousins 28, A. Moore 27, Brand 23, O’Donnell 21, Miles 21

Best: Cousins, A. Moore, O’Brien, Miles, Hanrahan, Brand