Box Hill’s VFLW team has won its first game of the season with a 5.4.34 to 5.3.33 victory over the Western Bulldogs at Box Hill City Oval.
Rain persisted throughout the day but it was the Hawks who weathered the conditions best.
Jordan Mifsud led all-comers with 25 disposals and a goal while Charlotte Baskaran dominated in her VFLW debut with 23 touches.
Sarah Perkins led the way on the scoresheet with two majors while Zoe Barbakos, Sophie Locke and Mifsud rounded out the goalscorers.
Check out how the game unfolded below.
The game began in wet conditions but it didn’t bother the Hawks, who catapulted the ball into their forward line repeatedly. That high intensity resulted in a free kick and goal to Zoe Barbakos – her first of the season at VFLW level. Fellow AFLW teammate Tamara Smith dominated early, penetrating the ball well inside 50. Jordan Mifsud also won plenty of the ball early, with 10 disposals to quarter time. The Bulldogs pulled one back late but all in all, it was good early signs for the Hawks. They went into the first change by just a point down.
The Bulldogs opened the scoring early but the Hawks kept their energy up. They would soon be rewarded for their efforts, as a set shot from Maddie Boyd went straight into the hands of AFLW Hawk Sarah Perkins. The lifelong Hawthorn supporter took a strong grab from close range and made no mistake on conversion, booting through her first major at VFLW level since 2021. Charlotte Baskaran grew into the game during the second term, with her disposal tally growing rapidly into double digits while Jess Trend provided plenty of energy off half-back. Grace McRae led all-comers at the main break with 15 disposals, thanks to her positioning as well as her run and carry. At half-time, scores were level at 14 a piece.
The Hawks came out with renewed energy after half-time, with McRae again leading from the front. This time, it was her clearance work that set her apart. Perkins opened up the second half scoring with her second major, snapping it through the middle thanks to some great forward pressure by Mietta Kendall. It was then Sophie Locke who got on the board for the first time of the day with a beautiful mark and set shot, putting the Hawks seven points in front. The Bulldogs responded shortly after though. Ellie McLinden began to slot herself into the game, pushing up the ground and providing some great run out of defence, as well as spoiling anything that came near her. At three-quarter-time, the Hawks had pulled away slightly, going into the final break with an eight-point margin.
The Bulldogs put the pressure on the Hawks early and ended up holding them scoreless for the term. An early Dogs goal silenced the Box Hill crowd before a mountain of pressure from the home team got the volume right back up. McRae and Baskaran stood tall in the midfield, as was the theme for the game while Janet Baird got involved with some great defensive efforts while playing on the wing. Mifsud, Trend and Nadia Von Bertouch all played pivotal roles in clamping the Dogs’ attack too, highlighting the worth of their experience in Box Hill's side. Despite a multitude of Bulldogs forays into the forward line, the Hawks played composed footy and won their first game of the season on home soil, with a solitary point splitting the two teams in the end.
BOX HILL 1.0 | 2.2 | 5.4 | 5.4 (34)
WESTERN BULLDOGS 1.1 | 2.2 | 4.2 | 5.3 (33)
Goals: Perkins 2, Barbakos, Locke, Mifsud
Disposals: Mifsud 25, Baskran 23, McRae 22, Locke 15, Boyd 12, McLinden 12