The Box Hill Hawks continued their fine and unbeaten start to season 2023, accounting for Collingwood by 59 points on Sunday afternoon at City Oval.
The win was set up by a phenomenal first-half offensive which included an eight-goal second quarter, a feat made all the more remarkable given it was achieved despite heavy winds and torrential rain lashing the Box Hill area.
The Hawks were clean, clinical and irrepressible as they turned a two-goal quarter-time advantage into a 47-point lead come the long break – an advantage which proved decisive.
Such was the spread of Box Hill’s contributors, 10 players accounted for the 12 goals kicked to half-time, while come game’s end five of the contest’s six highest-rated players were wearing brown and gold.
Zane Littlejohn would’ve been thrilled to see his charges finish up +106 disposals, +39 contested possessions, +20 for marks, +10 inside 50s and +6 clearances.
Cal Brown was judged as his side’s best on the day, with the former Magpie using his pace and dare with ball in hand to outstanding effect. He finished with a game-high 38 touches and an equal game-high nine clearances. Additionally, he laid five tackles, drove his side inside 50s five times and accumulated three rebound 50s.
Max Lynch, another one-time Magpie, proved the dominant big man on the ground as he tallied 43 hit-outs, finished #2 among his teammates with seven clearances, pulled in three marks and kicked one goal.
Co-Captain Cal Porter’s fine start to 2023 continues, with the hard-nosed ball-winner at the bottom of every pack and wearing a jumper needing a thorough soak in Napisan as a result. Like Lynch, he won seven clearances on his way to 33 disposals while adding six tackles, four rebound 50s, a team-high eight inside 50s and seven score involvements to his stat line.
Box Hill’s best last weekend, Ed Phillips remains in fine form, using his running ability to rack up 26 touches, six inside 50s, six clearances and nine marks.
The most dangerous forward on the ground proved to be Max Ramsden. A developing ruck-forward, Ramsden finished the afternoon with four goals from six marks and 13 disposals, with his marking and set-shot goal-kicking a particular highlight given the testing conditions.
Other fine contributors included Lachie Bramble. Like Phillips, the Hawks no.16 used his run to dictate the tempo of the contest and ball use to stretch the field.
Damian Mascitti shows no sign of slowing down, as he accumulated 24 disposals, took a game-high 10 marks, drove his team inside 50 on six occasions, finished with four rebound 50s and, in a fantastic finale, one beautiful final quarter goal. The evergreen Mascitti was rated as the second-best player on the ground behind Cal Brown.
Under the threat of grey skies, the two sides traded goals in the early going, as Porter cancelled out Reef McInnes’ opener, before Nathan Kreuger answered Max Lynch’s set shot.
The quarter concluded with an opportunistic goal to Max Hall, who read and responded to Jaylon Thorpe’s cantering snap quickest and best before Max Ramsden kicked his first of what would turn into a great afternoon.
Ultimately the result was decided in a devastating 21-minute burst in the second quarter, with the Hawks laying on seven unanswered goals to gap the Magpies.
Bramble, Thorpe and Josh Bennetts hit the scoreboard in quick succession, before Sam Butler, Jack O’Sullivan and Jacob Koschitzke followed suit. By the time Hall kicked his second of the game at the 23-minute mark of the term, the rain had well and truly set in, the ball and ground were heavy and the Hawks had a 53-point lead.
Max Ramsden booted a second in between two Collingwood goals in the dying embers of the quarter, but the damage had been done.
The hosts picked up where they left off in the second half, as Thorpe kicked goals two and three before Ramsden’s third handed the Hawks’ a game-high 66-point lead. The sides traded goals to end the term, with Ramsden booting his fourth and the Hawks eyeing a big win.
The Magpies would win the final quarter by virtue of straight kicking, their 3.0 better than the Hawks' somewhat wasteful 1.6 – but another vital four points had been secured and a three-and-zero start to 2023 confirmed.
The Hawks return to action next Saturday 22 April at home to Coburg. The first bounce is scheduled for 1:05pm.
Best: Brown, Lynch, Porter, Phillips, Ramsden, Bramble
Disposals: Brown 38, Porter 33, Phillips 26, Mascitti 24, Bramble 23, Weddle 21
Goals: Ramsden 4, Thorpe 3, Hall 2, Porter, O’Sullivan, Mascitti, Lunch, Koschitzke, Butler, Bramble, Bennetts