Box Hill bounced back from a disappointing loss last week to snatch a 23-point victory against Port Melbourne on Saturday.

Several AFL-listed Hawks starred in the clash, including Changkuoth Jiath who played his first game back, at VFL-level, after returning from injury.

Box Hill Coach Zane Littlejohn said he was pleased with his side’s performance, particularly in the opening half.

“Our work rate across the whole first half and particularly the second quarter was really good and at the standard we would expect to see at VFL-level," he said. 

“We should be really excited if we can do that over four quarters. Unfortunately on the day we weren’t, our second half got a bit sloppy, but credit to Port Melbourne when they changed the way the game was played and we fell into their trap. But that’s something we’ll review, learn and adjust for next time when the game is being played like that.”

Hear what the coach had to say on each senior Hawk below.

Changkuoth Jiath (26 disposals, 5 marks)

“CJ made his return from injury and he was super lively early on in the game. We saw some real CJ brilliance with his dash, run and carry, and his ball use was really exciting. To finish with 26 touches, it was a great return for him. He was on limited minutes and died out later on in the game, obviously being his first game back after a pretty extensive lay off with injury. We were pretty rapt to have him, and was super pleased with his contribution, his attitude and how he applied himself. Hopefully now he can just continue to build on that match fitness and put his hand up for AFL selection.”

Denver Grainger-Barras (4 goals, 10 disposals, 6 marks)

"Denver spent time forward this week and he was really pleasing. His work rate and high-speed running was great - an area that he hasn’t been able to produce a lot of this year, so it was pleasing to see. His work rate was high, and he got rewarded. He finished with four goals, took a few marks, gave some really great contests. We didn’t put too many expectations on Denver in the role, we just wanted him to be a bit of a circuit breaker, be free, run and jump at the footy. So it was a really good return for Denver in that role."

Jai Serong (25 disposals, 10 marks)

“Since my time at the club, it was the best game I’ve seen Jai play. He played in defence, took six intercept marks, 25 disposals and six rebound 50s. It was just a really solid all-round game for a defender. He was able to compete well one-on-one and was able to get involved with Hawks ball and help rebound the ball as I mentioned, while also really being good at ground level to give us some coverage there, so it was a really great game from Jai. It should give him some good confidence moving forward that if he can continue to put those sort of performances together that he would be right at home as a defender at AFL-level."

Cam Mackenzie (23 disposals, 2 goals, 5 tackles)

“I thought Cam’s work rate and ability to challenge the oppositions with his footwork and his hands from stoppage was really impressive. He kicked two goals too – that’s always valuable when you’ve got midfielders who are hitting the scoreboard and Cam was one of them. It was great exposure for him having spent some quality time inside, being at centre bounces and going to a lot of stoppages against some quality players that Port Melbourne have in their mids, with the likes of Harvey Hooper and Dylan Clarke. It was a good opportunity for Cam and we were impressed with what he was able to show with his hands and footwork."

Ned Long (23 disposals, 1 goal, 4 marks, 7 tackles)

"It was a solid game for Longy, he had to play some good inside minutes, which we know he could do. He didn’t have to do any ruck work this week, which I’m sure he would’ve appreciated. He finished with 23 disposals, and had some good score involvements, score assists and hit the scoreboard himself. Overall, it was a nice return from him. His work rate probably dropped off later in the game, which is unlike him. But he really set it up by doing some heavy lifting in the contest earlier on in the game. He worked hard and use the ball reasonably well."

Cooper Stephens (22 disposals, 4 marks, 6 clearances)

“Cooper played a really selfless role and he got rewarded – he managed to have six clearances himself. He went at 91 per cent disposal efficiency too, he didn’t miss a kick. He was just super efficient with everything he did, his running power also looked good. It’s probably been an area that Coops been exposed at times in his game this year, but his power out of the contest and stoppage was really impressive. It was a really good game from Coop. If he can continue to put performances in like that and cover the ground like he did on the weekend, I'm sure that will give him some real confidence moving forward. Hopefully we’ll see him playing AFL in the not too distant future."

Henry Hustwaite (22 disposals, 1 goal, 6 clearances)

“It was an another solid performance from Henry, similar to Cam, he spent a lot of time in the centre bounce which is great for his development. He really adjusted his game and learnt from last week where he probably lost territory a bit. But this week he really looked forward to take territory and went forward with his disposals, was able to drive his legs better and his foot work around the contest was really, really good. So it was a solid and good performance for Henry. He should be really proud about that, now it's just about being consistent at this level all the time."

Jacob Koschitzke (18 disposals, 1 goal, 4 marks, 4 tackles, 9 hit-outs)

“Kosi came back with a great attitude. He started in the ruck and I just loved how he approached that. He was up against Sam Naismith, who has played a bit of AFL footy – and his arguably the best ruckman outside the AFL at the moment and Kosi was able to do a really good job on him. He got around the ground, found a bit of footy himself, notching up 18 disposals and hit the scoreboard – arguably he should’ve kicked another one or two goals in that as well. But he gives a real presence around the ground and took some nice contested marks. He was able to play forward and ruck which was really valuable – that’s great he is able to harness that side of his game."

Lachlan Bramble (17 disposals, 1 goal, 5 tackles)

“Brambs understands his game really well and probably the second half we saw him fade out in the game and didn’t have the influence. His first half was very solid, he played inside, so he played on ball this game which was great for him. He was damaging in that first half with his metres gained, drove legs, used the ball really well and kicked a nice goal which is great for him. His leadership and attitude around the group you can’t fault it – its really valuable to have a player like him who’s played some VFL and AFL footy – he is quite experienced for where he is at."

Bailey Macdonald (13 disposals, 4 marks)

"It was a quieter day for Bailey, but we still saw his run and dash at times, which we know he can do. With 13 disposals, just not the influence he normally has on games. But it’s a long year for these first-year draftees, he'll continue to work on his game like all our players do. When he’s not having impact with ball in hand, he still has an impact defensively which he was able to do at times, but probably got caught out a little bit at times. He needs to continue to work on that space, which he'll do."

Brandon Ryan (11 disposals, 8 marks)

"Brandon could’ve had a really solid day – he had a good day – but he kicked six behinds. After the third, he lost a bit of his confidence and wasn’t able to execute. But he took eight marks still, and had 11 disposals. He is getting the shots, he’s just got to put them through the big sticks. I spoke to him during the game and I said at least he’s having the shots on goal, that’s the most important thing first, now we’ve got to make sure we’re getting them through he middle. He’ll get to work on that this week and ideally try and rectify that. He’s got to stay confident and patient and do the work and the hard work will pay off."

Jack O’Sullivan (15 disposals, 1 goal, 4 marks, 4 tackles)

"Sul returned after having last week off and he brought his energy. We love what Sul brings with his energy. Finished with 15 touches, kicked a goal and laid four tackles – he brought heaps of pressure which is great. The thing that stood out for me was that he chased hard and worked hard to help the team in defence. He’s got some areas where he needs to stay switched on and stay in the game for longer periods, but he’ll develop that as he goes in his career. He understands that he's one of the hardest workers on the track and getting better at his game."

Josh Bennetts (14 disposals, 5 marks)

“Josh started well, and probably like our game, just faded out a little bit and lost some of his work rate in the second half. But he still finished with 14 disposals, but the areas were working on with Josh is his ability to apply some pressure. He had one or two tackles and wasn’t able to hit the scoreboard, so he’d want to improve that area of the game as a small forward. We want our guys down there to be dangerous and deadly in front of goal, that’s the areas that he’ll continue to just be consistent at. He’s reliable, we know what we’re going to get, he just has to try and work on those little areas of his game so when the ball is in his area he can either win it or apply the pressure."

Clay Tucker (13 hit-outs, 4 disposals) 

"It was Clay’s first game back after just a bit of rehabbing and conditioning around his knee. He played some time in the ruck, and a little bit of time forward. He finished with 13 hit-outs, he’s just learning now to play against big men consistently. Coming from the his league, he was the biggest, now he’s got to get used to consistently playing senior footy against men, and the work rate required at the level. We just want to help track his development as fast as we can and give him opportunities to succeed. He’ll keep working hard with David Hale and David Mackay and hopefully we we'll see some improvement in his game in the near future."

And lastly some Box Hill shout-outs...

Cal Brown

"Shout-out to Cal who was back in his traditional spot across half back. He was our leading possession-getter with 33 touches. It was a really pleasing return for him."

Darcy Murr

"Darc made his debut. He has worked really hard to get where he is and was able to hit the scoreboard in his debut. He had eight disposals and kicked a goal, along with three tackles. He has played a bit of senior footy with Frankston YCW. He’s a real loveable kid around our group and we love what he is able to provide and what he brings to our group."