Box Hill’s VFLW team has commenced its season with a dominant 108-point win over Casey at Casey Fields on Sunday morning.

New coach Michael Ericson was thrilled with the result.

“One thing we spoke about as a team was being able to continue everything we've been trying to work on for four quarters and I felt like we really did that on Sunday,” he said.

Ten AFLW-listed players also got their first taste of football for 2024, with Ericson reviewing each of their games.

Jasmine Fleming (39 disposals, 9 inside 50s, 7 clearances)

“Jas had a fantastic game. She was obviously statistically phenomenal. She seemed to extract the ball all day from the stoppages and her acceleration out of the stoppage was excellent as well. Her speed and cleanliness around the ball was phenomenal all day. It was really exciting to see her back in that form so early in the year.”  

Emily Bates (30 disposals, 7 tackles, 6 clearances)

“Batesy’s been a favourite of mine for a number of years and we saw why on the weekend why. Like Flem and Westy, she was inside the contest all day. Those three were working together and helping one another was just fantastic. Batesy's leadership around helping our younger players decide what to do and how to do it was fantastic.”

Kristy Stratton (2 goals, 18 disposals, 6 marks, 4 tackles)

“Stratts had a fantastic game. She probably could’ve had a few more goals if it weren’t for wayward kicking. Her work rate was exceptional. She was probably up there with one of the hardest-running players we had on the ground all day. She just kept throwing her body into the contest. It was a really positive start to the year for Stratts.”

Tamara Smith (16 disposals, 2 marks)

“Smithy played really well. She had a good balance between defending and attacking. We hope to see more of that from Smithy throughout the year. She hit a couple of contests with real pace as well. I remember one on the wing where she collided with her opponent to defend and put her body on the line which was great to see from her and other players to take it so seriously at the start of the year.”

Casey Sherriff (1 goal, 11 disposals, 4 marks, 6 tackles)

“Casey was on the wing for us and her running was elite. She seemed to consistently be well ahead of her opponent. She had a few nerves prior to the game like Westy, obviously playing their old team, but what we saw from her was really exciting. I’m looking forward to her playing more of that wing role throughout the year.”

Eliza West (1 goal, 26 disposals, 9 tackles, 5 clearances)

“Westy played as an inside midfielder and had a lot of first touch on the ball from stoppage. She really got the ball out of the midfield and ran and drove out of the contest really well herself.”

Jenna Richardson (14 disposals, 5 marks, 3 tackles)

“Richo was similar to Smithy in terms of finding a good balance between attacking and defending at the right times throughout the game. I think Richo really settled our backline and slotted in seamlessly. She took a few marks and was really good.”

Bridie Hipwell (1 goal, 11 disposals, 2 marks, 4 tackles)

“Bridie’s young and developing as that tall so she's probably a little bit flat but she didn't finish what she usually would because she is a great set shot on goal. However, some of her leading patterns and just actually getting to the highest point up to mark was really good and that's development because she's been doing on the track. There were real positive signs from Brides around running patterns and forward craft that she's learning and I think she's going to have a big breakout game soon enough when it all comes together.”

Aine McDonagh (2 goals, 7 disposals, 2 marks)

“Aine was a great target and kicked a couple of goals for us. She probably could have had a couple more but unselfishly handed over a few. She just kept providing that option for the midfield group as a target and I don't think she would have been out-marked all game. She brought the footy to ground as well and is a really good runner which can add to her skillset as a tall forward.”

Lucy Wales (16 hit-outs, 15 disposals, 6 tackles, 5 clearances, 3 marks)

“She had her work cut out for her with some tall Casey rucks. I thought she competed really well in the contest but it was probably more what she did around the ground that impressed us. She really moved well around the ground she gave lots of handball feeds to the mids to be able to let them out of stoppage. She also took a lot of marks around the ground and provided that option if we needed long down the line. Lucy’s work rate was really high as well and it was really exciting to see her out there especially with the likes of Fleming, Bates and West in the middle just so they can get a bit of continuity together.”

And a couple of shout-outs for VFLW-listed players…

Mietta Kendall (5 goals, 11 disposals, 3 tackles, 2 marks)

“Miz had a phenomenal game. They had 11 disposals of which seven were kicks and five were goals. Miz is a really clever forward that just knows where to go and is dangerous around the football. It doesn’t matter whether they are close to goal or outside 50, whenever Miz has the ball, there seems to be an impact from it.”

Caitlin Thorne (1 goal, 15 disposals, 4 marks, 2 tackles)

“Caitlin played predominantly on the wing and she didn't take backwards step. She was always throwing her body into all of the contests and kicked a really good goal. She just provided us with lots of run and carry and she’s kind of that player that we're looking for on the wing that just is happy to run both directions.”

Tamara Luke (3 goals, 8 disposals, 8 hit-outs, 3 marks, 3 tackles)

“If you look at the stats, she only had eight touches, but she kicked three goals and provided a chop-out in the ruck for Lucy. She just led all day - like even with one minute to go in the last quarter, she was jumping up and down on the mark, which ended up resulting in a goal. She was one that led all day from the first minute to the last and that's kind of what we wanted from the team that we played a full four-quarter effort and that's what we got.”


The Hawks next take on Geelong at GMHBA Stadium on Saturday afternoon, with the team set to have a similar focus.

“We’ll be worrying about our processes and what we can do to ensure that we're going to get the best result for our footy club, so it's going to be very similar to what we put out against Casey in terms of effort and celebration and being in the moment, so hopefully the outcome takes care of itself,” Ericson said.

“But really, we're looking at seeing how the players continue to build continuity with one another.

“There are some groups of AFLW players playing together that we just want to see build that chemistry so they can take that into AFLW later in the year.

“For the VFLW players, it’s actually about building our brand and learning some things from some players that they might not necessarily get to play with and help carry that out for the rest of the year in our Box Hill program.”

Entry to this weekend’s game is free and is available to stream live and free on the VFL website and app.