After a disappointing loss to Brisbane the week prior, Box Hill bounced back in a big way against Essendon with a 72-point win at Windy Hill on Sunday afternoon.

VFL Senior Coach Zane Littlejohn was pleased with his side’s ability to get back to winning ways.

“It was great to bounce back after a really disappointing performance last week,” Littlejohn said.

“We’re really happy with the response from the whole group.

“The way they came together and were all on the same page was the most pleasing thing.”

Littlejohn also reviewed the performances of the AFL-listed players who featured on the day and gave some shout-outs to some VFL-listed players.

Finn Maginness (One goal, 39 disposals, 15 contested possessions, 12 score involvements, seven inside 50s, six marks, four tackles, four intercept possessions)

“Finn’s contest to contest running was the most pleasing thing. His ability to find the ball but also get contest to contest and really challenge the Essendon midfielders to run with him and turn up was also really pleasing. He supported the contest and was able to get to the next contest really well.”

Harry Morrison (36 disposals, 11 intercept possessions, 10 contested possessions, nine marks, nine score involvements, four inside 50s, three tackles)

“He played his traditional wing role. As we know with Harry, he’s a cool head and really calm with ball in hand so the more the ball was in his hand, the slower the game went for us. He made some really good decisions and was really threatening so it was a nice return for him. His work rate between the arcs and up and back was first class.”

Josh Ward (33 disposals, 12 score involvements, nine marks, seven inside 50s, four tackles) 

“Josh is continuing to work on his craft inside, which is an area of growth he’s really working hard on, and we’re seeing little wins in that space which is great. To then really showcase his weapons, his ball use and his ability to really access and work hard for his teammates who have the ball and for him to be an option was really pleasing. His contest to contest running was a real highlight.”

Josh Bennetts (One goal, 25 disposals, nine score involvements, six inside 50s, four marks) 

“After spending a bit of time on the wing last week, we moved him back to where he’s really comfortable which is across half-forward. His ability to continue to link play from our backend to our forward end was really pleasing. He’s only finished with the one tackle but he’ll continue to work on that area. That next area of growth for Josh is just making sure that every opportunity he gets, he makes it count, whether that’d be by hand or by foot. We can’t fault Josh’s efforts - they’re already consistent but now they’re going to another level.”

Max Ramsden (Two goals, 27 hit-outs, 23 disposals, 10 contested possessions, nine marks, nine score involvements)

“Max was arguably the best player on the ground. He was the sole ruckman of the day with some support from our Box Hill boys. He competed really hard, showed great energy and ability to cover the ground and get contest to contest. He challenged their ruckman by getting forward and kicking two goals. He kicked a really nice goal from stoppage. I’m really pleased to see Max return to some form. The challenge for him now is to be really consistent and continue to put performances like this or with the same energy continually to produce that.”

Nick Watson (Four goals, 22 disposals, 13 score involvements, eight marks, eight contested possessions)

“It was obviously his first game of VFL footy and first game for Box Hill. He had a pretty exciting first-up effort and he’s got a lot of talent. The most pleasing thing for us was the way he brought into the program, his attitude and his willingness to play his role. Ultimately, he got rewarded off the back of that.”

Henry Hustwaite (22 disposals, 10 score involvements, four tackles, three marks)

“Henry was solid. His hands in congestion were really pleasing to get us from inside to out. His growth from last week in the areas he wanted to work on was evident - those areas being his ability to be really clean and get the ball from in to out and just be really predictable to his teammates.”

Chad Wingard (Four goals, 15 disposals, nine score involvements, six marks, four inside 50s)

“He’s starting to put some good footy together. He’s been a great leader since he’s been back with us. That was evident again on the weekend. His ability to lead the younger group we had out there this week and continue to provide guidance and great support for them to make sure they’re playing their best footy was great. Now for him, I guess it’s about continuing to produce that standard of footy consistently at the level and continue to work on the areas that the coaches want him to continue working on and be really consistent.”

Bodie Ryan (14 disposals, six marks, four intercept possessions)

“It was a solid and reliable performance from Bodie. He was really predictable for his teammates this week and he gave a great opportunity when he won the ball and defended really well as well. It was a nice return from Bodie and he’s becoming a really consistent and reliable player at this level. He’s showing a great sense of toughness as well which we really like.”

Bailey Macdonald (14 disposals, four marks, four intercept possessions) 

“People who were at the game or who watched on the live-stream would’ve seen his run and dash. What we continue to do with that run and dash is make sure it’s really predictable to his teammates. We never want to take that out of his game, so it’s really pleasing to see him do that and then ultimately, he’s defending really well off the back of that. He’s working really hard on that side of his game and being really consistent and I’m sure in the near future at VFL level, there’s a big breakout game for Baz.”

Denver Grainger-Barras (Eight disposals, five intercept possessions, four marks)

“Only low numbers for Denver and it’ll sound funny when I say this but it’s the best game he’s played since he’s returned. He defended really, really well. He got his job done first and foremost and that’s a credit to the other backs who were out there with him that allowed him to do that but credit to Denver as well, he’s worked really hard to simplify his focus and his game. Ultimately, the challenge is for him is to now continue that and we as supporters and coaches be really patient with him in that space to defend really well and let his game grow off the back of that. What we were able to do with Denver was get his match-ups right this week which enabled him to play on players that suit him and he ultimately got that job done.”

…and a couple of shout-outs for some VFL-listed players

Ed Phillips (22 disposals, eight marks, eight score involvements, four inside 50s)

“He played on the wing all day and the wing can be a bit of a lost spot I guess on the field. But he really owned the width of the ground which was really pleasing. He’s very reliable and he’s working really hard to be a great leader in our footy club having joined the leadership group this year. It was good to see him bounce back and return to some good form.”

Jett Latchford (Nine disposals, six intercept possessions, three marks, three tackles)

“Jett plays at Ringwood Footy Club but played his first VFL game on the weekend. He’s been playing in the ruck and down back but we see him as a key defender. He played at full-back for us and was ever reliable in that role. We love him at Box Hill. His attitude, his ability to buy into the program and his ability to be the best version of himself every time he trains or walks into the door or every time he wakes up is what we love about Jet. He’s got a lot of growth in his game and he’s aware of that. We’re really excited about where he ends up if he stays patient and stays the course.” 

Box Hill now focuses on a clash with GWS on Sunday afternoon at Fenjiu Stadium.

Feature image by JM Sacchetta Photography