The Box Hill Hawks recorded a dominant wire-to-wire victory over the visiting GWS on Sunday afternoon, running out 68-point winners and returning to the competition’s top six.

With two debutants in the line-up – Jasper Scaife and Cody Anderson – the Hawks overcame the loss of Bailey Macdonald pre-match and Chad Wingard after half-time to record a seventh win on the season and move to fifth on the ladder.

It was the first time the Hawks have secured back-to-back wins since rounds four and five of the season and, in doing so, keep pace with the ladder-leading Footscray and the rest of the top four.

Underpinned by a well-organised defence, a potent forward 50 and an even contribution from every line, Box Hill started the contest as they meant to go on: by kicking away to a 28-point lead and keeping the Giants goal less through the first quarter.

By game’s end, 11 players had kicked majors, all but four players had recorded double-digit disposals and the team in brown and gold boasted eight of the top 10 rated players on the field.  

Harry Morrison was named the Hawks’ best on the day, recording a game-high 31 touches, a game-high 13 marks, three inside 50s, four rebound 50s and three clearances in a strong all-round performance.

Having starred in Box Hill’s last start victory at Windy Hill, Nick Watson was just as impressive second up. The Hawks’ top pick in the 2023 National Draft kicked a game-high 4.2, played a meaningful role in a handful more and tallied 18 disposals and eight marks.

Best afield last weekend, Max Ramsden continued his fine form with 3.1 from 14 touches. The developing ruck also tallied a team-high 26 hit-outs, took five marks, won three clearances and laid five tackles in another excellent performance from the versatile big man. 

Not to be outdone by Watson, Josh Bennetts turned in a stellar individual performance of his own. The second-year Hawk gave his team the perfect start by booting two goals from 10 touches in the first term, ultimately going on to finish with 20 disposals and four marks as he linked midfield and attack all afternoon.

Henry Hustwaite, a second-year player himself, was another recognised by his coaches as one of Box Hill’s best. The inside mid recorded game-highs in clearances (10) and tackles (9), while 11 of his 22 possessions were contested.

And, lastly among the listed best was wingman Ed Phillips. A disciplined, hard-working and important outlet all afternoon, Phillips was typically reliable in his role dictating and maintaining the width of the ground from first siren to last, patrolling his side of Box Hill City Oval on his way to 19 touches. 

Finn Maginness and Jai Serong warrant commendation, too, with the AFL-listed pair recording 29 and 27 disposals respectfully. Maginness backed up a strong performance against Essendon, while Serong’s return from concussion protocols was confident and assured. 

Ultimately, the Hawks' dominance can be illustrated by the stats sheet. +88 in total disposals, +40 in marks and +13 in tackles tell the story fairly succinctly: Box Hill was able to control both the ball and how the game was played. In fact, from the time debutant Jasper Scaife booted the game’s first score – a behind – after two minutes, the boys in brown and gold never trailed. 

By the nine-minute mark of the opening term Ramsden and Bennett had kicked their first goals of the afternoon, but between the 12 and 20-minute marks the Giants enjoyed arguably their best patch of the contest. Sadly for the visitors, this period returned just five behinds.

Nine points down and looking a touch more settled, the wind was taken out of GWS’s sails when Bennetts kicked his second, wingman and former Giant Andrew Mathieson chimed in with a maiden VFL goal and Watson steered through his first to take the Hawks to the first break 28-points to the good.

If the team in orange were flattened by how the first quarter ended, they’d have been disappointed by how the second started. Within six minutes Box Hill had added three more via Ben Cavarra, Scaife and Watson to all but end the contest. 

While GWS would find their first via the boot of Toby McMullin, Cody Anderson joined fellow debutant Scaife among the goalkickers shortly thereafter. 

The Giants’ Joshua Smith pulled one back nearing time on, only for Ramsden to cancel it out almost immediately.

By the time the siren sounded to end the first half the ball was in the hands of Tyler Brown, who made no mistake with his set shot to cap an excellent quarter of footy in which the Hawks booted 6.2 and extended their advantage from 28-points to 52-points. 

GWS had the better of the third term and was able to translate a better performance onto the scoreboard, kicking 3.3 to Box Hill’s 2.1.

Goals from Phoenix Gothard, Nicholas Quigg and Conor Stone gave the visitors some encouragement, while Jaylon Thorpe booted a nice goal on his return from injury and second-gamer Remy Maclean did likewise when given the opportunity.

44-points to the good with one to play, any hopes of an unlikely Giants comeback were snuffed out when Thorpe kicked his second after just two minutes, Ramsden added a third three minutes later and swingman Daniel Wood chimed in just two minutes after that. Suddenly the margin was out beyond 10-goals. 

The GWS kicked three on the trot in a heartening 10-minute spell for them, but once the match ticked into time on it was the team in brown and gold who ran the contest out the better.

Watson kicked back-to-back goals to take his tally to four for the day before Cavarra and Cody Anderson booted their second goals of a successful afternoon. Having kicked the first eight of the match-up the Hawks booted the final four to record a comfortable 68-point victory.

Box Hill travel to Punt Road next Saturday afternoon for a meeting with the ninth-placed Richmond, before heading into the second of three byes the week after.

Box Hill




20.8 128

GWS Giants




8.12 60

Morrison, Watson, Ramsden, Bennetts, Hustwaite, Phillips

Goals: Watson 4, Ramsden 3, Thorpe, Cavarra, Bennetts, Anderson 2, Wood, Scaife, Mathieson, Maclean, Brown

Disposals: Morrison 31, Maginness 29, Serong 27, Ward 22, Ryan 22, Porter 21, Bennetts 20