The Box Hill Hawks fell to a fourth loss on the season on Saturday afternoon, defeated by a spirited Port Melbourne at Box Hill City Oval by just seven points. 

Fine margins were always going to decide the destiny of the four points given the inclement conditions, but a combination of a slow start and profligacy sensationally left the hosts 26-points adrift at half-time.

The former was a consequence of Port Melbourne’s early industry, with The Borough kicking the opening four majors of the afternoon to lead by 24-points at the first change, while the latter was the result of a Box Hill side lacking their usual cutting edge in front of goal. 

Zane Littlejohn’s men responded positively after quarter time to dominate the second term, but a frustrating return of 2.7 saw the boys in brown and gold lose ground to the more efficient Port, when the same effort and opportunities could’ve broken the game open on another day.

The Hawks settled into a better rhythm after the long break and looked more like themselves as a result, kicking 6.1 to the visitors’ 2.6 in the second half, including four unanswered goals between the 28 minute mark of the third term and the 23 minute mark of the fourth term to draw within a single point with five minutes to play.

But, sadly, Port found the all-important – and final – goal of the afternoon to stop the comeback dead in its tracks and seal an upset victory.. 

The Hawks put the sluggish start behind them to fight the game out to the very end, slowly but surely working their way into the contest to finish +15 for disposals, +4 for inside 50s, +16 for marks and +22 for tackles. Tellingly, and indisputably, Box Hill were second best where it mattered most: on the scoreboard.

Having given up the first goal of the day inside a minute they trailed for the duration of the afternoon and would’ve pinched the result had they found the latest of late goals to win the game. 

Josh Ward was named his side’s best player on the day, with his run and general work rate instrumental in the Hawks’ second half fightback. The Hawthorn no.25 had 29 touches, won eight clearances, drove his side inside 50 10 times and laid nine tackles in an encouraging display.

Ward’s midfield partner Henry Hustwaite was similarly impressive, with the hard-working on-baller finishing the day as the highest ranked player on the ground. He knocked up a game-high 34 disposals, 25 of which were contested, won six clearances, laid a game-high 11 tackles and took three marks. 

The output of that pair was helped no end by the service of Max Ramsden, who also featured among the Hawks’ best. ‘Ramma’ lead all-comers with 48 hit-outs, laid six tackles, won six clearances and kicked a goal in a fine display from the developing ruck-forward. 

Jai Serong’s excellent VFL season continued, with the key back winning 22 hard-fought disposals, taking six marks and tallying eight rebounds 50s. Serong was assured throughout the contest, especially during spells in which his side were hemmed inside defensive 50.

Cal Porter surprised no one by relishing and performing in the challenging conditions, with the skipper having 25 touches – 17 of which were contested – and a game-high 10 clearances. Like Ward and Hustwaite, Porter’s efforts were instrumental in getting his side back into the match after half-time.

Lastly among Box Hill’s best was half-back Seamus Mitchell. A reliable presence across the last line of defence when his team was under pressure, Mitchell’s ability to diffuse difficult situations, use the ball well and play positive football was a highlight of his performance. He tallied 21 touches and laid five tackles in a good individual showing. 

Both Mitch Lewis and Jasper Scaife battled their way through less than ideal conditions for big forwards to boot two goals apiece, while Max Ramsden, Daniel Wood, Jaylon Thorpe, Josh Bennetts and Seb Amoroso added singles.

Box Hill return to action next Sunday afternoon, hosting Geelong at Box Hill City Oval from 2:05pm.

Box Hill




9.10 64

Port Melbourne




10.11 71

Ward, Hustwaite, Ramsden, Serong, Porter, Mitchell

Goals: Scaife, Lewis 2, Wood, Thorpe, Ramsden, Bennetts

Disposals: Hustwaite 34, Ward 29, Porter 25, Serong 22, Mitchell 21, Phillips 17