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Grimley helps Box Hill to prelim

QF Box Hill Highlights: Grimley Watch Sam Grimley's 3 goals he kicked for Box Hill in the VFL Qualifying Final

SAM GRIMLEY helped Box Hill lock up a spot on preliminary final weekend by turning in a three-goal last quarter performance in the Hawks 30-point win over Williamstown. 

It was a game where the final score belied the closeness of the contest after a last quarter burst of goals from Box Hill. At the 17-minute mark of the fourth term the Hawks only led by two points with neither team having kicked a major for the quarter.

The opening quarter saw Williamstown jump out of the blocks and take an eight-point lead into quarter time and it could have been worse for Box Hill if not for the efforts of their defensive unit. In particular, Kyle Cheney seemed to be cutting off attacks everywhere and he ended the day with 25 disposals, nine marks and according to coach Damien Carroll, best-on-ground honours. 

Carroll also praised the efforts of his defensive core, efforts made all the more impressive when looking at how undersized they were with no real key position height in defence. Tom Gordon was the tallest at 194cms, but after that there was Angus Litherland (192), Jordan Kelly (191), Cheney (186) and David Mirra (186).  

“I felt that once again they stood up… they were probably undersized at times but their ability to compete against taller guys is quite admirable,” said Carroll. 

“It’s a credit to them that we’ve been able to be really diligent with out defence behind the ball.” 

If Williamstown owned the first quarter, then Box Hill definitely claimed the second with a five-goal effort where they ran rampant and oozed confidence. The third quarter was more of a stalemate, which set the scene for a thrilling finish with only three points separating the teams at the last break. 

With five of the top six possession getters being Hawthorn listed, the AFL team’s depth was on display with commanding performances from Cheney, Mitch Hallahan, Jonathan Simpkin, Michael Osborne and Will Langford.

Also pleasing for Hawthorn fans would be the heroics of big man Sam Grimley in the final term. It is the second time this season that the 199cm Hawk has kicked three goals in the last quarter, he previously stood up against Port Melbourne in July.

The Hawks will look to replicate their fourth quarter form two weeks from now in a Preliminary Final. 

“[I told them to] enjoy the present, they’ve worked hard for it. We are really rapt to be in this position, but for us it’s all about the opportunity going forward. We will try and get as many people up in a couple of week’s time so we’ve got a healthy list to pick from,” Carroll said. 

Box Hill will play the winner of Werribee and Casey in a Preliminary Final on Sunday the 15th of September.

Final score:
Box Hill  2.2 7.5 8.7 13.8 (86)
Williamstown  3.4 5.8 7.10 7.14 (56)

Goals: L. Tobin 3, S. Grimley 3, B. Retzlaff 2, S. Cust 2, S. Iles, J. Simpkin, J. Ceglar
Best: K. Cheney, S. Iles, M. Osborne, J. Simpkin, T. Gordon, L. Tobin

Hawthorn listed players:

34. Jordan Kelly
Stats: 10 disposals, 3 marks, 2 clearances

Wasn’t as prominent as he has been in recent weeks in terms of finding the ball but still made his mark on the game with his tough, uncompromising approach. He probably went close 100% efficiency with his 10 touches and two of his three marks were the result of sitting under a high ball from the opposition kick and getting crunched.

35. Sam Grimley
Stats: 7 disposals, 5 marks, 3 goals

He was very quiet until the final quarter where he came to life and put the game away for Box Hill. All three of his goals came in the last term from set shots – showing real composure in the moment. 

38. Mitch Hallahan
Stats: 26 disposals, 9 marks, 8 tackles

Was his first game back after sitting out the last two weeks and he didn’t miss a beat. Found the ball inside and led the team in clearances but also managed to get out and run to find the ball in a bit of space. He just has that ability to find the ball no matter what role he is forced into.

40. Tim O’Brien
Stats: 7 kicks, 2 handballs, 6 marks

Didn’t find the ball in dangerous positions as much this week but displayed his strong hands and ability to hit a target by foot when he did get it. Early on in the piece he took a strong pack mark, when the ball hits his hands it normally sticks there.

46. Derick Wanganeen
Stats: 13 disposals, 5 rebounds 50s, 5 tackles

Continued his strong form down back, and has officially added the term ‘tough’ to his resume. He chased and harassed all day as usual but this week he also stood under a high ball, pulling in the mark and copping a huge knock for his efforts. It didn’t slow him down at all and he continued about his business like nothing had happened. 

47. Jonathon Ceglar
Stats: 8 disposals, 24 hitouts, 1 goal

Was effective in the ruck and led both teams for hitouts. The big man also put himself in dangerous positions and was rewarded with a goal after earning a free kick from the pocket. His presence allows for a big man rotation that really stretches defences. 

61. Angus Litherland
Stats: 5 kicks, 3 handballs, 3 marks

Sacrificed his normal rebounding, dashing game to play a bit more defensively close to goal. Didn’t get beaten in a one-on-one contest all day and had to play taller than his 192cms on numerous occasions. 

63. Kyle Cheney
Stats: 20 kicks 5 handballs, 9 marks

He was incredible from the first bounce until the final siren, cutting off Williamstown’s attacks and launching Box Hill’s forays forward. Five of his nine marks were from opposition kicks and he also snuck forward of centre a few times to pump the ball inside 50 four times to compliment his nine rebounds 50s. Best on ground. 

65. Will Langford
Stats: 15 disposals, 3 marks, 6 tackles

He was really prominent early and was using his pace to burn the opposition before he wore a huge knock in the second quarter. To his credit he came back on and made a difference. He is backing himself a lot more now than he was earlier in the season and has added an outside game to go with his usual tough, grunt work in the packs. Also, he had the best kick of the day, a perfectly placed 50-metre bomb to Bryce Retzlaff that didn’t give the backman a chance.

70. Luke Lowden
Stats: 13 disposals, 6 marks, 21 hitouts

Spent his time in the forward half creating a mismatch with his height when he was shouldering the rucking duties. He had a couple of opportunities that he didn’t capitalise on but his work around the ground made up for it. Every week he does something that someone as tall as him just shouldn’t be able to do. 

72. Jonathan Simpkin
Stats: 24 disposals, 5 marks, 1 goal

His ball use was nothing short of extraordinary all day. Several times he outsmarted his opponent by doing small, nuanced things like turning his body at the right time – he has a real footballer’s brain and it shows. His goal was a long bomb from 50 after streaming through the middle of the ground, a real treat to watch. 

77. Michael Osborne
Stats: 20 disposals, 8 marks, 6 tackles

Came to life in the second quarter where he was easily the best player on the ground continually pumping the ball inside 50. His ability to work in congestion and find targets in close was on display all game long.

80. Xavier Ellis
Stats: 8 disposals, 3 marks, 3 clearances

Played the first few minutes of the third quarter but didn’t come back on after that. In the first half he was strong in the packs and in one play he roved the ruck contest perfectly, timing his run so he received the ball on the move to break clear of the congestion and launch the ball inside 50 which resulted in a goal for Box Hill.