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VFL: Hartung inspires win over league leaders

Rnd14: Box Hill highlights Watch highlights of David Hale, Dallas Willsmore, Tim O'Brien, James Sicily, Kaiden Brand, Kyle Cheney and Billy Hartung playing for Box Hill.
Debutant, Billy Hartung of the Hawks in action during the 2014 AFL round 07 match between the Hawthorn Hawks and the St Kilda Saints at the MCG, Melbourne on May 03, 2014. (Photo: Michael Willson/AFL Media)
Billy Hartung.

AN INSPIRED final term by Hawthorn youngster Billy Hartung helped Box Hill record an upset seven-point win over ladder-leaders Footscray at Whitten Oval on Saturday.

Leading by just four points at the final change, the Hawks kicked five goals to four in a tense last quarter to secure their ninth win of the season and move back into second place on the VFL ladder.

In his first game back from injury, Hartung sparked the Hawks by displaying the assets that made him one of the top prospects in last year’s national draft.

Possessing electrifying pace, Hartung was pivotal in generating run through the middle for Box Hill and used the brilliantly going forward, finishing with 16 disposals in a match-winning performance.

“In that last quarter he was pretty pivotal in us getting over the line,” Football Academy Development Coordinator Damian Caroll told

“He was able to break the lines with his run and carry and use the ball really well, which was certainly really pleasing for us that he could step up in that tight game and help us get over the line.”

It was Hartung’s first game in five weeks, after missing a month of footy with an elbow injury sustained against the Eagles in Round 12.

A player with elite endurance, however, Hartung returned with his fitness in tact and impressed the coaching staff.

“He ran the game out really well and his match fitness was really steady,” Caroll said.

After being omitted from the AFL team for Friday night’s win over Adelaide, veteran ruckman/forward David Hale also played a key role in his side’s win.

Looking to re-capture the form that made him one of the game’s best big men in the league last season, Hale dominated the ruck against Footscray’s Western Bulldogs-listed big man, Ayce Cordy.

Hale finished the game with 45 hit outs, 13 disposals, seven clearances, four tackles and a goal.

“We definitely expected that type of output from him,” Caroll said.

“It was a pretty dominant performance from him in terms of his ruck work.

“He competed really well and we were happy with his attitude and leadership on the day, particularly in the last quarter.”

Developing key position player Kaiden Brand played one of his best games for the year in the win, playing as a key defender on Bulldogs-listed forward Jarrad Grant and resting ruckmen Cordy and Darcy Fort.

Grant, who has played 61 games at AFL level managed just two goals from nine disposals.

Brand was impressive in his one-on-one defensive efforts but it was in his ability to read the play that impressed the former Box Hill premiership coach.

“He took six marks – a lot of them were from opposition kicks into their forward line,” Caroll said.

“We’ve been happy with his progress this year but it jumped up again on Saturday – we were rapt with his attack on the ball.

“He’s been competing a lot better and that’s what we look for from all our defenders whether they’re playing at AFL or VFL level.

“It was terrific to see him get some reward because he’s been putting in a lot of work with (Development Coach) Brent Guerra and (Assistant Coach) Luke Beveridge.”

Box Hill have a bye this weekend before taking on Coburg at City Oval on Saturday 27 July.  

FOOTSCRAY 4.2 4.4 9.7 13.11 (89)
BOX HILL HAWKS 2.0 6.4 10.5 15.6 (96)

C. Smith 3, L. Jones 2, W. Hayes 2, J. Grant 2, B. Prismall, J. Tutt, M. Talia, J. Russell
M. Lock 3, X. Murphy 3, S. Grimley 2, B. Wood, S. Iles, D. Hale, J. Sicily, B. Hartung, L. Andrews, D. Willsmore

C. Smith, B. Goodes, S. Higgins, F. Roberts, M. Jensen, W. Hayes
K. Cheney, L. Andrews, A. Woodward, K. Brand, M. Lock, X. Murphy