The Box Hill Hawks head into their second bye of the season in eighth position on the VFL ladder.
In Max Bailey’s first season as coach, there is clearly a lot of young talent in the ranks driving the club’s quest for back-to-back Premierships.
Here is our mid-season review of each AFL-listed player who is yet to play a senior game this season.
Ryan Schoenmakers (25)
Best performance: R6 v Footscray – 14 disposals, 7 marks, 1 goal
Schoenmakers is yet to add to his 121 senior game tally in 2019. The 28-year-old has endured a frustrating season in his 12th campaign as a Hawk, with injury consistently interrupting his ability to have a clean run at it. The premiership player has managed just four games for Box Hill so far this year, averaging nine disposals, four marks and just shy of a goal per game. He will be hoping to have a cleaner run at it in the back half of the year.
Changkuoth Jiath (29)
Best performance: R6 v Footscray – 17 disposals, 4 marks, 3 tackles, 6 rebound 50s.
‘CJ’ started the opening fortnight of the 2019 season on fire, with his defensive ability to impact contests drawing significant praise from coaches and supporters alike. On the big stage of MCG in Round 6, ‘CJ’ was a standout in using his physical attributes to fly for intercept marks and providing electric rebound out of defence.
“’CJ’ was at his dynamic and acrobatic best today and looked really strong in the air. His ability to impact multiple contests in the air as a defender was really telling for us. Again, his ability to impact at ground level by tackling and corralling was first class,” Bailey said.
The second-year Hawk has found things tougher going recently, having to play on much bigger, experienced opponents deep in Box Hill’s defence. But in being relatively new to his defensive craft, each game is proving to be a vital learning experience for the youngster.
Mathew Walker (33)
Best performance: R6 v Footscray – 10 disposals, 6 marks, 2 goals.
An interrupted pre-season forced Mat Walker to wait until Round 4 to make his debut in the brown and goal. And it was worth the wait. In three quarters, Walker took three big contested marks, had five shots on goal and kicked a bicycle kick goal over his head on the goal-line. Although not having taken a game by the scruff of its neck since, the first-year Hawk possesses a rare combination of overhead potency, elite speed and remarkable goal sense that promises to be a tantalising prospect for Hawks fans for years to come.
Jacob Koschitzke (34)
Best performance: R3 v Port Melbourne – 6 disposals, 4 marks, 1 rebound 50.
Although coming into Box Hill’s side this season after an injury-interrupted pre-season, ‘Kozzy’ has shown that he is a strong, physical presence who can match it with the opposition’s best key forwards. His Round 3 performance, in which he performed strongly in the absence of fellow key-defenders David Mirra and Tim O’Brien, saw him receive praise from Coach Max Bailey.
“Jacob was our main key defender today, and it was a great learning opportunity for him to now be the man and really control things in the backline. He has a crack at everything. He has taken some great strides forward and needs to continue being physical because that is when he is playing his best,” Bailey said.
Jackson Ross (37)
Best performance: R1 v Casey - 15 disposals, 4 marks, 5 goals.
Jackson Ross commenced his season in fine fashion, lighting up Box Hill City Oval to kick a career-high five goals in Round 1’s Grand-Final re-match. The second-year Hawk has since gone from strength to strength, sitting comfortably in second place on the VFL’s leading goalkicking list with 19 goals, averaging nearly 3 per game. Ross has regularly looked a class above at VFL level this season with his clean ball handling skills and has significantly improved his defensive pressure to become an all-round player. Expect the sharpshooter to push for a senior birth as the season continues to unfold.
Darren Minchington (38)
Best performance: R4 v Coburg – 12 disposals, 2 marks, 1 goal.
Unfortunately, injuries have so far curtailed Darren Minchington’s first year at Hawthorn. However, the dynamic small forward received praise for his Round 4 debut in the brown and gold, from Assistant Coach Torin Baker.
“Darren played his first game for the club which was a real lifter for everyone within the group. He looked really good with his movement and was extremely sharp with his ball use,” Baker said.
In his three games this season, Minchington has proved to be a selfless player with sharp hands, and a habit of making something happen every time he is near the ball.
Harrison Jones (40)
Best performance: R4 v Coburg – 22 disposals, 8 tackles, 2 goals.
Harry Jones has taken his impressive pre-season form into his performances at Box Hill this season. The second-year Hawk is universally loved by coaches and players alike for his hunt and aggression towards the contest. Jones has consistently been a warrior in the inside midfield for Box Hill, averaging five tackles per game with tallies of eight against Casey, Coburg and Williamstown.
Expect Jones to continue to increase his possession numbers and improve his inside-outside midfield balance, to take his game to the next level.
Oliver Hanrahan (41)
Best performance: R9 v Williamstown – 17 disposals, 6 marks, 1 goal.
Ollie Hanrahan has impressed with his attitude in taking on a new-found midfield role this season. His energy and leg speed around the ball has continually seen him make something happen out of nothing. Hanrahan’s Round 4 performance against Coburg, in which he notched 17 disposals and a goal, saw him draw praise from Assistant Coach Torin Baker.
“Ollie’s quick feet and damaging foot skills were certainly on display again. We are really impressed with the fact he is in the top four of the competition for score involvements. He continues to find ways to make us a better team,” Baker said.
Teia Miles (42)
Best performance: R8 v Collingwood – 22 disposals, 8 marks, 1 goal
Teia Miles has proven to be Max Bailey’s trump card this season. Box Hill’s Mr Fix it has regularly been switched from defence to attack mid-game, and making a significant impact, averaging 18 disposals and a goal per game. His performance in the side’s Round 9 victory over Williamstown, in which he recorded five rebound 50s and two second-half goals, typified his versatility.
You always know what you are going to get from Miles each week; a player who breaks the lines with zip and pace, and continues to be a crucial cog in Box Hill’s ball movement.
Ned Reeves (43)
Best performance: 6 disposals, 4 marks, 4 tackles, 37 hitouts.
Selected during the pre-season supplemental selection period, Reeves has only been a part of Hawthorn’s program for a short time. But in the absence of ruckman Marc Pittonet, Reeves has now found himself holding the mantle of Box Hill’s no.1 ruck position. The 209cm prospect responded to produce his best performance for the club last week, gathering four marks and beating his direct opponent in hitouts 37-28. Expect Reeves to continue to blossom under (former ruckman) coach Max Bailey’s tutelage, as he works towards improving his physicality and aggression towards the contest.
Damon Greaves (44)
Best performance: R4 v Coburg – 16 disposals, 5 marks, 3 inside 50s.
Damon Greaves has impressed coaches and players alike with his discipline in defence in his first season at Hawthorn. His performance against Coburg in which he registered 16 touches and five marks, was applauded by Assistant Coach Torin Baker.
“We see Damon getting better and better every week. He looked really reliable with the ball in hand as well as halving a lot of his contests. The signs are all pointing to him being a player who will give everything possible to get better,” Baker said.
Will Golds (45)
Best performance: R4 v Coburg – 20 disposals, 11 marks, 2 goals.
Will Golds has made the outer wing position at Box Hill City Oval his own, in his first season at the club. Averaging 16 disposals and five marks per game, Golds has consistently proven to be a creative player by foot, who is not afraid to take the inside kick in setting up Box Hill’s running play. The first-year Hawk had a day-out against Coburg in Round 4, racking up 20 disposals, 11 marks and two goals in a performance that rewarded his hard running all day. Golds is continuing to improve on making the simple decisions with ball in hand, and as an elite runner and user of the ball, will play a pivotal role in Box Hill’s quest for back-to-back premierships.