BOX HILL HAWKS secured a gutsy 15-point win over Port Melbourne and importantly clawed its way back into the premiership conversation, as Michael Collins reports.
Trailing for much of the second half, Box Hill reeled in the Borough with a combination of the x-factor from Sam Grimley- three of his four goals coming in the final term- and Derek Wanganeen and David Mirra’s swift ball use.
Sam Pleming was Port Melbourne’s best and the game’s most influential player as he once again freely dictated play across halfback with timely intercept marking and instilled calmness.
The signs for Box Hill weren’t positive in the first quarter as Port’s Dean Galea took hold of the Hawks’ backline with four first term goals. Despite playing against the wind, the Borough held a four-point lead at quarter time.
In the second term, the Borough appropriately grabbed advantage of the slight breeze. Due to Box Hill’s poor discipline during the term – three of Port’s six goals coming from free kicks – Port gained a 17-point lead at the main break.
After halftime, Port Melbourne threatened to blow the flood gates wide open with the first four scoring shots. Yet, a sudden stop in play due to Hawk Jordan Kelly coming off second best in a contest, allowed Box Hill to regroup and seize the all important momentum. Hawthorn-listed players Matt Spangher and Kyle Cheney began to win critical contests deep in defence and with Jed Anderson’s classy dribbling goal, the Hawks closed the difference to seven-points at three-quarter-time.
The final deciding quarter became more about ‘cometh the moment’ than about a sheer test of will. With no more than five minutes left, Port’s Josh Scipione, who marked strongly at half forward, tragically watched his kick pick out the man on the mark and it went like a slingshot to the Hawks’ end for the game-breaking goal.
Footy can be so cruel but where there is a loser there is always a winner. And for Box Hill, this is perhaps its greatest win yet this season.
Only time will tell if the Hawks’ comeback victory was a season defining one but what we do know now is that the race for the top four is wide open.
Next Saturday, Box Hill Hawks will look to try and further entrenched itself in the top four against Bendigo Gold, while Port Melbourne enjoy a week off before an important test against the Werribee Tigers.