Published on May 16, 2017 7:38 am

Photo: Kadek Thatcher

STATS CENTRAL: Hawks go hunting

Port Melbourne may have wowed Peter Jackson VFL watchers with a new style of play in its 5-0 start to 2017, but what about the competition’s other undefeated team?

The Box Hill Hawks certainly haven’t mirrored aligned club Hawthorn’s below-expectation start to the AFL season, defeating 2016 premier Footscray by two points in Round 1 before knocking off Coburg (66 points), Williamstown (28), Geelong (42) and Richmond (22).

While the Borough is the VFL’s second-ranked team for disposals, marks, uncontested possessions and inside-50s per game – a big deviation from its previous reliance on winning contested ball – the Hawks are doing things a little differently.

Under new senior coach Chris Newman, Box Hill is the third-ranked side for total points scored this year behind Richmond and Footscray, which have both kicked 25 goals or more in wins against North Ballarat.

Hawthorn became known for its potency inside 50 during its premiership years of 2013-15 and the VFL Hawks are proving deadly in front of the big sticks in 2017. They rank only eighth in the competition for inside-50s per game but are scoring a goal every 3.1 times they enter their attacking arc – equal-first with the Bulldogs – and have a goal-scoring accuracy of 72 per cent, over 10 per cent better than the next best team.

Box Hill ranks only mid-table for contested possessions, clearances and disposals per game, but is the second-ranked team for average kicks and the top team for average uncontested marks. New mentor Newman is clearly continuing the Hawks tradition of providing gilt-edged opportunities to forwards by piercing through opposition defences with deliberate, pinpoint disposal.

Some of the prime distributors are Dallas Willsmore (averaging 25 disposals, nine marks and four inside-50s), James Cousins (23, five and three) and Will Hams (22, six and three), while evergreen captain David Mirra (23 disposals and six marks) continues patrolling across half back.

Along with ball-winners like Andrew Moore, Brendan Whitecross and Jonathan O’Rourke, they’re gifting Ty Vickery (11 goals in 2017), Jack Fitzpatrick (10) and Sam Switkowski (six) every chance to hit the scoreboard.

 

Round 5 keys to victory:

39: The ball lived in Essendon’s forward half in its 61-point win against Geelong, with the Bombers recording a huge 72 inside-50s – 39 more than the Cats. 21 of Essendon’s 23 players recorded at least one forward-50 entry, led by up-and-coming VFL state squad member Nick Hind with eight.

22: One of last year’s premier contested-ball teams Port Melbourne lost the contested possession and clearance counts to Footscray in a 31-point victory, but the Borough is winning more of the ball in space in 2017. It had 22 more uncontested possessions than the Bulldogs, with Eli Templeton racking up a game-high 24.

34: The names Ben Jolley, Michael Gibbons, Adam Marcon and Willie Wheeler have been at the top of Williamstown’s disposal tallies for several years, but after racking up 34 disposals in the Seagulls’ 91-point win against North Ballarat, maybe in-form ball-winner Brett Bewley can be added to that group now.

 

Round 5 stats leaders:

KICKS      
Matthew Scharenberg Collingwood 21  
Josh Thomas Collingwood 21  
Jordan Russell Footscray 21  
Blaine Boekhorst Northern Blues 20
Leigh Masters Williamstown 20
James Cousins Box Hill Hawks 19
Andrew Moore Box Hill Hawks 19
James Harmes Casey Demons 19
Alex Neal-Bullen Casey Demons 19
Jacob Townsend Richmond 19
Jay Kennedy-Harris Casey Demons 18
Craig Bird Essendon 18
Eli Templeton Port Melbourne 18
Adam Marcon Williamstown 18
Martin Gleeson Essendon 17
HANDBALLS      
Callum Brown Collingwood 21  
Craig Bird Essendon 20
Shane Savage Sandringham 17
Brett Bewley Williamstown 17
Nick Jamieson Footscray 17
Andrew Swallow Werribee 16
Sam Kerridge Northern Blues 16
Mitch Wallis Footscray 16
Lachlan Cassidy North Ballarat 16
Lachlan Tardrew Collingwood 16
James Harmes Casey Demons 15
Alex Neal-Bullen Casey Demons 15
Eli Templeton Port Melbourne 15
Ben Kennedy Casey Demons 15
Jacob Ballard Richmond 14
MARKS      
Paddy McCartin Sandringham 14  
Will Hams Box Hill Hawks 12
Sam Kerridge Northern Blues 11
Adam Marcon Williamstown 10
Jed Lamb Northern Blues 10
Jordan Russell Footscray 10
Louis Herbert North Ballarat 10
Lewis Young Footscray 10
Kade Stewart Box Hill Hawks 10
Michael Gibbons Williamstown 9
Dallas Willsmore Box Hill Hawks 9
David Fahey Williamstown 9
Luke Tynan Port Melbourne 9
Leigh Masters Williamstown 9
Jordan Lisle Port Melbourne 9
HITOUTS      
Nick Meese Williamstown 52  
Braydon Preuss Werribee 45
Andrew Phillips Northern Blues 38
Sam Draper Essendon 32
Jason Holmes Sandringham 29
Ivan Soldo Richmond 27
Tom Bellchambers Essendon 26
Matt Korcheck Northern Blues 26
Ivan Maric Richmond 26
Marc Pittonet Box Hill Hawks 25
Lewis Pierce Sandringham 25
Khan Haretuku Port Melbourne 22
Tom Goodwin Coburg 20
Jordan Roughead Footscray 19
Mark Kovacevic Coburg 19
TACKLES      
Gus Borthwick Collingwood 14  
Matt Johnston North Ballarat 13
Thomas Silvestro Richmond 13
Scott Selwood Geelong 12
Nash Holmes Essendon 11
Jack Dorgan Williamstown 10
Michael Gibbons Williamstown 9
Jacob Ballard Richmond 9
Sam Switkowski Box Hill Hawks 9
Myke Cook Sandringham 9
Matthew Hanson Werribee 9
Ben Cavarra Williamstown 9
Marc Pittonet Box Hill Hawks 8
Kade Stewart Box Hill Hawks 8
Tom Wilson Northern Blues 8
2017 LEADING GOALKICKERS
VFL   Last Rnd Total
Paddy McCartin Sandringham 4 18
Sam Lloyd Richmond 3 14
Jordan Lisle Port Melbourne 3 13
Rowan Marshall Sandringham 3 12
Ben Lennon Richmond DNP 12
Ty Vickery Box Hill Hawks 2 11
Dylan Conway Port Melbourne 4 11
Tyson Stengle Richmond 1 10
Leigh Masters Williamstown 4 10
Kristian Jaksch Northern Blues 5 10
Development League Last Rnd Total
Will Murphy Box Hill Hawks 3 12
Julian Dobosz Sandringham 3 10
Nathan Smith Sandringham 3 9
Thomas Wilkinson Williamstown INJ 7
Corey Rich Sandringham _ 7
Nicholas Ebinger Williamstown 1 7
Samuel De Soysa Port Melbourne 1 7
Jeremy Gleeson Port Melbourne INJ 6
Sam Fowler Northern Blues INJ 6
Cameron McRorie Coburg 1 6

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