The Box Hill Hawks have broken through for their first Swisse Wellness VFL Women’s win as they snatched a thriller over the Seaford Tigerettes by four points in Round 9.
As Callum O’Connor reports, the Hawks had to fight the desperate Tigerettes’ pressure all day and almost blew their chances of victory with haphazard goalkicking, before Kristy Stratton stepped up to seal the match with two minutes left. After eight winless matches, the youngest side in VFL Women’s finally sang the song after the 4.12 (36) to 4.8 (32) win.
With both sides looking for their first win, it was unsurprising that the contest was nervous and scrappy early. Box Hill’s Pip Peschke and Seaford’s Georgia Walker emerged as the cool heads under pressure for their sides, while the marquee match-up of Hawk tagger Chantella Perera on Tigerettes star Kate Gillespie-Jones enthralled all day.
Box Hill kicked with the wind in the first quarter and was helped by the ruck dominance of Abbey Tanner. After a string of behinds, Ellie Macdonald got the Hawks on the board but Courtney Munn replied for Seaford after a strong contested mark. The Tigerettes maintained their pressure in the second quarter and Dani Lawrence snuck through a goal when they exploited poor defensive marking by Box Hill to go into the main break two points up.
The Hawks dominated forward entry and scoring shots in the third quarter but couldn’t build a lead – in the first 10 minutes Box Hill could have sealed the game, but instead racked up nine straight behinds with Emily Gilder (three) and Perera (two) the chief offenders. Seaford was rewarded for its defensive strength when Carly Bury goaled late in the quarter then soccered through a behind to tie the three-quarter time scores, giving the more seasoned Tigerettes the momentum.
However, things took a turn for the worse for Seaford when Walker was taken from the ground late in the third quarter after a heavy collision and midfielder Sarah Hosking hobbled off with an ankle injury halfway through the final quarter with the game precariously poised. The Hawks made the most of their chance as Gilder marked in the goalsquare to kick her first goal and put her side six points clear.
Seaford would not be denied though. Two forays faded offline but a Box Hill kick-in infringement gave them another chance. Jas Rolland, having presented tirelessly as a forward, won a free kick from the ball-up and made no mistake from the top of the square with less than four minutes to go.
With the crowd at their backs, the Hawks mounted another attack and a blind kick out of the pack hit Stratton on the chest 30 metres from goal. The second-gamer’s nerve did not fail her and she put through the most important kick yet of her career to restore her side’s lead. Two and a half minutes later, the siren rang out over Box Hill City Oval: History for the Hawks, despair for Seaford.
- CLICK HERE for a full replay of Box Hill Hawks v Seaford
In other Round 9 results:
- A three-pronged forward attack and an infallible defensive set-up saw Darebin cruise to a 49-point win over the VU Western Spurs, 11.8 (74) to 4.1 (25). Katie Brennan (four goals), Darcy Vescio and Stephanie Simpson (three each) starred in front of the big sticks as the Spurs felt the loss of key forwards Harriet Cordner and Jess Francke.
- The blockbuster between Melbourne Uni and St Kilda was billed as the Moana Hope vs Tayla Harris bout, but became all about the Sharks emerging as genuine flag contenders. St Kilda cruised to a 22-point win – 10.4 (64) to 6.6 (42) – to push the Mugars out of the top four.
- Geelong is doing all it can to remain in finals contention after defeating Cranbourne by 46 points despite losing Jaime Woollett and Elise Strachan to injury. Kate Darby’s rebirth as a forward continued as the erstwhile defender bagged four majors for the Cats in the 11.6 (72) to 4.2 (26) result.
- Diamond Creek remains atop the ladder after accounting for the injury-depleted Eastern Devils by 37 points – 10.12 (72) to 5.5 (35) – to all but end the Devils’ finals chances.