Box Hill has returned to the winners list after a 23-point win over Essendon in round five of Peter Jackson VFL at Windy Hill. Just three points separated the sides at three-quarter-time before the Hawks slammed on six goals to the Bombers two in the last term to edge clear, the final score 18.10.118 to 14.11.95.
The Bombers had their chances late in the match but failed to capitalise booting four behinds in a row. Hawk's skipper David Mirra led the way in defence along with Sam Collins while Jed Anderson was dangerous with a game-high four goals and Liston Trophy winner, Alex Woodward, continues to put his hand up for AFL selection.
For the Bombers Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti impressed in a role down back with his run and skill while Nick O'Brien and Orazio Fantasia will be pressing for an AFL re-call. Tayte Pears returning after injury kicked three goals and sparked the Bombers in the third term when the Hawks appeared to be getting on top.
It was goal for goal early as both sides tried to gain an edge in the perfect conditions. Box Hill held an eight point lead at the first change but coach Marco Bello wasn't convinced telling his charges they were 'looking good on the inside and getting hurt on the outside' and asking for more of a 'balance'.
However with Essendon Chairman Paul Little looking on from high in the Alan T Hird Stand, the Bombers looked the better side in the second quarter. They kicked the last four goals of the term to take all the momentum into the rooms at half-time, leading by eight points.
Mirra gathered his troops on the ground before entering the rooms urging them to lift the intensity and be mindful of the outside run of the Bombers. That run coming from the likes of O'Brien, Shaun Edwards and Alex Browne and Tipungwuti out of defence.
James Gwilt and Ariel Steinberg directed the Bomber's backline and ruckmen Jonathan Giles and Sam Tagliabue made life difficult for Hawk's counterpart Marc Pittonet, who was trying manfully in the absence of David Hale.
An entertaining third quarter saw neither side give an inch as the scoreboard ticked over, the Hawks booting six goals to the Bombers four, Pears influencing the match late in the term with two goals until Sam Grimley put the Hawks in front just before the three-quarter-time siren.
A calm Bello encouraged his side to maintain their pressure on the Bombers runners and asked Pittonet for one last effort in the ruck. Box Hill kicked the first three goals of the final quarter with Anderson drifting forward to boot two and defender Marc Lock one to help the Hawks gain the break to lead by 21-points at the nine minute mark.
Essendon missed four shots on goal that could have made things interesting however the Hawks had done enough to seal their third win of the year. They now face Sandringham away in round six while Essendon square off with arch enemy the Northern Blues also away at Preston City Oval.
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