Box Hill Hawks was capable of matching it with the best in a very even VFLW season, however wayward kicking at goal cost it several matches and ultimately a better chance to contend for the flag.
BY THE NUMBERS
Position: 6th (after finals)
W-L-D (%): 8-5-2 (119.9%)
Players used: 48
Played every match: 3 – Mietta Kendall, Ellie McLinden and Emerson Woods
AFLW players used: 12 (38 matches)
Debutants: 19 – Chloe Bailey, Janet Baird, Charlotte Baskaran, Ava Campbell, Gabby Collingwood, Cassie Davidson, Macie Gilmour, Bella Gray, Bridie Hipwell, Aine McDonagh, Hayley McLaughlin, Annie Muir, Alyssia Pisano, Molly Simpson, Laura Stone, Caitlin Thorne, Monique Trusler, Matilda van Berkel and Jess Vukic
Best and Fairest: 1st: Jordan Mifsud, 2nd: Grace McRae, 3rd: Matilda Van Berkel, 4th: Nicole Garner, 5th: Akayla Peterson
Lambert-Pearce Medal votes: Jordan Mifsud and Akayla Peterson (14 – winners), Maddie Boyd (6)
Coaches MVP votes: Jordan Mifsud (55), Maddie Boyd (32), Grace McRae (27), Akayla Peterson (27)
VFLW Team of the Year representatives: Maddie Boyd, Jordan Mifsud and Akayla Peterson
Goalkickers: Maddie Boyd (7), Mietta Kendall (7), Sophie Locke (6)
(Averages – Minimum 6 matches)
Disposals: Jordan Mifsud (19.3), Grace McRae (15.9), Matilda Van Berkel (15.4)
Kicks: Grace McRae (12.7), Matilda Van Berkel (10.5), Nadia Von Bertouch (10.3)
Handballs: Jordan Mifsud (9.2), Emerson Woods (5.9), Akayla Peterson (5.2)
Marks: Maddie Boyd (5.2), Nadia Von Bertouch (4.3), Nicole Garner (3.3)
Tackles: Jordan Mifsud (10.4), Grace McRae (6.9), Annie Muir (5.5)
Hitouts: Grace Matser (25.5), Maddie Boyd (11.2), Amanda Tessari (5.2)
Clearances: Jordan Mifsud (4.8), Grace McRae (3.0), Grace Matser (2.6)
Inside-50s: Caitlin Thorne (3.2), Grace McRae (2.9), Akayla Peterson (2.5)
Rebound-50s: Nadia Von Bertouch (3.3), Matilda Van Berkel (1.9), Akayla Peterson (1.6)
WHAT WENT RIGHT
It’s impossible to go past Jordan Mifsud and Akayla Peterson being part of a three-way tie for the Lambert-Pearce Medal. Mifsud put together another prolific season in the middle where she led her team with 19.3 disposals and a stunning 10.4 tackles per game, proving she gets the job done both with and without the ball. Meanwhile Peterson had a rollicking finish with seven of her 14 votes coming in the last four rounds. The Nadia von Bertouch-led defence was hard to penetrate, only twice conceding more than 35 points in a game to finish the season with the third lowest points conceded and third best percentage. Maddie Boyd also enjoyed a wonderful year with more than five marks per game to land another AFLW contract, this time with St Kilda, where she played most games.
WHAT WENT WRONG
While the defence was impressive, the forward line did prove a problem. Despite getting plenty of opportunities, Boyd and Mietta Kendall topped the goalkicking chart with just seven majors. The Hawks kicked a wayward 62.93 at just 40 per cent accuracy, and it cost them several games, in particular both home-and-away games against Essendon and clashes with Williamstown and Geelong – all of which they had more scoring shots but only recorded two draws. To be fair, no club kicked more goals than behinds, but it was more stark at Box Hill City Oval when they could have finished top but ended up sixth.
Another solid season as the club returned to playing under the Box Hill name. They were comfortably beaten by both Grand Finalists but arguably should have been preliminary finalist Essendon twice, which would have secured them a top-two finish. They’d be disappointed to go out of the finals at the first hurdle to the Bombers. Their best was very good, as shown by a five-goal salute over Southern Saints and two big wins over Casey Demons. What that means is they will be sitting back thinking they could have achieved more than they did in the closest competition in the league’s history.