VFL Memory Lane: Box Hill

Until Williamstown gets back on the field, we'll be throwing back to a recent VFL encounter against the club we were scheduled to play round by round. 

2020 original Round 7 fixture: Box Hill v Williamstown, Box Hill City Oval, May 16, 2:00pm.  

Throwback game: Grand final, 2015, Etihad Stadium.    





Williamstown has etched its name into the record books, smashing Box Hill by 54 points at Etihad Stadium on Sunday to claim its 16th VFA/VFL premiership.

After a relatively tight opening half where they led by just five points, the Seagulls completely dominated the second half, booting eleven goals to two in that period to record a historic, standalone 18.12 (120) to 8.18 (66) win.

It was Williamstown's engine room who led the way, with Michael Gibbons, Ben Jolley and Adam Marcon starring to help ensure a thoroughly deserved premiership win, the club's first since 2003 and first as a standaone club since 1990. 

While it was a total team effort, Gibbons shone brightest, picking up the Norm Goss Medal for best afield. It caps off what has been a fantastic year for the young Seagull, who in just his second season has become one of the competition's most prolific midfielders.

Gibbons picked up 28 disposals, 11 clearances and a goal against a talented Hawks midfield that featured plenty of AFL talent. 

Skipper Ben Jolley stood up on the big stage to once again be a vital cog in a Seagulls midfield that runs incredibly deep, while Marcon was his usual industrious self around the stoppages, with plenty of releasing handballs to set up his running teammates.

Dylan Conway, Cameron Lockwood and Andrew Gallucci led all goal-kickers with three apiece, with the Hawks finding it difficult to match up and contain the elusive smaller forwards of the Seagulls. 

Despite giving away a lot of size in the ruck, Nick Meese showed why he has been named the best ruckman in the VFL over the past two seasons, often out-muscling his taller direct opponent and getting boot to ball, which led to a 29 hit-out and nine clearance game from the big man.

The Hawks headed into the game as a heavy favourite with the bookies after finishing top of the table in the home and away season, despite the Seagulls getting the points in the Round 20 matchup between the two sides.

However, the Seagulls saved their 2015 best for last, showing no signs of being overawed by the occasion and stunning the Hawks with intense pressure and speedy ball movement.

Once Williamstown mounted some scoreboard pressure, the pressure around the contest then intensified and resulted in the Hawks making some costly errors with the football.

The Seagulls, meanwhile, found time and space to slice the Hawks apart with crisp footskills. When it wasn't the footskills cutting up the Hawks around the ground, it was the hard running and searing pace from the likes of Mitch Banner and Anthony Anastasio that broke the game open.

In defence, the back six did a power of work in preventing dangerous forwards such as Sam Grimley and Tim O'Brien from getting their hands on the footy, and when they did, they were in positions that were not easy to score goals from, which showed on the scoreboard as the Hawks managed just eight goals from 26 scoring shots.

Williamstown has now won 16 VFA/VFL flags, adding to the incredibly long and successful history that the club had already possessed.

The Seagulls also become the first standalone team since Port Melbourne in 2011 to win a VFL premiership, showing that it is more than possible for standalone clubs to compete with full-time footballers in the AFL.

For coach Andy Collins, it was a second VFL premiership after coaching Sandringham to a flag way back in 1997. 

The Seagulls looked the stronger side in the opening stages of the game, going forward often with Sean Tighe providing a presence early on.

Williamstown jumped out to a 20-point lead at the first break, before the Hawks fought their way back into the contest to draw within five points at halftime.

That would be as close as Box Hill would get, as the Seagulls piled on another five goals in the third term to set up a very handy 22-point lead going into the final term. 

After an arm wrestle in the opening five minutes where Williamstown locked down on their opponents, the floodgates soon opened with the Seagulls' crafty forwards proving to be too much to handle as they romped away to a nine-goal grand final victory. 

Final score: 

Williamstown 18.12 (120) 

Box Hill 8.18 (66)   


Goals: Gallucci, Conway, Lockwood 3, Masters, Anastasio 2, Tighe, Gibbons, Banner, Carr, Clouston 1 





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