Hawks enter the finals race humming

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With the AFL season coming to an end after the loss to Fremantle on the weekend, supporters attention now turns to the Box Hill Hawks whose chase to win the VFL premiership starts this week in the first round of the Smithy’s VFL final series.

The Premiership Hunt

The Hawks are chasing their first premiership victory in the VFL competition since 2018 when current Hawks assistant coach Chris Newman was at the helm.  Box Hill have given themselves the best opportunity for success after finishing third in the regular season, with 14 wins out of their 18 games and a very healthy percentage of over 127.

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Under first year Box Hill coach Zane Littlejohn, the team has performed incredibly well to get themselves a double chance in the finals and will start their premiership tilt against the Michael Barlow coached Werribee Tigers on Saturday afternoon at Avalon Airport Oval, kicking off at 2:05 pm.

Going into the finals series, the Hawks have played two games over the past month, with a bye three weeks ago and then the pre-season bye due to the Wildcard round games being played, meaning that the players will be chomping at the bit to get out there and perform to their absolute best.

Due to the complex nature of the VFL fixture caused by the 21 team competition in 2023, this will be the first time that the Hawks meet a non-AFL affiliated Tigers team. Werribee had 15 wins for the season and a whopping percentage of 167, making this a massive test for the young Box Hill team.

Zane Littlejohn has led the Box Hill team to a double chance in his first senior as head coach. (Getty Images)

To be eligible for the finals, a player needs to have played no more than 12 AFL games throughout the season and they must have played 1 VFL game for the season, meaning that players like Josh Weddle and Seamus Mitchell, who both played VFL throughout 2023, are not eligible for the finals.

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Box Hill has put in an exemption for players who are just over the threshold of games played for the AFL, including the likes of Cam Mackenzie, Harry Morrison and Finn Maginness. At the time of writing those exemptions look unlikely to be granted, meaning Box Hill will have a healthy list of 17 Hawthorn listed players to choose from.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – MAY 20: Ned Long of the Box Hill Hawks marks the ball during the round nine VFL match between Box Hill Hawks and Southport Sharks at Box Hill City Oval on May 20, 2023 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Josh Chadwick/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

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Player Eligibility for Finals

Of the 17 Hawthorn listed players who are eligible for the Box Hill finals series push, we have the likes of Ned Long, Jai Serong, Jacob Kositchke, Brandon Ryan, Denver Grainger-Barrass and Henry Hustwaite, who have all played AFL football in the last month for the senior team and this experience will go a long way in helping their chase for a premiership.

While fielding a strong contingent of Hawthorn players, the Box Hill team also contains a wealth of experience through the likes of Cal Porter, Jaylon Thorpe, Callum Brown, Ed Phillips, Hugh Beasley and Damien Mascitti who have featured heavily for Box Hill this year and helped the team to be successful both on and off the ground.

Fergus Greene is one of 17 Hawthorn listed players who are aiming for a premiership at Box Hill in 2023
(Getty Images)

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Talking Hawks will be covering the VFL finals series throughout and keeping you informed about the Box Hill Hawks chase to secure another premiership in the VFL.

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