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Round 10 - Box Hill v Sandringham

I'm a little surprised this game hasn't been talked about, particularly as it was the only game on in Melbourne on Sunday in either the AFL or VFL.

A very good win by Box Hill, who started to get a grip on the game about 20 minutes in. The Zebras kicked I think the first three goals, but it was the home side's game after that.

The game had a really good atmosphere, probably played in front of a crowd nudging 3,000. Good to see so many families heading to the footy on a relatively warm and still June afternoon.

The first half was played at a fast, frenetic pace - much above that usually seen in the VFL. The standard of disposal was high too, and it was noticeable that players from both sides really started to tire just before half-time as they struggled to keep up with the fearsome pace.

Box Hill dominated the third term, kicking eight goals to three, their smaller players like Steve Kenna, Liam Shiels, Brendan Whitecross and first-gamer Jayden Cass really getting into the thick of things.

Josh Kennedy was listed as the best for Box Hill on the VFL website, and Brent Diamond in The Age lists him as getting 30 touches and making eight tackles. I actually wouldn't have placed him in Box Hill's top six to eight players, as too many disposals and tackles came from having to chase down his own errant handballs, particularly during the second term. He had an OK game, but particularly with his disposal close-in he looks a little off the pace for an AFL recall.

I think 3WBC were on the mark when all of their crew voted Sam Gibson as best on ground. He was superb, nailing five goals from midfield. Gibson was the link-man for the Hawks, starting in the centre but always dashing clear of his opponent and setting up myriad attacks across half-forward. In addition to his own goals, he probably provided the assist for two or three others.

Cameron Pedersen dominated in ruck, consistently giving his on-ballers first use of the footy. He got better and better as the game wore on, and looked to physically intimidate his leaner opponents in Rhys Stanley and Stephen Gaertner. Tim Walsh still looks a work in progress, getting to the right spots around the ground but struggling to mark the ball cleanly - maybe a sign of low confidence.

Nick Sautner booted his 800th VFL senior goal about five minutes in, but Lachie McQueen-Miscamble wore him like a glove for much of the game. M & M was very good defensively, but I still reckon he needs to develop his attacking instincts. Even at this level, the good full-backs like Jarrod Silvester, Shaun Pollard and Shaune Moloney all run off their opponents when they get the chance and can be relied upon to bring the ball out of defence.

Sandringham didn't get much out of their bottom six to eight players, whereas Box Hill got some solid performances out of their fringe players. That said, I liked the way Luke Miles battled back in the second-half after being cut apart by Adem Yze in the first-half.

At the top though, there are probably four St Kilda listed players at Sandy who would currently be getting AFL games were they on any other club's list - namely Tom Lynch, Matt Maguire, Leigh Fisher and Raphael Clarke.

The Zebras are in a bit of strife now at 4-5. When they are on song, there's probably no side in the league that's better to watch. But they aren't consistent, and have another tough away game this week when they travel to take on Coburg.

Box Hill meantime possess some resilience that has been missing in recent seasons when at times they folded like cards when the going got tough. A lot of this seems to be the work of coach Brendan Bolton and mature-age assistant Marco Bello, meaning that the 'Stangas have set themselves up for a real crack at the double chance.