Despite suffering a shock defeat at the hands of Williamstown in the VFL grand final, Box Hill coach Marco Bello believes several Hawthorn listed players have enhanced their chances of playing in the AFL grand final.
Hawthorn’s VFL affiliate Box Hill was defeated by 54 points by the stand alone Williamstown at Etihad Stadium on Sunday.
The Seagulls had been considered underdogs against a Box Hill side that boasted 13 Hawthorn AFL listed players including AFL premiership players Will Langford, Matt Spangher and Jonathan Simpkin, plus three Hawks rookies.
As Hawthorn’s coaching staff, led by senior coach Alastair Clarkson, and most of the senior players including captain Luke Hodge watched the match from the corporate boxes at Etihad Stadium, the Box Hill Hawks wilted under the pressure of the Seagulls.
Playing in the midfield, Langford was the best player for Box Hill and the most impressive of the Hawks listed players.
He had 24 possessions and could be the one player to break into the AFL side next week.
Bello said Langford had been one of the few Hawks to impress the coaches and push for a berth in the AFL decider.
“(Langford) has played well in big games in the past, perhaps for him there was something a little extra to fight for, another opportunity to play in an AFL Grand Final” Bello said.
“He was great. I thought Jed Anderson was strong and aggressive and anytime he got a disposal he was effective with it.”
“Langford, (Angus) Litherland was good off half back … Simpkin does what he does. I am sure he will be in contention, but who misses out? That will be the big question, but these guys have done no harm (to their chances).”
Williamstown, coached by former Hawk and triple premiership player Andy Collins, controlled the match for all but part of the second quarter.
It was a five point margin at half time before the Seagulls used their speed to swamp the Hawks. They kicked 11 goals to two in the second half to run out 18.12 (120) to 8.18 (66) winners.
It is Williamstown’s first premiership since 2003.
“This is one of the oldest and proudest footy clubs in the land,” Collins said.
“To do what we did as a stand alone club, with 23 players we had today, was an absolutely outstanding performance.”
With 28 disposals and seven clearances, Williamstown’s Michael Gibbons was named the Norm Goss medallist as the best player on the ground.