VFL Elimination Final Match Preview: Sandringham Zebras vs Box Hill Hawks

Elimination Final: Sandringham Zebras vs Box Hill Hawks
Trevor Barker Beach Oval
Saturday 1st September
Dev Squad: 11am
Seniors: 2pm

It’s been 4 long years since Sandringham have tasted finals football, but this Saturday afternoon it’s all about to change when they face Box Hill Hawks at Trevor Barker Beach Oval.

“It is really exciting for the club to be playing finals for the first time since 2007. It’s a great opportunity for our guys to experience finals football and to play at home is a bonus too. “said Sandringham operations manager, Lucas Blatman.

“The main thing we can take from last week’s game against Casey is that we were in a position to win that match. If we can control the contested ball and produce a four quarter effort we are a strong chance”

The Zebras march to finals has been on the back of outstanding seasons to both Sandringham and St Kilda listed players. During the off season, Sandringham went on recruiting rampage with no more than 17 new faces joining the club, including several former AFL players , all who were looking for a second chance.

Myke Cook, Adam Cockie, Hamish Shepheard, Beau Dowler, Michael Sikora, James Hallahan have all been key factors in the Zebras rise up ladder. They have been well supported by Saints listed players with Tom Ledger, Tom Curren, Jackson Ferguson, Brett Peake and Raph Clarke.

The Zebras hopes might hinge on how St Kilda approaches their final game of season against Carlton. If they put more senior players out to rest then the Zebras depth will be tested. Last week, Sandringham lost Arryn Siposs, Terry Milera, Jack Newnes, Seb Ross and Tom Ledger to the Saints and had to bring in 5 players from the Development Squad.

Hamish Shepheard has missed last 2 games with knee soreness will be put through his paces later in week and Sandringham will be hoping he is available as he is vital to their success.

Jackson Coleman (18 disposals, 3 marks, and 2 goals), Sam Maley (26 disposals, 5 tackles, 3 marks) and Matt Stapleton (24 disposals, 1 tackle, 7 marks and 2 goals) are putting pressure on to be selected in the seniors after standout performances in Development Squad on Sunday.

Box Hill’s hopes also depend on what Hawthorn’s plans are with their AFL listed players. In recent weeks, Box Hill has had Shane Savage and Stephen Gilham playing for them. With Hawthorn fighting for top spot in AFL their young players will be out to impress in hope of getting a call up over next few weeks.

Box Hill’s ruck division has featured four players this year – Max Bailey (now in Hawthorn squad), Luke Lowden (out for rest of season injured), Adam Pattison (didn’t play last week – not sure this week) and Broc Macaulay (ex Brisbane player who has also played a few games for Hawthorn this year).

Their key on-ballers include two or three players who most believe are the best bets for the best and fairest – Luke Andrews, Chance Bateman, Tom Schneider, Xavier Murphy and Beau Muston (co-captain).

Stephen Gilham, Tom Murphy, David Mirra (who is a chance to be drafted), Kyle Cheney, and Taylor Duryea have been standouts down back this season.

Their most effective forwards have been Jack Gunston (now playing for Hawthorn), Amos Frank (tiny pocket dynamo) and their co-captain Daniel Pratt (ex North Melb and Brisbane defender, now Box Hill Hawk forward).

Damien Carroll likes to spring the odd surprise and how they will line up on Saturday will also depend on the availability of a few key players


Michael Sikora (Sandringham) v Broc McCauley (Box Hill) – Sikora is one of the elite ruckman of VFL this season, averaging 28 hitouts a game. McCauley (ave 19 hitouts) will need to be on his game against the 206cm Giant from Sandringham and will be hoping Adam Pattision is available after missing last couple games with injury to help him out.

Raph Clarke (Sandringham) vs Daniel Pratt (Box Hill) – Pratt is Hawks leading goal kicker in 2012 and if Beau Dowler plays up forward you can expect Raph Clarke to be given task of minding Pratt.

Jackson Ferguson (Sandringham) vs Will Johnson (Box Hill) – Last year they were teammates down at StKilda/Sandringham and only year later they might find themselves lining up on each other. Ferguson has come on leaps and bounds this year and has rarely been beaten.

Adam Cockie (Sandringham) vs Chance Bateman (Box Hill)

Daniel Archer (Sandringham) vs Stephen Gilham (Box Hill)


Just like in the AFL, this season has been one of most even in recent history and on their day any team is capable of defeating all other finalists. This game is no different. Sandringham and Box Hill have at times been inconsistent throughout 2012 and have struggled to put 4 quarters together on regular basis. Both clubs come into this week’s match on the back of winning 3 of their last 5 games.

Sandringham by 23 points.


B: Andreoli, Dowler, Williams
HB: Hallahan, Ferguson, Clarke
C: Dunell, Cockie, Cook
HF: Peake, Shepheard, Markworth
F: Michaliades, Archer, Marigliani
R: Sikora, Jones, Curren

INT: Sands, Coleman, Polo, Ross, Gram, Ledger, Milera, Waller, Newnes, Steven, Shenton, Winmar, Kosichitzke

IN: Polo, Ross, Koschitzke, Newnes, Steven, Gram, Ledger, Milera, Coleman, Williams, Sands, Shepheard
OUT: Fallon, Blake, Crocker, Lever

Box Hill Hawks
B Langford, Gilham, Thompson
HB Duryea, T. Murphy, Cheney
C Bateman, Hallahan, Savage
HF Frank, Ellis, Wanganeen
F McCauley, Pratt, Pattison
R Bailey, Schneider, Hill
Int Johnson, Cassidy*, Lock, Andrews, Jones, Mirra, X. Murphy, Muston, Litherland


B: Soriano, Barnhoorn, Plostins
HB: Webster, Lever, Shakallis
C: Crocker, Stapleton, La Rocca
HF: Widdoswon, Staley, Stevens
F: Brown, Jones, Mavric
R: Beech, Sands, Maley

INT: Bowles, Coleman, Fallon, Waller, Smith-Cameron, Slade, Bruno
EMG: Stuart Hobijn-Allen, Mathew Kreymborg

IN: Mavric, Fallon, Waller, Smith Cameron, Slade, Bruno
OUT: Williams, Cavallaro, Gibson, Hobijn-Allen

Box Hill Hawks
B Gordon, Boumann, Litherland
HB Tobin, Thompson, Mirra
C Kelly, Northe, Gilchrist
HF Muston, Johnson, Hughes
F Otten, Grimley, X. Murphy
R Post, Lock, Andrews
Int Lawlor, Bolton, Ralph, Monkhorst, Johns, Wilsen, Phelps, D. Cooper, Cust

VFL finals entry prices:
Adults $15
Pensioners/Concession $10
Kids & Under 15 are FREE

For live updates throughout game follow @TrueZebras on Twitter.

Saturday’s game will be broadcast via 94.1FM (across a fair bit of Melbourne), via the internet www.3wbc.org.au and via the TuneIn radio app (3WBC)

Finals Eligibility – AFL Players

St Kilda players eligible to play VFL Finals: Tom Ledger, Sam Dunell, Farren Ray, Dean Polo, Beau Wilkes, Jamie Cripps, Arryn Siposs, Daniel Archer, Tom Curren, Jackson Ferguson, Cam Shenton, Daniel Markworth, Brett Peake, Nick Winmar, Warrick Andreoli, Raph Clarke, Jack Newnes, Terry Milera, Jason Blake, Sam Crocker, Jordan Staley, Seb Ross.

With all AFL clubs still involved in the home and away season in the opening week of the VFL finals, VFL clubs can still access players who are not selected in the AFL.

But once the AFL home and away season finishes that access is restricted.

If an AFL club is involved in the AFL finals and its VFL aligned is also in the VFL finals then players not selected in the AFL team can play with its VFL affiliate.

If an AFL club is not playing finals then eligibility is governed under the following rules:

  • Players who have not played at least one AFL or VFL senior or AFL Victoria Development League match in the 2012 season are ineligible to play in the VFL senior finals.
  • Players who have played with the AFL Senior team of any AFL Club after July 1 of this season are ineligible to play in the VFL senior or AFL Victoria Development League Finals unless they have played a total of at least six senior VFL or AFL Victoria Development League matches in the same season.


A big crowd packed Trevor Barker Beach Oval on Sunday, to witness the Sandringham and Box Hill Hawks first game of the season. It was a game listed with over 30 AFL primary and rookie listed players, but in the end Sandringham prevailed with a comfortable 54 point victory as Nicholas Ciantar reports.

Both teams had a productive offseason, with key signings to bolster their 2012 lineups. The signings of Adam Cockie and Myke Cook for the Zebras enhanced the midfield of Sandringham, which was obvious in the first game.

Cockie kicked 2 goals, had 23 disposals and amassed 10 tackles in great debut.

“He’s just a bull in the middle and he gets his hands on the ball and gets it forward.” Assistant coach for Sandringham, Jaymie Graham said about Cockie.

Cook also had over 20 disposals, kicking 3 goals and laid over 5 tackles as well. Cook played a terrific game, in which he was the best on the ground.

In a game which was filled with many gut running bursts and long kicks, Sandringham always had the advantage by leading at each of the breaks. Sandringham dominated the first quarter, through Box Hill turnovers and pieces of individual brilliance by Zebra players. Sandringham had more run and carry and that showed on the score board by setting up an 18 point margin leading into the first break.

They led by a healthy 40 points at half time, but that did not deter Box Hill from fighting back. In the 3rd quarter, Box Hill got on a run of 3 goals to make the margin only 33 points, and it looked like the game had turned into the Hawks favour. In the longest quarter of the day, over 33 minutes long, the Hawks looked to be crawling their way back, until some Terry Milera brilliance for the Zebras. Sandringham then kicked 3 in a row, to put them up by 51 points and what looked like an unbeatable margin at the three quarter time break.

The main target for the Zebras was Beau Wilkes. Wilkes kicked 3 goals, in which was a strong performance by the new Saint. Wilkes smashed the packs to take contested marks, but if he didn’t mark them, crumbers such as Saad, Sam Dunell and Jackson Coleman pounced on the ball. Coleman showed plenty of positive signs, one for instance kicking a beautiful left footed goal near the boundary line in the last quarter. This was the play of the match, as Coleman finished it off nicely to edge the score over 50 points.

For the Box Hill Hawks, Kyle Cheney had a ripper of a first quarter and was arguably Box Hill’s best. He played mainly in defence, in which he amassed over 25 disposals. A low light for the Hawks was the arm injury to youngster Mitch Hallahan in the third quarter. He played no further part in the game.

As it was the first game for many this year, it didn’t disappoint in the highlights reel. A great pack mark in the 3rd quarter by Hawks ruckmen Sam Grimely, had the fans screaming loudly. He came from three deep, to take a spectacular mark. The game was also filled with great courage, shown by Zebras player Tom Simpkin. He went back with the flight of the ball, to set up a shot at goal.

Sandringham did have mainly a St Kilda listed squad, but the senior Zebra players do know that they will get their chances this year.

“They realize it is going to be a tough year,” Graham said regarding the senior Zebra players that played for the Development Squad.

“They went back with positive attitudes and all played very well.”

Sandringham had the better of the play all day, by winning it out of the middle on many occasions. The Zebras ball usage was more efficient and they defended very well. The Hawks showed some promising signs, but by the Zebras having the more experience, they were able to defeat the Hawks in most aspects of the game.

Sandringham: 20.17.137
Box Hill: 12.11.83

Goals: Wilkes, Cook, Coleman 3, Cockie, Saad, Milera, Dunnell 2, Ray, Minchinton, Armitage
Best: Cook, Cockie, Wilkes, Armitage, Blake, Dunell



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