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VFL Tigers fall short of ladder-leading Hawks

VFL R5: Lloyd kicks three Highlights from Sam Lloyd's Round 5 match against Box Hill.

Richmond 13.16.94 def by Box Hill 18.8.116

In spite of their best efforts, the VFL Tigers were beaten by Box Hill on Sunday, going down by 22 points at Box Hill City Oval.

The VFL Tigers gave the home side plenty of grief early in the fixture, and took a three-goal lead into the main break after a scintillating second quarter display.

However, the hosts proved to be too strong, and finished the game strongly to continue their undefeated start to the 2017 season.

Richmond VFL and Development Coach Craig McRae said his charges fought well against one of the competition’s best sides.

“I thought we played some really good footy, and put ourselves right in the contest against good opposition,” McRae said.

“For us it’s just about making sure we play 120 minutes of footy.”

The Hawks, keen to continue their impressive run in front of their home fans, opened the day’s scoring with two majors, before a slick Shai Bolton pick-up and finish launched the Tigers right back into the contest.

Connor Menadue, Sam Lloyd and Anthony Miles were doing their part in a closely fought contest, each slotting goals to earn a slender two-point lead at the first break.

Feeding off the fast finish to the opening term, the VFL Tigers came out all guns blazing in the second, and despite a few late Hawks goals, were good value for their 18-point lead at the main break.

Jacob Ballard gave the travelling Tiger fans a taste of what would be a huge day for him, racking up 14 disposals and four tackles to the half as he led the way with relentless pressure and tireless work around the stoppages.

Lloyd nabbed a second goal in what was proving to be yet another impressive individual performance, while a classy Mabior Chol banana had onlookers from both sides in awe.

Last week’s four goal hero Ryan Bathie continued his excellent form in front of the sticks, nailing two quick fire majors as he established a commanding presence in the forward fifty.

While the third term started ideally with a Stengle special from 40 metres out, the well-drilled Hawks showed why they are one of the competition’s premier sides, eventually reversing the deficit to lead by four points at the final change.

Former Tiger Ty Vickery booted two goals, in what was his first match-up against the Tigers since his departure in 2016.

The Tiger midfield engine continued to fight valiantly as the Hawks turned the tide in their favour, and Callum Moore reaped the benefits of their efforts in the middle, receiving a pinpoint pass 40 metres out and making no mistake with his set shot.

With difficult conditions playing their part on a wet surface, the Hawks managed to hold their lead to the final siren, while the VFL Tigers continued to show fight and endeavour.

Jacob Ballard burst out of the middle for a thumping goal in the dying moments, rounding off a stellar performance which also included 34 disposals, eight tackles, four clearances and five marks.

Lloyd and Bathie added one more each to their tallies as the travellers pushed to keep themselves in the game, however, it was not to be in a tightly contested Round 5 encounter.

The VFL Tigers will look to bounce back next week when they face Williamstown away from home, who won their Round 5 clash against North Ballarat by 91 points.