The Box Hill Hawks managed to master the tough weather conditions on Sunday afternoon to register a dominant 71-point victory over North Melbourne.

While the rain mostly held off until the final term, the blustery wind from the start of the contest saw both sides struggle to lock-in on the goals. However it was the Hawks who took control early in the second term.

The final third execution was the difference early between the two sides. Box Hill managed to score in bursts while the Kangaroos were often left to send long, high balls inside 50, but the Hawks took control in the second half and laid waste to a struggling Kangaroos midfield.

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VFL R11 mini-match: North Melbourne v Box Hill

Extended highlights of the Roos and Hawks VFL clash in Round 11

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VFL senior coach Leigh Adams says the result was a fair indication of the contest.

"We got what we deserved today. Our intensity wasn't at the level, our ability to defend the ball wasn't at the level and our contest wasn't at the level. It was a really disappointing day all-around and in the end we got what we deserved," Adams told North Media.

"We gave too much space for the opposition to be able to use their skills and their pressure was really good which didn't allow us to use our skills. It was a pretty fair indication on the scoreboard in the end.

"We've got too many blokes at the moment who seem to care more about what's happening on the stats sheet instead of what's happening on the scoreboard. When we can get more blokes to buy into the really hard stuff that is the contest and the defensive side of the game our offence will take care of itself.

"Even today in a pretty poor showing we moved the ball really well at times, so if we can get a bit more contest and defence we'll be fine."


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The major positive of the day, from the Kangaroos' perspective, was the successful return of injury-hit forward Phoenix Spicer.

Spicer suited up in royal blue and white for the first time since his AFL debut in Round 23, 2021. The clash with the Hawks was his first competitive game at any level in 287 days.

While he was on a minutes restriction, Spicer impressed at times with his pace and his willingness to tackle. Adams says the young forward can take confidence from his first hitout in some time.

"It's been a while since Phoenix has played, so it was good to get him out there. He got through unscathed which is a big tick and he'll only get better from here," Adams said.

"He played forward for most of it but we weren't able to get the ball down there much so he didn't have a huge impact. We were able to get him up on the wing for his last 10-15 minutes and he looked really good.

"He linked up well a couple of times and used his speed really well. We're happy with how he went."

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Charlie Lazzaro continued his strong form in the midfield and was amongst the side's best players both offensively and, at times, defensively. Tasked with trying to contain the ever-dangerous James Worpel the second-year player showcased the intensity he's quickly garnering a reputation for.

While the Hawks' midfield did get off the leash at times, Lazzaro is using his time in the VFL to improve his overall education in the game through increased exposure in the middle of the ground.

"'Laz' is getting more inside midfield time because we want to educate him more about his contest decisions," Adams said.

"He's obviously got a really good engine and when he gets the ball he uses it really well. We don't have to teach him offence because he does that really well, it's just a little bit more around his contest balance and his defensive mindset at times, to teach him that.

"He's had a couple of tough jobs in the last two weeks in (Luke) Dunstan and (James) Worpel but we're trying to teach him to make those quick decisions about whether he can impact to contest or whether he needs to get back to his man. He seems to be getting better at it each week which is positive."

Playing his second consecutive week at VFL-level, Jaidyn Stephenson continued to put his hand up for a senior recall with some strong moments in tough conditions.

Utilised primarily in the midfield, Stephenson put together some strong moments of offensive play but, like many of his teammates, was at times left wanting in the post-clearance part of the game.

It's been a while since Phoenix has played, so it was good to get him out there. He got through unscathed which is a big tick and he'll only get better from here.

- Leigh Adams on Phoenix Spicer

Adams says the issues Stephenson is currently facing is indicative of the problems many of his attacking players currently face.

"He's just a bit inconsistent at the moment. He does some really nice things and we know he's got some real talent but it's just about gaining that consistency over four quarters," Adams said.

"It's the same with all our mids and forwards at the moment at VFL level, they're making good offensive decisions but at the moment our snap to get back into defence is probably just not at the level and that's what's hurting us.

"Our contested possession post-clearance was really poor, they owned the outside and were able to get over the contest a bit better. It's an area we found tough today and we got smacked around in there."

Jack Mahony was dropped to reserve level and split his time between the midfield and forward lines, while Josh Goater played himself back into some form with a collected 17-disposal performance in defence.

Jacob Edwards returned from his re-conditioning training phase and was quiet, while Pat Walker was a strong influence on the wing in his return.

The Kangaroos continue their VFL campaign with a trip to Sydney to take on GWS next weekend.

NORTH MELBOURNE     0.4     2.7     4.10     4.12     (36)
BOX HILL HAWKS          4.3     7.10     13.10     15.17     (107)

AFL-listed players:

Jackson Archer - Eight disposals, two tackles
Jacob Edwards - Six disposals, seven hitouts
Josh Goater - 17 disposals, seven marks
Charlie Lazzaro - 26 disposals, 10 marks, seven tackles, four clearances
Jack Mahony - 15 disposals, three tackles, three clearances
Matt McGuinness - 17 disposals, six marks, three tackles
Phoenix Spicer - Seven disposals, three tackles
Jaidyn Stephenson - 26 disposals, six tackles, four clearances
Pat Walker - 18 disposals, seven marks

Best of VFL-listed players:

Marty Hore - 35 disposals, nine marks
Tom Howard - Two goals, 12 disposals, two tackles, two clearances
Zach Monkhorst - 14 disposals, 14 hitouts, seven clearances
Dom Tyson - 27 disposals, two clearances
Mat Walker - Two goals, 13 disposals


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