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Northern pips Hawks in practice game

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The Northern Blues continued its winning start to the pre-season campaign with a four-point win over the Box Hill Hawks at Ikon Park. 

For the second straight week, Northern took control of the game in its middle stages and scraped over the line on the way to a 11. 3. (69) to 9. 11. (65) victory.

The Blues kicked four consecutive goals in both the second and third quarters to open up a four-goal lead at the final change, but the visitors remained in the contest all day. 

Box Hill drew within less than a goal on two occasions in the final term, but with the ball locked inside Northern’s defensive 50 the Blues emerged narrow winners once again.

After the victory over Sandringham last weekend, it leaves the Blues with two wins from as many games ahead of their final practice game against Richmond on Thursday, March 23.

Against a Box Hill side containing the likes of Luke Hodge and Brendan Whitecross as well as new VFL signings Andrew Moore and Will Hams, it was another solid hit-out for a Northern side which heavily rotated its 26-man squad.

First-year Carlton draftees Zac Fisher, Patrick Kerr, Cameron Polson and Tom Williamson all featured and played significant roles throughout the game. 

Kristian Jaksch (three goals) and Liam Jones (17 disposals, two goals) constant threats up forward, while Nick Graham was prolific in the middle with 33 disposals for the game.

Nick Graham dominated against Box Hill. (Photo: Tim Murdoch)

Speaking post-match, McKay said it was a relief to come away with a narrow win.

“Winning’s a good habit to get into. It might just be a practice match but we’ve come away with a lot. We’ll work on a bit and it was a good hit-out,” McKay said.

“It is the best kind of practice match to win, to get those close results over the line is always beneficial when the season comes around.”

“I think we moved the ball well at times and stopped their ball movement, plus some younger guys got a run around and showed a bit — there were a lot of positives to take.”

The Northern Blues’ next scheduled practice match is against Richmond on March 23 at Punt Road Oval, as a curtain raiser to the Carlton-Richmond AFL season opener at the MCG.

Northern’s VFL home-and-away season gets underway on Saturday, April 8 against Port Melbourne at North Port Oval. 

NORTHERN BLUES              1.1       5.3       9.3       11. 3. (69)
BOX HILL HAWKS                1.2       2.3       4.8       9. 11. (65)

Northern Blues:
Jaksch 3, Jones 2, Kerr, Fisher, L. Russell, Barrett, McKay, O'Shea