By Ryan Long.
2023 was the year of the Hawk, Boronia becoming the first-ever club to take home premierships in both the senior men’s and women’s in the same year.
Ladder Position: 1st (17-1, 219.64%)
Best and Fairest: Josh Hannon
Leading Goalkicker: Ben Robertson, Josh Begley (50 goals)
Dominant from the word go, Boronia capitalised on being a red-hot pre-season favourite to take out the Division Two premiership in 2023.
Coming off a Semi-Final loss to the Rams, Boronia strengthened their list with some key recruits over the off-season. This included Ex-Essendon and Frankston star Josh Begley, Max Brasher and Luke Flanagan from Upper Ferntree Gully and Mitch Jelo from Noble Park, all of whom were a part of the 2023 premiership team.
From the early stages of the season, Boronia set the benchmark in Division Two, winning their first six games in a row, three of those wins coming against the sides that would make up the top four.
Their only loss of the season came in Round Seven in a home clash against Ringwood, a one-point defeat. Other than that, it was an almost flawless year, in their final ten rounds of the season, the Hawks had an average winning margin of 72 points.
Earning the bye with the Minor Premiership, the Hawks took on the Dockers in the semi-final, winning by 65 points, and qualifying for the 2023 Division Two Grand Final.
Two weeks later, they took on Heathmont in the Grand Final, where they ran away with a 32-point win, the club’s tenth senior premiership, and the Hawks second under the Matt Clark era.
Josh Hannon took out Boronia’s best and fairest award for his year in the ruck, averaging 38 hitouts per game, having multiple best-on-ground performances across the year.
Taking out the league’s best and fairest was Mitch Mellis, averaging over 30 disposals and 7 clearances per game. After missing the opening three games of the season, the star midfielder didn’t miss a beat, charging home in the league best and fairest vote count.
He was joined in the midfield by the likes of new recruit Max Brasher, Luke Hannon and Damon Fairchild all played their role, putting together the strongest midfield of the division.
Up forward, Ben Robertson and Josh Begley combining for 100 goals across the Home and Away season and the finals series, both members of the final Team of the Year.
For the sixth year running, Jarrod Lake was selected at Full Back of the Team of the Year. Reliable as always, Lake was key in defence, keeping multiple of his opponents goalless throughout the year, including on Grand Final Day where he was able to push forward to kick one of his own.
Best Win: Grand Final – Boronia 15.8 98 def. Heathmont 9.12 66 @Walker Park
A day to remember for the Hawks, premiership number ten with the club defeating the Jets at Walker Park by 32 points.
Red hot favourites coming into the afternoon, Boronia were made to earn it with an in-form Jets side pushing them all the way. Without playing their best footy in the first half, the Hawks still managed to keep in touch with the Jets, going into the main break one point behind.
The game opened up in a 15 minute patch of the third quarter where Boronia kicked five unanswered goals, dominant from stoppages. Luke Hannon and Josh Begley stood up, combining for four goals and 15 touches for the quarter.
Challenged again in the early stages of the fourth, Boronia had all the answers, running away with the game to claim premiership number ten.
Damon Fairchild starred in the victory with some crucial moments for the Hawks, taking home the Blue Ribbon Medal for season 2023.
Player-wise, the Hawks are set for 2024 with all their big names putting pen to paper.
Unlike last year, recruiting won’t be a major focus for the club, they’re in a strong position to go back-to-back and earn a promotion to Division One.
No doubt they’ll be the hunted again in 2024.
Ladder Position: 2nd
Best and Fairest: Rachael Slater
Leading Goalkicker: Rachael Slater (27 goals)
Creating history, the Hawks became the first senior club to win senior premierships in both the senior men’s and senior women’s competitions.
The first of two senior women’s sides for the Hawks competed in Division One, and finished second on the ladder in the Home and Away season, winning 12 of 14 games.
Boronia were the highest-ranked attacking and defensive side in the division, averaging 75 points a game while conceding an average of just 15 points per game.
Qualifying for finals, they took on The Basin in the first Semi-Final. Despite jumping out of the blocks with three of the first four goals of the game, they were held scoreless in the following three quarters, defeated by 28 points.
Thanks to the double chance, they had a chance to bounce back the following week against Park Orchards. Despite a slow start, they worked their way back from an early deficit for a thrilling five-point victory, advancing through to the 2023 Division One Grand Final to take on the Bears.
Unlike the last time they met, it was a reversal of fortunes, with the Hawks this time coming back after quarter time and holding on for another five-point win.
There wasn’t much that Rachael Slater didn’t achieve in 2023. A premiership player, Blue Ribbon Medallist, Team of the Year member, a club best and fairest and the Hawks leading goal kicker with 27 majors.
Steph Phillips had another great season with the Hawks, featured in the best 12 times, kicking 19 goals for the season. The ball magnet had the most handballs in any game covered by Premier Data this season, a total of 38 handballs in their Round One victory over Beaconsfield.
Delta Greenhalgh, a recruit to the club had an immediate impact from Round One with a best-on-ground performance. She added a lot to an already talented midfield group, also finishing with a total of 16 goals for the season.
Missing a handful of games, Rachael Quirk still managed a top-three finish in the club’s best and fairest, also named the Ruck in the Division One Team of the Year.
Both finishing in the best ten times through the season were Alex Mckaige and Ali Gottliebsen, spending a lot of time in defence.
Best Win: Grand Final – Boronia 3.8 26 def. The Basin 3.3 21 @HE Parker Reserve
Hard to go past the Hawks’ five-point Grand Final victory over local rivals The Basin at HE Parker Reserve.
The two sides have had great encounters across the last couple of seasons and the Grand Final was no exception.
There were a couple of warning signs early when the Bears got on top with Danielle Brotto kicking the opening three goals of the first quarter, setting up an 18-point Basin lead at the first change.
However, for the following three quarters, Boronia controlled the majority of the contest. Taking the lead after Half Time, the Hawks missed some opportunities in the third quarter that kept the Bears in striking distance.
A high-pressured contest made for a tense final term as the Hawks held on for the club’s first-ever senior women’s premiership.
Rachael Slater was particularly key in getting the Hawks back into the game, a couple of big-time moments, and walking away with the Blue Ribbon Medal for 2023.
Final divisions are yet to be released for season 2024 but the Hawks are set for a promotion to Premier Division. At a higher level of competition, Boronia had a chance last season to compete against some of the Premier division clubs in the Prem A and B system, so they’ll be reasonably familiar with some of their opposition.
Importantly, Scott Nicholas and the Boronia coaching crew have all signed on for another year. They’ve been fantastic in developing the senior women’s program at the club, Nicholas was rewarded with his efforts this year, named Coach of the Year in the Division One Team of the Year.
Senior Women’s (Division Four)
Ladder Position: 8th (1-10, 19.93%)
Best and Fairest: Mel Carpenter
Leading Goalkicker: Mackenzie Suppa, Rachael Slater (3 goals)
This year, Division Three and Four were decided by a three-week grading process. This saw the switch up from last year’s Division Four made up of all six reserves sides.
A great positive for the Hawks, allowing for a more competitive division. Boronia defeated newcomers Wantirna South during the grading process, and a 1-2 record saw the Hawks become a part of Division Four.
They broke ground in Round Five with a 14-point win over Warrandyte, their first official win of the season. A great achievement for the side who battled hard last year against the other reserves teams.
Mel Carpenter was awarded for her hard work this season with the Best and Fairest award for the development squad.
Julia Bortoli was consistent in her eight games in the side, finishing in the best five times, with a goal to her name.
The likes of Genevieve Lyons, Chloe Timms, Melissa Butler and Darcy Langford were all valuable to the side across the season.
Best Win: Round Five – Boronia 4.8 32 def. Warrandyte 2.6 18 @Miller Park
A memorable day for the Hawks, their first win of the season came against Warrandyte at Miller Park. They entered the game after a tough fortnight against Coldstream and Mitcham, unable to hit the scoreboard.
It was a much different outcome here at their backup home ground, Boronia 14-point winners, Holly Flanagan kicking two of the Hawks’s four majors.
Darcy Langford was a standout, finishing with a goal and a best-on-ground performance.
Like other clubs with the ability to field two senior women’s teams in the competition, Boronia will be keen on keeping that again next season.
Boronia featured two teams in the 2023 Bendigo Bank Netball competition, competing in Divisions Three and Five.
Finals was a narrow miss for Boronia Gold in Division Three, winning nine games, falling a game and a half short of pinching a finals position. Taylor Dougherty and Georgie Smith were both fantastic in front of goal, 233 and 209 goals respectively. Dougherty finished fifth in the division, having only played 12 games for the season.
It was a similar fate for the Division Five Boronia Hawks, missing out on a finals spot by just one game, ten wins for the season. Celeste Smith top-scored for the Hawks with 179 goals for the year.
Taylor Dougherty and Rebecca Allen took out the two club best and fairest awards.
The club have put together another two sides to take part in the 2023/24 Summer Netball competition.
Vets and Veteran Women’s
Boronia were just one of three clubs to have a Veteran Men’s and Women’s team in 2023.
The Vets Men put together a 4-5 record to finish seventh on the ladder. Andrew Stanios finished as the leading goalkicker with 21 goals, even putting together a ten-goal haul in the Hawks win over Forest Hill/Scoresby.
The first Boronia Veteran Women’s side was a great success for the club to get up and running this year. They finished with a record of 1-7, their first win coming in the second-last round of the season when the Hawks defeated the Mustangs by 17 points. Michelle Weston became the first winner of the club’s Masters best and fairest award.
Very successful year for Boronia’s Junior football program, with the club winning two premierships in the Under 14D Boys and the Under 16C Girls divisions.
The club fielded eleven teams in the junior competition, the most they’ve fielded in the last two decades.
The club had four nominees attend the junior presentation night, with all four winning the best and fairest award. Kate Bourke (16C Girls), Cayden Wood (U15B Boys), Max Collins (17.5C Boys) and Julian Bentley (U14D Boys) were all league best and fairest winners.