The Southern Saints have heartbreakingly missed out on a VFLW finals berth, going down by 17 points to Box Hill to miss out on the top-six by percentage.
The Saints sat a game clear on the top of the ladder after Round 11, but three consecutive losses dumped them to seventh and ended their hopes of going one better than last year’s Grand Final loss to Essendon.
In a physical contest where no quarter was asked or given with both teams playing for their season, the Saints spent large swathes of time in attack without being able to score.
In fact neither team troubled the scoreboard operators from the time debutant Molly Simpson kicked a terrific 40m set shot for the Hawks in the 13th minute of the first quarter until Winnie Laing missed a running shot for the Saints seven minutes into the third.
Box Hill’s defence continued to hold firm and when Abbey Holmes roved the pack for a terrific goal a minute before three quarter-time, her team had a significant advantage and Jade Wise sealed the deal midway through the last.
VFLW MATCH CENTRE: View all news, stats and videos from Round 14
The Saints enjoyed a 27-19 inside-50 advantage and had the ball locked in for long periods, but Matilda Van Berkel (18 disposals), Nadia von Bertouch and Ellie McLinden simply refused to concede, while Jordan Mifsud (18 disposals, five clearances, 11 tackles), Grace McRae (17 disposals, seven tackles), Bella Gray (18 disposals) and Akayla Peterson (17 disposals) did well through the middle.
Grace Matser had 33 hitouts and five tackles in a great ruck battle with Alex Hynes (24 hitouts, 14 tackles), while Holmes only had 12 disposals and a goal, but her experience and influence was crucial in the big moments.
Gabriella De Angelis (17 disposals, nine tackles) worked hard but had to move well up the ground to get any clear possessions for the Saints. Jemima Wrigley (15 disposals, 12 tackles), Laing (16 disposals, seven tackles) and Tessa Boyd (16 disposals) performed well and Georgia Foran (15 disposals) and Madi Capsalis (12 disposals, five clearances, seven entries) worked overtime without reward after they lost Jemma Webster to an ankle injury in the first half.
BOX HILL 1.0 1.0 2.3 3.3 (21)
SOUTHERN SAINTS 0.1 0.1 0.2 0.4 (4)
Box Hill: Wise, Simpson, Holmes
Southern Saints: Nil
Box Hill: Mifsud, Wise, von Bertouch, McRae
Southern Saints: Hynes, De Angelis, Wrigley, Laing, Capsalis