Dewar Shield: Box Hill still finding their feet

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Words: James Wong; Image: Andrew Stevenson

Most coaches would be happy to be sitting third on the Dewar Shield ladder after four rounds but self-described “grumpy old Rugby coach” Tom Navanua feels his Box Hill side are yet to show their full potential.

“Our position on the ladder isn’t a true reflection of how the team is playing.

“We haven’t really been playing how we’ve proposed to play. We haven’t stuck to the whole game plan; it’s been individual brilliance that has pulled us through.”

After a close loss to Melbourne in their first game, the Broncos have reeled off consecutive wins against Southern Districts and Power House thanks to an improving defence, said Navanua.

“The defence has worked, slowly. We were behind in the first two games but in the last game we had a glimpse of what we can become if we can be consistent and clinical in how we apply ourselves.”

Navanua is also hoping the team’s set piece will improve after showing promise on occasion this year.

This Saturday Box Hill takes on sixth-place Footscray at Henry Turner South Reserve in what Navanua predicts to be a typically physical encounter.

“We’re expecting the first 20 minutes to be pretty physical. They’ll be pretty hard up front and they’ll try to keep the game with the forwards; so we’re anticipating it’ll be a tough encounter.

“If we can just hold them up in the first half and get the ball out in second half we’ll do alright.”
Navanua picked out No.8 Esala Waikila as the player to watch out for this weekend.

“He’s playing well at No.8 considering he’s played winger all his life until now.

“He’s been the most improved player so far. I’m expecting him to be physical this Saturday and a big game from him.”