Tigers bound for finals by Richard Jones

KYNETON virtually wrapped up a 2015 Bendigo Football League finals spot with a hard-earned 41-point win over major rivals Castlemaine on Saturday.

The fifth-placed Tigers survived a spirited third term surge from the Magpies at the Kyneton Showgrounds before kicking away with a six-goal final quarter.

Fired up by inspirational small forward Ben Weightman who booted 6.5 Kyneton edged back from a one-point deficit in time-on of the third quarter to take a two-kick lead into the last change.

It was another classic Kyneton-Castlemaine encounter. The ball was moved rapidly from one end of the Showgrounds to the other with Weightman and Rhys Magin (3) the Tigers’ targets while Mark Ramsey (5 goals) and Brian Mustafa (3) were the chief Magpie goalkickers.

Using the slight breeze favouring the town end, Castlemaine leapt to the early lead. Ramsey nailed two first quarter goals with the Tigers able to respond through Andrew Aiello, ruckman Joel Stevenson and flanker Bryce Hinneberg who drilled one of the goals-of-the-day, jammed in on the scoreboard pocket.

Kyneton added five goals to three in the second term with Weightman (3), Rhys Magin and Mitch Scholard on target. Ramsay and prolific midfielder Justin Dorward responded for the Maine.

The Magpies really shone in the third term. Dorward, James O’Brien and Kalan Huntly constantly drove the Maine forward and when Tom Horne was on line from an angled boundary line shot Castlemaine hit the lead: 11.9 to 11.8.

Set shots from Max O’Sullivan and Weightman not long from siren time regained the lead for Kyneton and they weren’t headed again.

The Tigers added 6.4 to 1.3 in the final term with playing coach Luke Beattie nailing his second major before a great running goal to Ryan Carafa – in his first game back after recovering from a broken thumb – really iced the four 

premiership points.

With the Tigers heading for their first finals series since 2003, Beattie said it was good to be able to personally nail a couple of goals even though he probably appeared “a bit rusty”.

“It was also good to see young players like Davie and O’Sullivan do well and even though Castlemaine might have hit the front I was more concerned about the way the boys were playing – I wasn’t too worried about the scoreboard,” he said.

“We’ve now put ourselves in the position where our destiny is right in our own hands. We knew Castlemaine would be tough and resilient like they were so we were well aware a tough contest was coming up.” 

Kyneton            4.3       9.6        13.8        19.12 (126)

Castlemaine     3.2       6.6        11.10      12.13  (85)

Goals – Kyneton: Ben Weightman 6, Rhys Magin 3, Luke Beattie 2, Max O’Sullivan 2, Joel Stevenson, Alik Magin, Mitchell Scholard, Bryce Hinneberg, Ryan Carafas, Andrew Aiello. Castlemaine: Mark Ramsey 5, Brian Mustafa 3, Tom Horne, Kalan Huntly, Justin Dorward, Klai Jermyn.

Best – Kyneton: Ben Weightman (best on ground), Dan Davie, Rhys Magin, Jake Hyland, Darcy Kelly, Ryan Carafa, Alik Magin. Castlemaine: Justin Dorward, Kalan Huntly, James O’Brien, Jarryd Graham, Alex Farrow, Zach Hansford.

GOLDEN Square slammed the door on Eaglehawk’s top three aspirations with a 29-point home victory at MyJet Oval.

It was the only other match in the second half of the split 16th round.

Even though they had a big third quarter booting seven majors, a first half which yielded just two goals was costly for the fourth-placed Hawks.

Matt Gretgrix found some spark to land three goals against Bulldog full-back Dale Young with Damien Wust, Ben McPhee, Lachlan Ryan and Brock also speared home majors.

Yet Matt Rice banged home two goals for the Square in a four-major term to give the home side a 14-point lead at the last change.

Tim Hill held Square star Corey Jones to two goals while Bulldogs’ defender Tom Toma nullified Eaglehawk’s X factor star, Brodie Filo.

Final scores: Golden Square 14.10 (94) def. Eaglehawk 10.5 (65).

Meanwhile Grant Weeks, the ex-Square premiership spearhead and the BFNL all-time leading goalkicker with 164 for a season, landed a massive 20 goals for Colbinabbin in the Heathcote District Football League.

It was a club record for the Grasshoppers who belted old rivals Heathcote 38.25 (253) to 1.2 (8).

Weeks played full-forward for the combined VCFL No. 1 side this season as they defeated Vic. Metro. 

BFNL Rd. 17: Gisborne v Strathfieldsaye, Castlemaine v South Bendigo, Sandhurst v Golden Square (QEO), Eaglehawk v Maryborough and Kangaroo Flat v Kyneton.