FOR the second time in three weeks Kyneton upstaged a city-based BFNL club to snap a long-standing hoodoo.
Two rounds ago an after-the-final-siren goal handed the Tigers a morale-boosting win over Sandhurst.
On Saturday at the Showgrounds Kyneton posted their first victory against Eaglehawk since Round 3 in 2009 to shatter a seven-year jinx.
The Tigers booted three of the last four goals of the Round 8 fixture to erase a mid-term three-point deficit as they roared home to a 15.9 (99) to 12.18 (90) victory.
With star spearhead Matt Gretgrix ramming home four of his seven goals in the first half the Hawks scooted clear by 10 points at the main break.
But the Tigers stayed in touch thanks to key forward Hugh Schiavello and speedy midfielder Max O’Sullivan.
Their accuracy in the front half right through the match proved telling.
A swirly breeze might have negated sound kicking and turned the game into a scrappy contest. But it was a tight, end-to-end struggle for the full four quarters and fought out right until the dying moments.
In hindsight it was Kyneton’s six-goal effort in the third term which won them the match.
Kicking to the scoreboard end the Tigers nailed four goals in the first 12 minutes. After Schiavello had landed his third major with an accurate kick from the scoreboard flank 16-year-old Michael Hourigan and Ethan Foreman (with his second in 10 minutes) handed the Tigers the biggest lead of the match: 11.6 (72) to 7.9 (51).
The Hawks came again as Matt Filo passed to Gretgrix for the big spearhead’s fifth major. And when Brock Rogers followed up with another Eaglehawk goal suddenly Kyneton’s lead had shrunk to seven points as time-on loomed.
Michael Rainey handed the Tigers some breathing space with their sixth major at the scoreboard end, leaving the match poised on a knife-edge with a single term to go.
The Hawks weren’t finished. Busy midfielder Ben McPhee kept pushing Eaglehawk goalwards – and scraped the post with a shot of his own – and when Gretgrix hammered home his sixth and seven majors suddenly the Hawks were three points up.
Enter Kyneton’s Harrison Huntley. Just as he’d done against the Flat earlier in the season Huntley booted two clutch majors – from strong marks — within 90 seconds to hand the lead back to the Tigers.
Hourigan capped off an enterprising performance when he drilled another and the Tigers were home.
Kyneton coach Luke Beattie said he thought even though Eaglehawk won more of the contested ball his players had been able “to win ugly”.
“And unlike some games, the Castlemaine one particularly, where I’ve felt we were the better side today we were able to get one back,” he said.
Beattie praised youngster Hourigan who was playing his first senior game. “Michael thrives on the competitive nature of footy. Apart from that pressure goal late in the game I think you’ll find he took four or five marks across the day.”
And the coach was also pleased with Huntley’s effort, especially his marking and conversion late in the game.
“Harry’s a bit of a unique player. He played on-ball for us for an impact in the third quarter and then went forward as he did against Kangaroo Flat to create a dangerous option for us, as well,” the coach added.
Kyneton 3.4 6.4 12.8 15.9 (99)
Eaglehawk 3.3 7.8 9.12 12.18 (90)
Goals – Kyneton: Hugh Schiavello 3, Ben Weightman 2, Michael Rainey 2, Michael Hourigan 2, Ethan Foreman 2, Harrison Huntley 2, Max O’Sullivan, Mitch Scholard. Eaglehawk: Matt Gretgrix 7, Gedd Hommelhoff 2, Brock Rogers, Koby Hommelhoff, Jonty Neaves.
Best – Kyneton: Josh Govan, Max O’Sullivan, Patrick McCarthy, Lee Warne, Harrison Huntley, Michael Hourigan. Eaglehawk: Matthew Gretgrix (best afield), Ben McPhee, Glenn Daly, Brock Rogers, Tim Hill, Anthony Franchina.
CASTLEMAINE squared up their season to 4 wins, 4 losses but only after just scraping over the line against Gisborne.
The Magpies fell in by five points after the Graveyard Dogs fought hard match-long to snatch the four premiership points.
Again plagued by inaccuracy and leading by what seemed a comfortable 24 points at the last change, Castlemaine managed just two goals to Gisborne’s five in the final stanza.
The young Bulldogs almost stopped the Maine from winning two-games-in-a-row for just the third time since 2009.
Skipper Jarrad Lynch booted four goals for Gisborne while Nicholas Doolan was solid in the midfield and Kane Grbac solid across half-back.
Mark ‘Rambo’ Ramsay slotted five goals for Castlemaine. Consistent Tommy Horne was in the Maine’s best along with centreman Justin Dorward and defender David Stephens.
SANDHURST took over as 2016 flag favourites after downing Golden Square following a seven-goal second quarter blitz.
The Dragons handed their arch-enemies the Bulldogs their first loss of the season with their leg speed far superior to the home side’s run.
Nick Stagg sparked the Hurst’s second quarter burst booting three majors himself. The only sour note for the Dragons was a tight hamstring suffered by Mitch Dole. The goal-kicking small forward was playing his first senior game in 2016.
Jack Geary and Adam ‘Skinny’ Baird tried hard for the Dogs while Adrian McErvale did a serviceable stopping job on star Dragon midfielder, Kristan Height, even though Height nailed three goals.
Apart from Stagg the Dragons’ good players included Codie Price, Joel Wharton and James Coghlan.
KANGAROO Flat posted a huge score – and a 95-point final margin – over winless Maryborough at Princes Park.
With on-baller Corey Greer bagging seven goals and former Pie Cameron Rinaldi and Trent McInnes chipping in with three apiece the Roos went further ahead as each quarter unfolded.
The Green and Whites added nine majors to four after the long break although the Pies battled hard with young gun Coby Perry, returning Natte Bealiba player Daniel Vadala and Mitch McClure in the best.
Greer, Marty Kelly and Tom Pridgeon controlled the midfield for the Roos.
IN the holiday Monday fixture, Strathfieldsaye moved to the top of the ladder on 7 wins-1 loss and a big percentage advantage after disposing of South Bendigo by 73 points at the QEO.
The Storm led all day and by the last change had skipped 39 points clear. Seven additional goals in the final term saw the Storm home by a massive margin.
Strathfieldsaye’s Jake ‘Stingray’ Hall booted a goal at the 32-minute mark of the final term to end his milestone 100th game for the Storm in style.
Teammate Tom Bartholomew had his kicking boots back on after an inaccurate few weeks and finished with three majors. Promoted under-18 player Brayden Torpey nailed three of the Bloods’ six goals.
Final scores: Kang. Flat 21.16 (142) def. M’borough 6.11 (47), Castlemaine 11.16 (82) def. Gisborne 12.5 (77), Sandhurst 15.13 (103) def. G. Square 8.8 (56) and Strath. Storm 17.12 (114) def. South Bendigo 6.5 (41).
Top Five: S’saye 7-1, G. Square 7-1, Sandhurst 6-2, Kang. Flat 6-2 and Kyneton 5-3.
Round 9, Saturday: Eaglehawk vs. C’maine, Gisborne vs. South Bendigo, Maryborough vs Golden Square and Sandhurst vs. Kangaroo Flat. Sunday: Strathfieldsaye vs. Kyneton.