Bendigo Football League…
KYNETON leapfrogged Kangaroo Flat to snatch fourth spot on the BFNL senior ladder after their all-the-way four-goal win on Saturday.
On a sodden and muddy Kyneton Showgrounds where rain showers were interrupted by occasional sunshine the Tigers booted the first three goals of the match in the opening 11 minutes.
It was a day when 10 to 12 goals was always going to be a winning total so Kyneton’s first term burst with the dry ball was crucial.
Nathan Thompson booted only one of his match-high three goals in the first half but his size and footy smarts were vital for the home side in their 10.10 (70) to 5.16 (46) win.
The Roos looked sluggish in the opening term. When co-captain Corey Greer snagged a goal with an opportunist kick out of a pack the Tigers already had landed a trio of majors: to Mitch Scholard, Patrick McCarthy and Taylor Kelly.
Ruckman Nick Higginson, Hamish Govan and Max O’Sullivan were prime movers for the Tigers and they continued their linkwork right through the day.
Thompson demonstrated his value to Kyneton when he retained his footing in the rain as three Roo defenders tumbled over around him and drilled the Tigers fifth major.
And when acting captain Ryan Carafa swung onto his left foot at the scoreboard end and nailed the Tigers’ sixth major the Roos were in deep trouble.
Finally just as the half-time siren sounded Kangaroo Flat’s Tom Holman took advantage of a 50m penalty to nurse home the Roos’ second goal.
It was going to be a long way back for the Flat. Lance Oswald marked a high Rhys Healey ball in the goal square and just squeezed home a Roo major.
Then Nathan Thompson took over. He capitalised on a Scholard tap forward to spear home a Tiger major, slapped the ball towards the big sticks for Rhys Magin to soccer through Kyneton’s eighth goal and then eased home a free kick after he was pushed out in a marking contest.
It was a third term ‘purple patch’ for Thompson.
The last term was virtually a formality. The Roos needed to double their entire goal tally in one quarter just to get back on even terms.
And when Hugh Schiavello played on and drove home the Tigers 10th goal at the 11-minute mark it was game over.
Undaunted Ryan McNish and Sam Maddern, who’d both worked hard for the Roos in the slush, combined in the Flat’s front half. McNish slotted the Roos’ fifth major as time-on approached.
In retrospect and despite slogging work from Oswald, Holman and Kelly, Kyneton had looked certain winners from early in the third term.
The agile Higginson had the better of Nick Lang in the big man battles, Magin and the two Govans – Hamish and Josh – were excellent at the fall of the ball and Leigh Warne was steadfast in the back half.
Tigers’ coach Luke Beattie said the build-up to Saturday’s game had really started last Tuesday night when likely match-ups had been discussed.
“Obviously a lot of relevance was attached to the Flat game, especially after losing to South, so we needed to get a win to ensure the chance to make the finals remains in our own hands,” he said.
“Plus we needed to right a lot of the (playing) wrongs from the first half of the season.
“And today we were much more efficient in front of the sticks. We had roughly the same number of scoring shots as the Flat but obviously our forwards were much more efficient,” Beattie said.
FOUR of the BFNL’s round 13 matches were played away from Bendigo.
Apart from the Kyneton Showgrounds final five contenders’ clash Gisborne, Maryborough and Castlemaine also hosted home games.
It didn’t work out well for any of that trio of clubs.
Strathfieldsaye belted Maryborough at Princes Park although the Magpies nailed all eight of their goals in the final two terms.
Sandhurst went on a second half scoring spree at the Maine’s Camp Reserve while Eaglehawk kept up their push for a finals berth with an 83-point thrashing of Gisborne.
It seems a long time ago now that rival clubs used to refer to Gisborne’s Gardiner Reserve as ‘The Graveyard’.
GOLDEN Square won the only Bendigo-based clash with a routine 58-point win over South Bendigo at the QEO.
The Bloods were scheduled to host a sportsman’s lunch featuring controversial sports scientist Stephen Dank as the headline speaker, but following an early Saturday morning drive-by shooting at his Ascot Vale home Dank did not make the drive up the Calder Freeway.
Reporters and cameramen parked outside South’s QEO clubrooms drifted away as Dank – who had promised Bloods’ club president Rick Townsend mid-morning he’d be there regardless – failed to keep his appointment.
On field, South made a game of it for a half. Then the Square put the pedal down landing half of their 14 goals in the final quarter.
With just 7.17 on the board at the last change the Bulldogs’ big forward Dylan Johnstone got off the leash kicking four of his six goals in the final half-hour.
EAGLEHAWK made it four wins on the trot with an 83-point romp over Gisborne with the game signed, sealed and delivered by half-time.
The Hawks led by 51 points – 9.6 to 1.3 – at the main break as the Bulldogs went on to register their fourth loss in succession: a distinct difference in the significance of the ‘4’ numeral for the two clubs.
A heartening sign for Gisborne was the return of premiership skipper and Michelsen Medallist Luke Saunders, who notched one of Gissy’s four goals.
Brodie Collins, Matt Filo and Cameron McGlashan were in sound form for Eaglehawk.
SANDHURST unwound a workmanlike third quarter after an appalling first half at Castlemaine.
The half-time scoreboard read Hurst 2.12, Maine 1.7. It looked like the scoreline from an under-12s match.
The Dragons skipped away with a 5.6 burst in the third term as they cruised home to record their seventh win in a row.
The loss leaves the Camp Reserve Magpies three games, and a massive percentage gap, outside finals contention with just five rounds to be played.
STRATHFIELDSAYE Storm went into the Maryborough game without a number of top players although Jake ‘Stingray’ Hall was back. Hall notched four majors.
The Magpies went goalless for the first half as Storm mids Kallen Geary, Jake Moorhead and Sean Johns (5 goals) were dominant.
But Maryborough had a real crack after the long break in a vastly improved showing compared with recent outings against the BFNL’s big guns.
In his 100th game for the Storm skipper Shannon Geary booted four majors while Andrew Siekai continued his sound goal-kicking form with Maryborough, finishing with three.
Final scores: Kyneton 10.10 (70) def. Kangaroo Flat 5.16 (46); S’saye 21.15 (141) def. M’borough 8.7 (55); G. Square 14.20 (104) def. South Bendigo 6.10 (46); Sandhurst 13.20 (98) def. Castlemaine 6.11 (47); Eaglehawk 17.11 (113) def. Gisborne 4.6 (30).
Top Five: Sandhurst 11 wins-2 losses 44 prem. points, 232%; Golden Square 11-2 44, 199%; Strath Storm 11-2 44, 172%; Kyneton 8-5 32, 127%; Kangaroo Flat 8-5 32, 123%.
In sixth spot: Eaglehawk 7-6 28 prem. points, 136%.
Round 14: Kang. Flat vs. Maryborough, Eaglehawk vs. Kyneton (6th vs. 4th), Strathfieldsaye vs. South Bendigo, Gisborne vs. Castlemaine and Sandhurst vs. Golden Square (1st versus 2nd).