Expect the unexpected

New-look Eaglehawk and fresh Kyneton ready for battle

BOTH Kyneton and Eaglehawk can expect the unexpected this Saturday when they clash in the opening round of the Bendigo Football League.

The game at the Kyneton Showgrounds marks the return of the Tigers to the BFL's senior competition after their hiatus last year.

The Tigers will have an even mix of former players - including Nathan Thompson - returning and brand new recruits joining the club for the first time for Saturday's clash.

And Eaglehawk will be a vastly different team to the one that was beaten in the preliminary final last year.

Eaglehawk coach Luke Monaghan expects there could be up to 11 different players in the team on Saturday to the one that was beaten in the preliminary final by Strathfieldsaye six months ago.

Kyneton under new coach Mark Adamson shapes as one of the BFL's biggest unknowns this season as the Hawks brace themselves for a fierce round one contest.

"We're excited by finally getting out there and playing, and it's obviously a big day for Kyneton at home being their first game back in the competition," Monaghan said on Wednesday.

"We're expecting Kyneton to be a fierce competitor. They have recruited well and look to have put together a pretty good playing list.

"Addo is a very good coach, so we know they are going to be well structured and organised, so it's going to be a big challenge for us."

The Hawks experienced one of the biggest turnovers of players of any BFL club during the off-season, particularly at the top end, and just like Kyneton, Eaglehawk is looking at 2014 as a new era.

"We've had a fairly big turnover of players, so it's going to be an interesting day for us this Saturday as well to see where we're at," said Monaghan, who is entering his fourth season as Eaglehawk coach.

"We've played a few practice matches with varying success, so these first few games are going to very much be a learning experience for us.

"We're looking like having 11 players who didn't play in our preliminary final team last year who will be playing this week.

"We'll be a bit of the unknown when you look at the way we've played in the past... it will be different this year with the personnel we've got.

"So it's not only going to be interesting for the league to see how Kyneton goes, but also very interesting for us to see how we go."

Ryan Threlfall (knee) and Daniel Johnstone (broken hand) have been ruled out for the Hawks this week.

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