IT was a thriller of a round in the Bendigo Football League on Saturday.
In the first round this season with all matches played on Saturday afternoon, Castlemaine, Eaglehawk, Strathfieldsaye, Sandhurst and Kyneton emerged victorious, with three of the games decided by single-figure margins.
In an entertaining 37-goal shootout that featured both sides kicking a score above 100, Kyneton outlasted Kangaroo Flat at Beck Legal Oval by three points in a massive boost to the Tigers' chances of ending their 11-year finals drought.
The Tigers prevailed 19.12 (126) to 18.15 (123) in a contest where the biggest margin at any of the breaks was five points.
Ladder-leading Sandhurst kicked the last two goals through Matt Thornton and Mitch Dole against Golden Square to defeat the Bulldogs by nine points at the Queen Elizabeth Oval.
Golden Square had led at the first three breaks, but the Dragons kicked 3.7 to 2.1 in the final term to retain its unbeaten record in the inaugural battle for the Wirama Shield as part of the BFL's indigenous round.
Eaglehawk denied Maryborough its first win of the season.
No more than one point separated the two sides at any of the first three breaks, but the Hawks kicked four goals to two in the final term to win 13.12 (90) to 12.9 (81) at Canterbury Park to end their two-game losing streak.
In what was the biggest margin of the round, Castlemaine defeated South Bendigo by 41 points to not only win its second game of the season, but defeat the Bloods for the first time since 2005.
The Magpies triumphed 15.7 (97) to 7.14 (56) at Camp Reserve.
And in the battle of second versus third at Gardiner Reserve, Strathfieldsaye won its fifth game in a row, defeating Gisborne by 33 points, 21.10 (136) to 16.7 (103).
Following Saturday's results, there's now a logjam mid-table on the ladder.
Eaglehawk, Golden Square, Kangaroo Flat and Kyneton all have 4-4 records and are separated by percentage from fourth to seventh.