Tigers, Bloods split the points in round one thriller

MIXED EMOTIONS: Kyneton coach Luke Beattie.
MIXED EMOTIONS: Kyneton coach Luke Beattie.

A late goal from  South Bendigo forward Kaiden Antonowicz saw Kyneton and the Blooods share the points in Saturday's round one clash at the Kyneton Showgrounds.

The Tigers held a one-goal lead for much of the final quarter before South Bendigo's Jake Miller took a mark inside 50 with one minute remaining. In the process of taking the mark, Miller injured his shoulder and couldn't take the kick.

Antonowicz was first on the scene to grab the footy and he calmly slotted his third goal of the day from 35m out on a 45 degree angle to tie the scores at 5.10 (40) apiece.

From the resulting centre bounce the Tigers went forward, but a poor kick was intercepted by the Bloods and they were surging forward when the final siren sounded.

"It was one of those glass half full, glass half empty scenarios,'' Kyneton coach Luke Beattie said.

"I thought we lost two points rather than won two points, but then again if there was an extra 15 seconds on the clock South Bendigo probably would have scored and won the game.

"It was tough conditions and it wasn't a very pretty game. I would think both teams wouldn't have been overly happy with the way they played, but it was a good contest and at least we took something out of the game."

South Bendigo coach Brady Childs was pleased with his side’s fightback.

"I'd rather take two points than none at all,'' Childs said.

"Our inability to adapt to the conditions and some poor skill errors really hurt us. I thought we had some opportunities throughout the day to really put our foot down, but we didn't take our chances.

"We were 10 points up and then Kyneton rallied to get six points up. The South Bendigo team of a couple of years ago would have rolled over and let Kyneton run away with it.

"The good thing was we kept fighting and managed to walk away with a draw in a tight contest."

Despite the wet and windy conditions, two of the bigger men on the ground were the two standout players.

South Bendigo big man Kieran Strachan was the best player on the ground. The Essendon-VFL listed ruckman dominated in the air and took more than 10 marks.

Kyneton's defence was resolute all day and there was none better than Harrison Huntley at centre half-back.

Jayden Exell was superb down back for the Tigers and Taylor Kelly did a sound job on Antonowicz.

For the Bloods, midfielders Isaiah Miller and recruit Quade Johnston won plenty of the pill.

Jake Miller will have scans on his injured shoulder this week to determine if he’ll be available for next Saturday’s Graeme Wright Memorial Cup clash with Sandhurst.

The Tigers, who travel to Kangaroo Flat in round two, got through the game injury-free. Key forward Dan Davie is still to return to the side after serving a suspension, while VFL-listed athletic big man Jordan Mangan remains a couple of weeks away as he continues to recover from a hairline fracture in his leg.