BFNL – Kyneton eager for a return crack at red-hot Strathfieldsaye

LEADING FROM THE FRONT: Kyneton captain Josh Govan is putting together a superb season in the midfield for the Tigers, who sit third on the BFNL ladder ahead of Saturday's match of the round against Strathfieldsaye at Tannery Lane. Picture: DARREN HOWE
LEADING FROM THE FRONT: Kyneton captain Josh Govan is putting together a superb season in the midfield for the Tigers, who sit third on the BFNL ladder ahead of Saturday's match of the round against Strathfieldsaye at Tannery Lane. Picture: DARREN HOWE

KYNETON captain Josh Govan says the approach of the playing group to Saturday’s BFNL clash with Strathfieldsaye highlights the change of mindset he has experienced since joining the Tigers in 2016.

“Maybe in previous years you’ve probably been a bit worried about the Strath games because you know they can get hold of you, but the group this year and the way we’re feeling is we just want to get out there and take them on,” Govan said.

“We got a lot of belief out of the Eaglehawk game (win in round five) earlier in the year and we’re chasing the feeling that comes with knocking off the best sides.

“Playing Strathfieldsaye, especially on their ground where no-one else wins at, the boys are all definitely up for it.”

Kyneton's season so far.

Kyneton's season so far.

Saturday’s clash between the Storm and Tigers is the highlight match in round 12 of the BFNL season and an opportunity for Kyneton to test itself against the competition benchmark.

The Storm are riding the momentum of a 10-game winning streak, while the Tigers have been one of the key storylines of 2018 so far.

On the back of a third-straight elimination final exit last year, the Tigers shaped as somewhat of an unknown quantity, largely around their capacity to kick winning scores given they had lost their two leading goalkickers from last year in Ben Weightman and Mitch Scholard.

Yet in what’s their 150th anniversary season they are laying the foundations for a genuine crack at their first double chance since 1999.

The Tigers are third with an 8-2-1 record and still packing plenty of scoring punch, averaging 110 points per game.

One of the two losses Kyneton has suffered is still stinging – a 17-point defeat to Strathfieldsaye in round three after the Tigers had been in front by three points at three quarter-time.

BFNL ladder after 11 rounds.

BFNL ladder after 11 rounds.

“It felt like for most of that game we had them, so to let it slip after being up at three quarter-time and having the momentum, we were really dirty with that,” Govan said.

“Looking back on it now, we could have been playing for top spot on Saturday, so it was one of those ones that got away.

“Strath is one of those teams where if you make one mistake they will go from end to end on you. Because they are so clinical and have played so much footy together, you can’t afford to lapse.

“Defensively, if you drop off for five to 10 minutes they can kick three goals and that’s what happened to us last time and we just couldn’t bridge the gap.”

Govan – who previously played at Gisborne – is putting together a superb season in the midfield for the Tigers and last month earned high praise from his coach Luke Beattie, who labelled the hard-nut the most under-rated player in the competition.

“I put in a bigger pre-season, but with my game being more of an inside one and not being the quickest, I’ve got the team-mates around me to compliment that and we’re all playing for each other,” Govan said.

“Everyone knows their role and that has allowed me to play more of my natural game instead of trying to do too much.

“I probably don’t remember enjoying my footy as much as I am this year… it’s special to be playing in the club’s 150th year and having fairly parochial supporters who haven’t had success for a long time, they are all up and about at the moment and we’re working to keep the positive vibe going.”

Saturday’s game begins a tough four-week stretch for the Tigers, with the trip to Tannery Lane followed by games against arch-rival Gisborne, Eaglehawk and Sandhurst.

• Saturday’s BFNL games – Kangaroo Flat v Sandhurst (1.50pm), Golden Square v Castlemaine, Gisborne v Eaglehawk, South Bendigo v Maryborough, Strathfieldsaye v Kyneton.