KYNETON coach Luke Beattie has challenged his playing group to lift its contested ball work-rate in the wake of Saturday's one-goal performance against Eaglehawk and another three tough assignments coming up.
After Strathfieldsaye had done the same to Castlemaine the previous week, the Tigers became the BFNL's second team this season to be held to just one goal when they were beaten 21.14 (140) to 1.9 (15) at home by the Hawks.
Last Saturday's 125-point hiding followed Kyneton's 38-point loss to Maryborough the previous week, with the Tigers' next three opponents all in the competition's top tier - Sandhurst (5th), Golden Square (3rd) and Gisborne (2nd).
"We really need to get back to the core element of what will make us a strong, united group and that's our contested work and being a difficult team to play against every Saturday," Beattie said on Wednesday.
"We've got to build a far greater propensity to work harder when we don't have the football.
"Eaglehawk's rebounding efficiency from our forward 50 last weekend was just unacceptable.
"We outscored them by five for inside 50s over the last three quarters, so our ability to move the ball across the ground wasn't the concern, it was our ability to keep it inside forward 50 and, more importantly, get scoring opportunities from them, that was most disappointing.
"Our forward line is our most inexperienced area of the ground... if you take myself out of it our forward line last week was all basically under 50-game players."
The core Tigers' forward group last weekend featured Beattie alongside Pat McCarthy, Jacob Plowman, Jackson Conforti, Ethan Turner in his second senior game, Bendigo Pioneer-listed Caleb Fisher and Max O'Sullivan.
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The Tigers' only goal was kicked by tireless on-baller Rhys Magin in the third quarter against an Eaglehawk backline that is starting to take shape again with the recent returns of premiership skipper Tim Hill and Lachlan Atherton.
The reigning premiers also have last year's best and fairest, Jack Fallon, with two games under his belt now following his pre-season knee injury, and last weekend had former Bendigo Gold-listed Trent Bacon play his first game since round one last year following a knee reconstruction.
While the Hawks host Kangaroo Flat on Saturday, the Tigers make the trip to the QEO for the clash with Sandhurst, with their inclusions to feature young gun Leyton Chisholm, who was part of the Vic Country team that played the Amateurs in last Saturday's Under-19 Challenge.
MEANWHILE, Newbridge's Sam Kennedy and St Arnaud's James McNamee have both accepted two-match set penalty suspensions.
Kennedy was reported for striking Pyramid Hill's Brad Driscoll in the Loddon Valley league on Saturday.
McNamee's two-match suspension follows his report for using "abusive, insulting, threatening or obscene language" towards umpire Paula Shay in the Saints' most recent North Central league game against Sea Lake Nandaly.
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