KYNETON coach Paul Chapman knows respect is hard to gain and can be easily lost.
Over the past two rounds of the BFNL season Chapman's emerging Tigers have certainly made massive inroads into earning the respect of the competition as a genuine finals-calibre outfit with a pair of momentum-building wins.
Firstly, against Golden Square in one of the games of the season in a see-sawing contest that ended with the Tigers seven point victors at the Kyneton Showgrounds.
The Tigers have always been a team renowned as tough to beat at home in front of their parochial home crowd, but winning away from the Kyneton Showgrounds has posed its challenges.
Last week, though, the Tigers recorded one of their best away victories since their last finals win on the QEO in 1997 when they breached Eaglehawk's Canterbury Park fortress to win by 21 points, improve to 4-3 and retain their position in the top five.
The two best wins the Tigers have savoured during Chapman's coaching tenure have come in their past two games and now they get a further opportunity on Saturday to strive for another win of significance when they host Sandhurst.
It's a hugely important game for both clubs, with the Tigers fifth and Dragons sixth.
Come 5pm Saturday Kyneton will either be two games clear of Sandhurst if it wins, or the Tigers will be out of the top five if the Dragons prevail.
"Respect is hard to gain and when you get it can be easy to lose as well," Chapman said this week.
"I feel like we're on the right path to getting that respect. Speaking to coaches of other teams they seem to be happy that the competition is getting stronger and that teams like us are starting to become more competitive.
Speaking to coaches of other teams they seem to be happy that the competition is getting stronger and that teams like us are starting to become more competitive- Paul Chapman - Kyneton coach
"It's good to hear those coaches, and also opposition supporters, be complimentary that it's good for the competition, so I think that respect is starting to come.
"But we can't be happy with that right now, we've got to keep working hard to keep earning that respect.
"For us we've got a group of guys who are buying into the process and to be able to go up to Bendigo last week and get the result we did is the sort of performance that earns respect.
"By no means was it a perfect game last week, but we're starting to become a more consistent team and I'm really liking the way we're starting to have a bit of game control in what we're doing."
One of the young Tigers impressing for Kyneton this year has been midfielder Hamish Yunghanns, who leads the competition in effective tackles (60) and is the No.6 ranked player in the BFNL according to Premier Data with 848 points.
"Hamish is only 19 and just an absolute bull for us," Chapman said.
"He sacrificed his game really well against Eaglehawk last week to make it more of a contest in there.
"He's one of those players who if anything is asked of him he's willing to do it and a really good team-mate to play with."
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