Kyneton had a positive start to the Bendigo Football League, despite going down to Golden Square under lights on Saturday night.
The young Tigers side pushed Golden Square for much of the night, but errors proved costly late with Golden Square winning 17.14 (116)-11.7 (73).
Tigers’ coach Luke Beattie saw a lot of positives out of the game.
He said on more than one occasion they came from behind to get back into the game.
“I’m pretty positive about it,” Beattie said.
“We played extremely well. We’re a really young group and we put ourselves into the game in the third quarter.
“We got to within two goals, 10 minutes into the last quarter.
“If we held our composure, we would have been coming right at them.
“They are an experienced group and we provided them with opportunities and they took them.”
Beattie said the difference late was turnovers, which allowed Golden Square to blow out the margin.
He said another positive was the side’s ability to run out the game and provide effort for the whole four quarters, which he said would get rewarded in the coming weeks.
Nathan Thompson, Jacob Plowman and Rhys Magin kicked two goals each.
Skipper Josh Govan was the Tigers’ best leading from the front, with Rhys Smith and Harrison Huntley strong in defence.
Beattie was also impressed with the efforts of Ben Xiriha and Ned O’Sullivan in their first senior games.
A young Tigers side is something that will be a common occurrence for the club this year.
Beattie said being able to have young players coming through the grades was something the club had been focusing on.
“It’s very exciting,” he said. “They will become solid players in the years to come.
“As soon as the opportunity is there for these players to play at this level and not be too far out of their depth, we’re taking it, regardless of the results.”
As well as focusing on youth, a couple of veterans have returned.
Former AFL player and now Tigers under-19 coach Nathan Thompson and Beattie have both pulled on the boots.
Beattie said he had pulled up alright from his first game back.
“There were a lot more nerves than there has been the last couple of years just coaching,” he said.
“I’ve got the unique option to play again. I took the opportunity to provide feedback and support on the ground and while I can still be an asset to the group.”
Kyneton’s run doesn’t get any easier, facing arch-rival Gisborne on Good Friday.
Gisborne started its season with a big win against Castlemaine.
The Bulldogs controlled the game from start to finish, winning 17.20 (122)-3.11 (29).
Jack Scanlon kicked four goals for the Bulldogs, with Trent Crosbie and Joshua Grabham named their best.