Gisborne saved some of its best football for its Macedon Ranges’ rival Kyneton, but it wasn’t enough for the Bulldogs to take the points on Saturday in the Bendigo Football League.
The Bulldogs were always in for a tough challenge against a side looking to play finals, and they gave the Tigers a hard contest.
The second quarter, when the Tigers kicked nine goals to three, proved to be a decider between the teams, with the Tigers winning 20.12 (132)-12.11 (83).
Bulldogs’ coach Brad Spear said they had focused on having a good start, as they seemed to struggle early in games.
“We got the first goal, which is what we were after,” he said.
“The second quarter was really disappointing … we allowed them to kick nine goals in the second quarter. The second half was much more competitive and it was a pleasing finish.
“I managed to pull a lot of positives from the game.”
Spear said the biggest positive was that they didn’t throw in the towel and, at times, took the ball from defence to the forward line.
William Bell debuted for the Tigers.
For the Bulldogs, Thomas Wood was the main goalkicker, kicking three goals. Wood, Ollie Messaoudi and Nicholas Doolan were best for the Bulldogs.
Mitch Scholard was the dominant forward, kicking six goals for the Tigers. Ben Weightman, returning after two weeks out with a hamstring injury, kicked three goals.
Rhys Magin was best on ground. Jarrod Witnish, Scholard and Daniel Davie were other standouts for the Tigers.
The Bulldogs, which have only won two matches this season, have two winnable competitions in the next two weeks, against South Bendigo and Maryborough, which they defeated the first time round.
“The opportunity to finish the season well is important for the group going forward,” Spear said.
“We were realistic from the start of the season that we were planning to give lots of opportunities to local kids, and we’ve done that. The season isn’t necessarily judged on wins and losses.
“We will go into these last two games with confidence.”
For the Tigers, the win jumps them above Kangaroo Flat, which lost to Golden Square.
Only percentage separates fourth to sixth, with the Tigers sitting in the middle with three rounds remaining.
The task for the Tigers to stay in the top five is a difficult one though – they face top three sides, Strathfieldsaye, Golden Square and Sandhurst in the last three rounds.