Tigers prepare to re-join league after a year off
By Richard Jones
BACK in August six years ago Kyneton was preparing to re-join the BFNL the following season.
The senior Tigers had been in recess right through 2013, but new coach Mark Adamson was busy on the recruiting trail well before the league’s finals were due to start.
Kyneton had a miserable 2011 and 2012. Winless in 2011 they managed just the two wins under joint coaches Derrick Filo and Nathan Thompson in 2012 although Thompson bagged 43 goals himself.
Thompson, then 35, had to drive from his home in Doncaster to play for the Tigers, but said off-field matters looked okay.
“We had a record membership of 450 and off-field sponsorship seemed prosperous,” he said.
Nevertheless the Tigers couldn’t front up with a senior side in 2013 leaving newly appointed coach Adamson (signed in July that year) to get going on the long, lonely recruiting path.
He said back on August 3rd that he’d had a variety of responses: some positive, some negative and some just downright humorous.
When one player failed to answer the new coach’s call he sent him a text message saying he (Adamson) had just taken on the Kyneton job and wanted to make contact.
“The reply was a disbelieving wisecrack,” Adamson recalled.
“He thought one of his mates was having him on,” Adamson said. “He didn’t believe I was who I said I was.
“And then he didn’t believe I was doing what I said I was doing: asking him to sign up with the Tigers and play next year.”
The new coach was unfazed by that player’s reaction.
He well understood that people’s perceptions of Kyneton were tied to their troubled history of the mid-2000s.
They’d last made the finals in 2003 and had totalled just eight wins between 2008 and 2012, including a terrible 2011 when the seniors didn’t sing the club song once.
Still, things looked a lot brighter for the Tigers as the 2013 season started to wind down.
Channel Ten sports reporter Rob Waters had moved to Kyneton in 2011 and in a transition at club board level he took over the presidency.
With Waters and new board in place a club business plan was drawn up and published, a five-year sponsorship deal with a large, local property developer was inked while other pledges of support were obtained from prominent Kyneton businesses.
Waters was delighted with the progress made through the winter months.
“Mark coming on board has really legitimised our whole push to have a senior team. He has made it real,” said Waters.
Adamson’s father Lee played 96 games for Collingwood between 1966 and 1973.
Mark, who was then 38, had coached Kyabram in the Goulburn Valley league, took Golden Square to the 2009 BFNL flag and also spent time on the coaching panel at Northern F.L. metropolitan club Montmorency --- the club where his footy began.
Leading up to his Kyneton appointment the new Tigers’ mentor had also worked with the Bendigo Pioneers’ TAC Cup team and served as an assistant to Aussie Jones at VFL club Bendigo Gold.
Waters was very pleased with the appointment his board had made.
“Lee is very articulate and so is a fine communicator. He’s been successful at other clubs and he has great networks in other leagues which is really important for us,” the president stated.
And by accepting the job Adamson showed he wasn’t afraid of hard work.
“I love coaching and being involved in local footy clubs. It’s obviously going to be a hard job at Kyneton, but it’s just something that really engaged my hunger to coach again in local footy.
“I guess it’s a bit about trying to do something that everyone’s been telling me can’t be done. People keep on saying Kyneton can’t be successful again.
“But I thought that I wanted to set myself a task so I’ve jumped at the opportunity.”
And with the Tigers back in BFNL senior ranks in 2014 they were quite competitive winning six of their 18 games and finishing 7th on the table.
Kyneton’s ‘points for’ tallied 1491 but they gave up 1978 points meaning their percentage by the end of August 2014 was just 75.38%.
They’ve been pretty competitive in the last three seasons under coach Luke Beattie finishing third at the end of the 2018 home and away rounds.
But they’ve bowed out each recent September in the finals: to Eaglehawk in the 2015 and 2016 elimination finals and to Sandhurst in the 2017 knockout final.
Last year Beattie steered them to third place on the ladder after 18 home and away games.
But they went down to Eaglehawk in the qualifying final and then to Sandhurst in last year’s first semi-final, not scoring above 50 points in either game.
Two September 2018 thumpings will have Beattie and his staff extra keen to rectify the situation.
Another footy personality, now out of AFL ranks, who was rating a mention back in August 2013 was former Maryborough star Stewart Crameri.
Late in that 2013 season Crameri was looking forward to resuming his career with Essendon.
While acknowledging there’d been interest from other AFL clubs, primarily the Western Bulldogs, the big forward indicated he was keen to remain at Windy Hill.
He added he hadn’t been put off the club through the intense media scrutiny during and after the effects of the supplements scandal.
Five-and-a-half years back Crameri had overcome knee and ankle injuries to play a full VFL game with the Bendigo Bombers.
From 14 disposals and five marks Crameri booted a goal. He was hoping that his form against Sandringham would earn him a recall to the Bombers’ senior side to play West Coast on August 10th.
Bombers’ coach Hayden Skipworth said Crameri had started slowly but had really got going in the second half as the Bombers accounted for the Zebras by 43 points: 16.12 to 9.11.
“He was good, especially in the third quarter,” said Skipworth. “He started to clunk a few marks and his attack on the ball was better.”
The coach said it must have been hard for Crameri because he hadn’t played at VFL level for three years and not knowing a lot of his teammates’ names would have made it even harder.
Crameri added he was glad just to be out on the park once again.
“I’d rolled an ankle and I was hoping to get back into footy quicker than I have but that’s all part of the rehab. programme --- I’ll get there in the end,” he told reporters.
Since his time at Windy Hill Crameri has also had stints with the Western Bulldogs and Geelong but he was delisted by the Cats at the end of the 2018 season.
Dogged by eye and groin problems he played four games with Geelong to push his AFL games career total past 100: 103, to be exact.
Before joining the Cats he’d played 99 games with Essendon and the Dogs, booting 166 goals. Crameri turned 30 in August last year.