BOASTING one of its strongest line-ups in recent years, the Orange Tigers will have the added benefit of starting the 2013 Central West AFL premiership race with back-to-back home games.
But coach Nathan Pearce is expecting anything but an easy run to start the winter.
“We’ve got Parkes first up,” Pearce said commenting on the 2013 draw.
“They’re slowly working their way back into the first grade competition and they’ve given us a good run for our money each time we’ve played them. Then we head into another game against (premiers) Bathurst.
“I think we’ll get a good idea of where we’re at early in the year.
“I’m pretty happy about that.”
So far, Pearce has been happy with what he has seen from his charges throughout the pre-season.
Adding to last year’s squad that finished third, the black and golds will blood eight newcomers in a NAB Cup style trial against fellow Central West side Dubbo and Northern Riverina AFL outfit Lake Cargelligo on March 16.
The new blood, headed by half forward Tim Barry, has the club in good stead, with Pearce adding the first grade squad was already fitter than he has seen it in the past, which included the head coach’s role in 2010 and 2011.
It’s led some to believe 2013 is the Tigers’ best chance yet to snap a flag drought stretching back to 2002.
Pearce, however, isn’t getting carried away with anything yet.
“At this stage of the season though we’re reasonably happy with where we’re at,” Pearce, currently in Papua New Guinea with work, said.
“I’m quite lucky (assistant coach) Andrew Nelson has been putting the team through training this week, the leadership group has helped out. The tough games early in the year, it’ll give us a good chance to look at our game plans.”
Pearce said “you can never have enough new players” and would openly welcome anyone wanting to play at the club in 2013.
The Tigers train at Orange Ex-Services Country Club Oval from 6.30pm on Mondays and Wednesdays.
The 2013 CWAFL season begins on Saturday, April 13.