IT might be boring, but here’s hoping it’s also effective.
Orange Tigers coach Nathan Pearce believes his side can win today’s Central West AFL grand final in Bathurst by slowing the game down, in the process inflicting the unbeaten Bushrangers with their only loss of 2013.
“I think if we’re able to stick to a game plan and slow Bathurst down, we’ve got the side capable of doing that,” Pearce said ahead of today’s decider at George Park, Bathurst.
It’s a bold tactic.
The Bushies have had the wood over the Tigers throughout the course of the regular season, winning all five encounters.
In week one of semi-finals, Bathurst then showed why they’ll go into today’s grand final as supreme favourites with an emphatic 17.15 (117) to 3.17 (35) major semi-final win over their Orange opposition.
It was a major statement in the scheme of 2013.
Last weekend with it all on the line, Pearce’s men trailed Cowra the entire match before rallying in the final term to edge out the Blues 16.12 (108) to 14.11 (95), earning the right to face-off against Bathurst one more time the hard way.
Now, with another bite at the Bushrangers cherry, Pearce is confident height and a spoiling game plan can trump the minor premiers’ speed around the ground.
“We’ve got a mixture of small, skill, height, and I think that’s to our benefit,” he said, also admitting the Tigers must start better than they did against Cowra if they’re a chance of matching it with the Bushies.
“Bathurst are really quick but I don’t think they’ve got the height to match us.
“We’ve shown a couple of times if we can pressure their kick their skills aren’t as good as they’re made out to be.”
It’s been a long, cold decade since the Tigers last had a shot at a CWAFL flag.
Back in 2002 as a diminutive tagger, Pearce missed out on the club’s last taste of premiership success through injury, forced to watch on as Roy Jaques and the black and golds defeated the Dubbo Demons in the decider.
Now, 11 years on, Pearce is hoping it’s his turn to help the club win a competition.
“For me personally, I’ve been here 14 years ... I’ve seen the guys go through hard times, and from a club point of view, it’d mean a lot to coach a winning grand final,” he said.
Bushrangers coach Mark Kennedy was wary of his side’s performance against an enthusiastic Tigers back on June 15, a meeting the Orange club very nearly pulled of an upset win, only to go down by nine points.
Kennedy predicted which ever side settles first in the George Park decider will come away with the spoils.
“I think they will come out fired up, they will run on pure emotion that first quarter, we just need to ride the storm,” Kennedy said.
Opening bounce in the grand final will be 2.30pm at George Park.