EVEN after winning the 2013 flag, Nathan Pearce knows the Orange Tigers can improve.
Pearce coached the Tigers to a Central West AFL first grade premiership last season, and has agreed to mentor the team again in 2014.
Despite playing the game of their lives to defeat the heavily favoured Bathurst Bushrangers in last year’s grand final, Pearce says his players haven’t gone anywhere near reaching their potential.
“It’s one of the main reasons I decided to go around again,” Pearce said.
“I think we can improve at least 10 or 15 per cent on last season.
“If we can get 85 to 90 per cent of the playing group from 2013 back, and I think we will, then we should be able to keep getting better next year.”
Pearce said the decision to coach again was not one he made with ease, wanting the opinion of his senior players before deciding.
“I had plenty of backing from people within the club,” he said.
“But I had a talk with the playing group too, and they supported me staying on.
“I certainly considered giving it away, but I enjoyed the time during and after the grand final this year.”
Pearce will be joined on the Tigers coaching staff by Andy McIntyre (reserve grade), Tim Barry (under 18) and Scott Shepherd (under 15).
Pearce has also taken on the added responsibility of coaching the under 12s.
“We had a great year as a club last season,” Pearce explained.
“I think with the premiership last year, and under 18s playing a grand final, we should gain quite a few players for next season. We’re seeing people who used to play coming back to the club, and guys in first grade are having to fight for their positions.
“I’m expecting the club to have a very big season in 2014.”
Pearce said he will focus as much on the junior side of the club as the seniors.
“Ideally that’s where I want to end up, coaching the young blokes,” he said.
“Our juniors keep getting stronger and stronger, and I’ve always wanted to be a part of it.
“Plus my son is playing in the 12s, and I want to see him play and help him better his football.”
The Tigers started pre season training on December 4, any interested players should visit the club’s website.