Clubs hunt Tigers' scalp

ORANGE Tigers coach Nathan Pearce knows defending the 2013 Central West AFL title in 2014 will be tough work.

Pearce said last season’s flag meant other clubs, particularly runners-up Bathurst Bushrangers, would be gunning for a yellow and black scalp this season.

“Everyone will be out to get us,” Pearce said.

“It just means we need to work as hard, if not much harder, than we did last season to make sure we’re up for it.”

The Tigers start pre-season training next week, and Pearce said despite being early days, the signs were good.

“We’ve gained a few players this year already,” he explained.

“Guys like Ben Monaghan and Daniel Sadler are back full time now, and we’ve also picked up a couple of guys from Melbourne who will train with us. We haven’t seen them yet of course.”

Pearce said the Tigers would lose several troops, but is hoping to gain enough first graders to fill the holes.

“Ideally, we’d pick up 20 first graders two months before the seasons starts,” he laughed.

“We will lose a couple, though. Jack Rogers, our first choice ruckman last year, is gone. He’ll be a big loss but I’m confident we’ll have the manpower to fill his role.”

Pearce said with any new season, team strategy and tactics would develop based on the team’s ability.

“I don’t think our structure will change much,” he said.

“Of course we will tweak our game plan a little bit. We still have plenty of room to develop ... even with the flag last year I think we still lost six or seven games. Even though we had a great 2013 across the board we can still improve.

“Last year we had a few guys fall into the club at the right time, and we’re hoping that happens again. If we pick up a couple more first grade quality players then I think we could be in for a big year as a club.”

The Tigers’ first pre-season training session is next Wednesday at Brendon Sturgeon Oval, starting at 6pm.

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