PREPARATIONS for the Orange Tigers Central West AFL premiership defence will begin today at Country Club Oval when the black and golds host the Penrith Rams in a the club’s first pre-season trial match.
An annual hit-out for both clubs, Tigerland boss Nathan Pearce said he was hopeful the Penrith trial will give him the best chance possible to analyse exactly where the 17 new faces at the club will fit in 2014.
“We’ll be looking to give a few people a run in different positions,” Pearce said.
“We’ve had good numbers at training so far and we’ll have 32 [today].
“I think winning the grand final last year has certainly helped with our recruitment throughout the off season. If we can grab another handful of players that’d help.”
Pearce revealed he’ll likely trial gun full forward Tim Barry in the mid-field against Penrith, while new recruits Joel Ryder (Kalgoolie) and Christian Kelly (Geelong) will be given their first chance to impress come first bounce at 11.30am today.
A Tiger in 2012, Murray Robotham is set to play up front for the black and golds.
But despite the wealth of talent already on show for Orange, Pearce was reluctant to talk up his side’s shot at back-to-back first grade flags.
“Not at the moment,” he said.
“It’s still only February and we’re probably only halfway through our pre-season at the moment.
“Right now, the trial game will be about seeing where we are as a group with our fitness and ball skills and seeing where we need to improve.
“We’ve got a number of new players at the club this season and we’ll be looking to see how they fit in.
“Winning and losing this game isn’t an issue for me as coach.”
Today’s trial will be run over six, 15 minute periods at the Country Club Oval.
First bounce is at 11.30am.