ORANGE Tigers coach Nathan Pearce knows there is target on his team's back.
The Tigers stole the 2013 Central West AFL flag from under the Bathurst Bushrangers' nose, winning the grand final by three points, and Pearce said he and his players are well aware everyone else will be gunning to be the first team to tame the Tigers in 2014.
They just don't care.
"We won't be worrying about that," Pearce said.
"I'll prepare my team as best as I can in the pre-season, which means getting them fit more than anything and then the players will take over in round one. We saw from our practice match [against the Penrith Panthers] that our fitness wasn't quite up to scratch."
Despite winning last year's flag, and being undeniable favourites to do it again in 2014, Pearce said he hasn't thought about back-to-back premierships.
"I think you put yourself in a bad position if you start thinking about winning premierships at this time of year," he said.
"Ultimately, you always want to win them. But we are just concentrating on taking each game as it comes, no matter who we play.
"Having won the competition last year, our goal is to get ourselves into the grand final.
"Once we're there, we saw that anything can happen in grand finals last year, we'll start talking about back-to-back titles."
The Tigers have recruited well, picking up at least four new players, while definitely losing just two.
"A few guys are still considering what they'll do," Pearce said.
"From the trial game we've seen that the new guys will fit into our current group easily. With the group we now have we want to continue developing the strength and culture we've built in the last couple of seasons."