No pressure on Orange Tigers ahead of first bounce in premiership defence

DEFENDING premiers, a throng of new players and the kind of pre-season most mentors can only dream about.

Expectation? What expectation.

Orange Tigers coach Nathan Pearce isn’t putting any pressure on his side ahead of round one of the 2014 Central West AFL premiership, that’s despite the 2013 flag winners looking every bit the favourites to go back-to-back in 2014.

“As far as expectations go, we’re not putting any on ourselves,” Pearce said.

“The end goal for every team is to play in that grand final, but we’re not looking that far ahead at the moment.”

The Tigers will take the first step in their first premiership defence since 2003 when they hit the road to tackle the Blues in Cowra on Saturday.

Usually a CWAFL juggernaut, the Blues battled last winter and provided little more than fodder for last year’s eventual grand finalists Bathurst and Orange.

Pearce, however, was expecting a more attacking Cowra team in 2014.

“Looking at Cowra, there’s plenty of new guys in their team and they’ve brought up some of the young kids as well. I’m expecting them to be a fast outfit,” the Tigers coach said.

“We’ll see how we match up with them. There’s plenty of unknowns over the first few weeks.”

Expecting strong pushes from Bathurst, Dubbo and Cowra, Pearce said the goal for the Tigers over the opening rounds of the season was to stamp the Orange club’s mark on the competition.

“On paper we’re looking strong,” he said.

“We’ve got a lot of new guys and we’ve been replicating our game-day structures at training. We won’t know how we’ll go until we hit the field but I think we’ve done the work to be able to put our best foot forward.

“We’ve got a decent side. With the rate of recruitment we’ve had this season we’ve got the numbers to put a fair side on the park. It was hard to pick our top 22.

“There has been plenty of competition for spots.”

First bounce for Saturday’s game is at 2.30pm at Mulyan Oval.

ORANGE TIGERS: Daniel Bruce, Joshua Bubnich, Steve Buesnel, Matt Dippolito, Simon Ewin, Jake Hannus, Brent Harris, Dale Hunter, Paul Jenkins, Jarrad Lenegan, Josh Mackinnon, Jesse McKenna, Ben Monaghan, Matthew Norris, Jaydan Phillips, Murray Robotham, Chris Rothnie, Michael Rothnie, Joel Ryder, Ryan Scetrine, Leigh Turner.

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