WIN or lose, don’t expect Orange Tigers coach Nathan Pearce to read too much into a match shaping up as a Central West AFL blockbuster today at Country Club Oval.
The Tigers host the Bathurst Bushrangers from 2.30pm today.
It is the first time the two sides have met since the black and golds sprung the upset of the 2013 season in beating the then-undefeated Bushies 14.8 (92) to 13.11 (89) in the grand final.
It was the Bathurst club’s second loss in just two seasons.
But defusing any talking points of any possible spiteful retribution, Pearce says both his Tigers and the Matt Archer-coached Bushrangers won’t come out all guns blazing in just the second round.
“There’s two completely different sides,” Pearce said, comparing the line-ups in today’s game to the 2013 grand final.
“Club rivalry yes, but player availability wise, Bathurst has lost a few, we’ve lost a few, Bathurst has gained a few and so have we.
“If it were the same two teams there would still be some bad blood but it’s two different sides.
“And I think we proved last year the regular season, although important, it’s not the be all and end all of the season.
“We want to win, but this early in the season it’s more about firming our change of structure and playing good footy.”
The Tigers will be without a host of first grade guns including Dale Hunter, Corey McKenzie, Josh Bubnich and Lee Turner, while skipper Tim Berry is recovering from a broken finger and junior Ben McKenna is yet to make his long-awaited return.
Kicking seven goals in the Tigers’ 154-point drubbing of Cowra last week, Hunter is the key loss for Orange up front.
Pearce said his club’s depth would be stretched, but had full confidence in the 22 selected.
“Neither side is at full strength,” Pearce said.
“It’s Bathurst’s first game after the round one bye so they’ll be a bit rusty.
“We won well last weekend but there’s still plenty of areas I think we can certainly get better at. My focus will be on ensuring the team does those things well this week.”
The Orange Tigers host the Bathurst Bushrangers from 2.30pm today at Country Club Oval.
Young tackles Cowra in the other round two contest, with the Dubbo Demons enjoying the bye.
n ORANGE TIGERS: D Bruce, S Buesnel, M Dippolito, S Ewin, P Frecklington, J Hannus, B Harris, P Jenkins, J Lenegan, J Mackinnon, J McKenna, B Monaghan, M Norris, J Phillips, S Reichstein, M Reynolds, M Robotham, C Rothnie, M Rothnie, J Ryder, R Scetrine.