A “REFRESHED” Orange Tigers will be boosted by the return of goal-kicking skipper Tim Barry today.
The Tigers opened their Central West AFL premiership defence with a resounding 154-point win over the Cowra Blues before falling to a spirited Bushrangers 15.12 (102) to 9.9 (63) with a depleted line-up in round two.
Not prepared to read too much into the Bathurst loss, Barry said the black and golds will head into today’s clash with the Dubbo Demons with a renewed eagerness after a two-week break, thanks to Easter, and a deferred round three hit-out with Young.
“Everyone is eager to get stuck back into the year,” Barry, one of the best forward targets in the CWAFL, said.
“Even though the year is only two rounds old, everyone is refreshed after the break.”
Set to play his first game since breaking his hand in pre-season, Barry’s presence alongside returning veterans Corey McKenzie and Dale Hunter, and gun midfielder Josh Bubnich, will add significant steel to the Tigers’ line-up.
Praising the work of youngsters Chris Rothnie and Daniel Bruce in their absence, Barry said describing their loss to Bathurst as disappointing was being harsh on a young team.
“Disappointed is probably too strong. It hurts to lose and certainly I was hoping to come away with the win, but we were missing a number of quality guys in key positions,” Barry said.
“While we lost the game we’re taking plenty of positives from it. A number of the young guys who’ve stepped up and played have showed plenty of promise.
“It’s certainly not doom and gloom this early in the year.”
Dubbo, however, presents the Tigers with an entirely different beast to the perennial Bathurst.
Where the Bushrangers ooze consistency, the Demons breathe unpredictability, and for that reason Barry is wary of today’s opponent.
“Speaking to a number of people, you’re never quite sure just who is likely to turn up from Dubbo. They can fall away pretty quickly,” he said.
“It’s just a matter of if we stick to the structure we’ve worked on, it doesn’t really matter who we play, Dubbo, Bathurst or Cowra, we’ll be a bit more positive in our footy.”
Saturday’s first bounce is at 2.30pm at the Country Club Oval.