A QUARTER-TIME rocket from coach Nathan Pearce has propelled the defending Central West AFL premiers to a commanding 130-point victory over Dubbo on Saturday.
Played in cold and wet conditions made to seem infinitely worse by a swirling Country Club Oval wind, Pearce’s Tigers bounced back after a last-start loss to the Bushrangers with a 21.20 (146) to 2.4 (16) demolition job on the Demons.
But, filthy on his side’s opening quarter, it took a few quarter-time home truths to get the Tigers firing on all cylinders.
“Our first quarter was pathetic, to be honest,” Pearce said.
“We tried to be too cute with the footy and on a day like (Saturday), we need to go back to basics. I told them that and from quarter-time on we played some pretty good footy.”
Leading by 33 after the first quarter and with Pearce’s fury fresh in their minds, Orange responded with five majors to Dubbo’s none in the second term to take a 11.11 (77) 1.3 (9) lead into the main break.
But it was in the third quarter Orange really hit its straps.
The black and golds defied the bitter conditions to effectively double their lead in the space of a quarter, booting seven goals and five behinds to ensure the scoreboard attendant at Country Club Oval was the busiest man at the ground.
All the while Dubbo managed no points in the third term.
Orange took the foot off their opponent’s throat in the fourth quarter, rounding out the 130-point thumping to remain second on the 2014 CWAFL ladder behind the undefeated Bathurst.
The final three terms thrilled Pearce, with the work of his midfielders particularly impressive.
Shepherding to perfection as the black and gold rovers capitalised on the freedom out wide to find their forward targets at will, Pearce said that kind of protection for the ball runner was the kind of footy he expected week in, week out from his 22.
“We’ve worked hard on that over the last couple of years,” Pearce said.
“It was a really positive game in that respect.”
Skipper Tim Barry, in particular, was deadly in front of goal.
The big full-forward booted seven majors in just three quarters of football in a successful comeback from a broken finger.
While Pearce praised the work of Jayden Phillips, Murray Robotham and Dale Hunter in the Tigers’ return to form.
ORANGE TIGERS 21.20 (146) def DUBBO DEMONS 2.4 (16)