NINE Orange Tigers will take to Wade Park as part of an AFL Central West squad looking to redeem itself in this weekend’s Matt Smith Memorial Trophy clash with Northern Riverina.
Northern Riverina ran rampant in the corresponding fixture last season, and Orange stars Michael Rothnie, Tim Barry, Dale Hunter, Paul Jenkins, Chris Rothnie, Ben Monaghan, Josh Bubnich, Daniel Bruce and Matt Dippolito will don green and gold in a bid to reverse the result.
Central West coach Mark Kennedy said the Orange contingent will play a vital role in the stronger, new-look squad’s game plan.
“We had the most names for selection we’ve had in years, about 40,” Kennedy said.
“It’s a very strong squad, and it’s the most Orange guys we’ve had in years which is a reflection of their ability, and last year’s form. They’ll all be very important to our chances.
“Last year we were away from home, and it’s always tough for us to travel. We won the trophy the year before that in Bathurst, and this is a big opportunity for us to do so again.”
Kennedy went on to credit his team’s annual opponents, before adding how excited his players are to take to Wade Park - the first time the ground has hosted Australian Rules since 2009.
“Northern Riverina have been very strong for a long time, they’ve played footy there for over 100 years,” Kennedy said.
“They’ve got a lot of very good players, and they’ll be tough, but we’re confident. Playing at Wade Park is great, playing under lights against quality opposition who beat us last year. Being at home should help us.”
In a positive note for the sport’s development in Orange, 17 Tigers will feature in the junior games, played throughout the day. Nine, three and five Tigers will represent in the under 12s, 15s and 18s Central West teams respectively, before the curtain-raising ladies 9s game.
Gates open at Wade Park at 8.45am, with games to start at 9.45am before first bounce in the Matt Smith Memorial Trophy game at 4.30pm.
CENTRAL WEST: D Peadamont, S Grundy, M Rothnie, T Barry, M Archer, T Hunter, D Hunter, P Jenkins, J Hewitt, C Rothnie, K Woodman, B Monaghan, J Bubnich, M Dippolito, J Vogan, D Bruce, S Pearce, S Heretz, B Holgate, S Noyeng, A Davies, J Allars (emergency).