ORANGE Tigers coach Nathan Pearce is confident his eight Central West representative players will back-up in Sunday’s catch-up game against the Young Saints.
Michael Rothnie, Dale Hunter, Paul Jenkins, Chris Rothnie, Ben Monaghan, Josh Bubnich, Daniel Bruce and Matt Dippolito will all play for Central West against Northern Riverina on Saturday, before donning black-and-gold tomorrow in the only Central West AFL game of the weekend.
“I’m pretty confident they’ll back-up,” Tigers coach Nathan Pearce said.
“Obviously this is our biggest involvement in representative footy for quite a while and if they don’t back-up we’ll be missing some pretty crucial players, especially in the midfield. If they’re not 100 per cent we have contingency plans. For example, someone like Michael Rothnie or Josh Bubnich could work through the half-back line, rather than on the ball to reduce their workload a bit.”
The Tigers are yet to play the Saints, who rejoined the top tier competition this year, and Pearce said his players will be wary as a result.
Young sits in last place on four points, but has only played two games for a win and a loss.
The Tigers, with two wins from three games, are in second place on eight points.
“We won’t be taking them lightly,” Pearce said.
“We don’t take anyone lightly in this competition. They’ve had a win, but they’re a complete unknown to us.
“I think if we can stick to our structures and game-plan we’ll be fine. I think we need to improve our run off the half-back line. That, and to get a bit of consistency.”
The Tigers will be without star Tim Barry, who misses the game through injury.
The Tigers take on the Saints at Bloomfield Oval, with first bounce at 2.30pm on Sunday.