ORANGE Tigers coach Nathan Pearce will dust off his boots in Saturday’s Central West AFL clash with the Young Saints in an attempt to alleviate a severe player shortage.
Pearce and his players will travel to Young’s Burrangong Oval on Saturday minus 11 of their stars, including Central West trio Tim Barry, Michael Rothnie and Matt Dippolito, in what has become one of Orange’s toughest prospects of the season so far.
The Saints have only played one game at home this season, securing a surprising nine-point win over former competition heavyweights Cowra Blues - their only win of the season - and Pearce said despite his team romping home 204-points in the corresponding fixture in Orange two weeks ago, the hosts present the Tigers with an entirely different beast today.
“Of the 64 players we have on our books, 38 are unavailable this week,” he said.
“This is our worst week I can remember in terms of player availability. And Young will be a much better side at home.
“I imagine we would see some players we might not have seen before, and they have some very handy players in their side anyway.”
The Tigers’ game plan won’t change, Pearce said, despite being so undermanned.
“We’ll have plenty of reserve graders and under 18s playing, but we all train together in the same style,” Pearce said.
“They all know what to do, and aware of how we play the game. We’ve got some good talented kids coming through and as in any situation like this, players being away creates opportunity for others.
“I think the main thing this week is ignoring the scoreboard, whether we’re up or down. We got selfish, and paid too much attention to it against Young last time, so today we’ll work on starting every quarter at zero whether we’re up by 100 or down by 100.”
Pearce conceded his comeback was not purely based on the player shortage, saying this week provides him with an opportunity he doesn’t foresee as possible again.
“My nephew Logan Crimp is named on the bench with me,” he said.
“I always said I’d play with him if I got the chance, and this week gives us that chance. I doubt I’ll get it again, and it’ll be pretty special to take the field with him.”
First bounce is at 2.30pm at Young’s Burrangong Oval.