ORANGE Tigers midfielder Mitch McKenna will join an illustrious group when he takes the field against Bathurst Bushrangers on Saturday, becoming the 14th Tiger to play 100 first grade Central West AFL games.
After a career spanning five years McKenna joins Tigers legends Mark Field, Frank Weymouth, Mark Byrne, Steve May, Paul McDonell, Graeme Corby, Mick Thornberry, Nic Freedman, Nathan Totten, Craig Donaldson, Andrew McIntyre, Nathan Pearce and Steve Buesnell in the 100 club.
“I need to give credit to the boys, my teammates,” McKenna said.
“They’ve had a huge influence on me, I probably wouldn’t still be playing without them around me.”
Injuries threatened to quell McKenna’s bid to reach triple figures, and he said being back to full fitness was as much a relief as anything else.
“I only played a few games last season, and I thought I might miss this year,” he said.
“It’s great to just be back playing the game I love.”
McKenna’s younger brother Ben will share in the milestone, with almost the entire McKenna family set to be on the sidelines of Country Club Oval.
“It’s a bit disappointing to not play this one with [younger brother] Jesse as well, he’s down south now,” Mitch said.
“But having Ben back is great. The whole family is coming and quite a few mates. It should be a great day.”
The Tigers and Bushrangers share top spot on the CWAFL ladder, however Orange is a whisker in front on percentage and will take the outright lead with a win on Saturday.
McKenna said today’s clash was crucial to his side’s minor premiership hopes, labelling the game a “must win”.
“It really is just Bathurst and us as much I don’t like taking away from Young, Dubbo and Cowra,” he said.
“We need to beat the dominant force which is Bathurst [today]. We’ve both beaten each other once this year, so it’s a bit of tiebreaker.”
First bounce in the top-of-the -table clash is at 2.30pm, at Country Club Oval.