HAVING already secured the Central West AFL minor premiership, and with a home semi-final next weekend, the Orange Tigers head to Dubbo on Saturday to take on the Demons in somewhat of an anti-climactic finish to the regular season.
After a thrilling 32-point victory over second-placed Bathurst Bushrangers last weekend, the Tigers cannot lose top spot and, barring a complete disaster, Dubbo cannot slip lower than fourth.
With Saturday’s clash at South Dubbo Oval meaning next to nothing for the Tigers, Orange coach Nathan Pearce said he had not had an easy job keeping his troops motivated.
“We’ve decided to rest a few guys as well leading into the finals, and there is a bit of a relaxed nature about this game,” he said.
“It’s been my job to keep the guys switched on, which hasn’t been easy in the circumstances. There is a certain importance on the game though, as what we do this week leads into next week.”
Despite Pearce’s caution, Orange has the right to be confident based on its results against Dubbo so far in 2014.
The Tigers, cumulatively, have kicked a ridiculous 93.70 (628) in the two sides’ three match-ups so far, to Dubbo’s lowly 6.6 (42). In fact, the Demons have failed to score more than 16 points against Orange in any game this season.
“They are a much better side at home,” Pearce said.
“People talk about how lopsided this competition is, but on any given day the lower sides can beat the top sides. It’s quite simple, if we don’t turn up and play well in Dubbo [today] we will get beaten, and that’s not something I want going into a home semi-final against Bathurst.”
First bounce at South Dubbo Oval is at 2.30pm.