ORANGE Tigers coach Nathan Pearce said his club showed its depth in its 122-point first grade Central West AFL win over Dubbo on Saturday.
The Tigers were already assured of the minor premiership and the 26.22 (178) to 9.2 (56) win in Dubbo continued their dominance.
“The main thing with our group is no matter what grade you play, we’ve trained together and done drills so if you step up to first grade you can slot right in,” Pearce said.
“We proved that today. We had 12 guys out from our best 22. It shows how close we are as a club.”
The coach said the players who stepped up to the top grade impressed.
“Jake Hannus played well at the back,” he said.
“Damien Englart played well and so did Sam Reichstein. It was a really good team effort.”
The Tigers were on target in the opening quarter with eight majors and one behind to establish a 23-point lead over the Demons.
By half-time, Orange was up 12.9 (81) to 6.2 (38).
It was the third quarter where the Tigers really impressed.
They kicked eight majors and a further eight behinds, but they were just as strong at the other end of the field.
The Tigers managed to hold Dubbo scoreless in the third period. The Demons couldn’t even manage a behind.
A further six goals in the final period helped the defending champions to the comfortable victory.
“We played some really good football after half-time,” Pearce said.
“I wasn’t happy with some of our discipline in the first half. There was a bit of backchat. So we spoke about that at half-time and we came out in the second half and played some good footy.”
Dale Hunter led the way up front with seven majors, followed closely by Tim Barry (6) and Murray Robotham (5).
Pearce also led by example with six goals of his own.
“I had a pretty good first quarter. I had fun,” Pearce laughed.
“It was good to get out there with the guys and do some stuff I have a go at them about. At they same time, I gave away a 50-metre penalty and the boys gave it to me.”
The Tigers will host this Saturday’s major semi-final against Bathurst Bushrangers in a rematch of last year’s grand final.
Pearce said he’d make sure his players had no chance to be complacent.
“It’s just about sitting down and saying the job’s not done yet,” he said.
“Obviously I would like to see us have a home grand final. It would be good for the team and the club.”