Orange Tigers AFL club names new coaches for the 2017 season

NEW DIRECTION: Dale Hunter and Grant Mansell will take charge of the coaching reins at the Orange Tigers club, looking after the men's and women's sides respectively. Photo: CONTRIBUTED

NEW DIRECTION: Dale Hunter and Grant Mansell will take charge of the coaching reins at the Orange Tigers club, looking after the men's and women's sides respectively. Photo: CONTRIBUTED

Change.

Over the course of the last 18 months, it’s a word synonymous with the evolving Central West AFL competition and, more specifically, the premiership’s former powerhouse, the Orange Tigers.

After winning three straight flags between 2013 and 2015, the black and golds battled injury and departures throughout a lackluster 2016, eventually finishing outside of the top four.

Now, with the entire core of that premiership winning run now gone – last year’s leaders Tim Barry, Michael Rothnie and Zac Forstenko have all departed the club – it’s time to embrace change.

New coach Dale Hunter is leading that charge.

“I didn’t really like the direction the club was heading and I thought I’d put my hand up and take the plunge,” Hunter said, taking charge of a new-look Tigers outfit.

“I’d be lying if I said we had the blokes to cover those losses, but the game plan I hope to introduce will focus on the side as a whole, not a few.

“It’ll be about sharing the responsibility as a team.”

Hunter wasn’t part of the club last season, stepping back from the game after being surrounded by the sport for the entirety of his 34 years.

Hunter’s father, Allan, played AFL with Footscray and later coached at Broken Hill.

“I decided I’d take a step back from footy last season and didn’t play and I watched from afar,” he added.

“I’ve always thought I’d be capable of coaching and it’s something I’ve wanted to do, but over the last 12 months I’ve probably seriously considered it.”

He backed his ability to turn the club back into a flag force, but said the process would be a slow one given the huge turnaround in players since last winning the premiership in 2015.

“Given my pedigree I think I’ve got as good a football IQ as anyone,” Hunter said, adding he’ll call on the experience his dad has to help with the transition.

“For sure, he’s been my football mentor all throughout my playing days and I expect to do the same with coaching.”

At this stage Hunter won’t be playing, but the gun forward has been training with the side full time.

“I haven’t missed a session,” he added.

The Tigers train Tuesday and Thursday evenings at Country Club Oval.

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