If you needed any indication of just how big an influence Josh Bubnich could have on the rest the Orange Tigers’ 2017 season, you need only look to the side’s victory over the Bathurst Giants on Saturday.
In his first game for the black and golds since returning from the Gungahlin Jets, Bubnich dominated, proving exactly why he was considered the best player in the Central West AFL for several years.
A former best and fairest winner, the West Australian kicked five majors and had a hand in several of the Tigers’ other goals, inspiring the 36-point victory.
“It’s a big plus all round to have him back, all the guys walk a little taller knowing someone of his calibre is out there with them,” Tigers coach Dale Hunter said.
“He was my pick, and probably everyone there’s pick too, for best on ground (on Saturday).
“He ended up kicking five goals from the midfield, he kicked the first two of the game, and made a huge impact right from the word go.
“The Giants did put some work into him after his start, but he handled it pretty well.”
It’s not just Bubnich’s ability that will lift the Tigers in their run to the finals either, Hunter said, he’s a leader on and off the paddock.
“If he was here from the start of the year, he’d have been in our leadership group for sure,” Hunter said.
“But he’s not a bloke that needs that title anyway.
“He leads from the front anyway in the way he plays, and he’s a great guy for our younger players to learn from.
“He’s not that vocal in terms of demanding better from players, but everyone lifts around him anyway. He’s also more than happy to be setting other players up, and what he does at training will have a big impact too.”