Orange Tigers’ under 12s capped off their remarkable, undefeated Central West AFL season on Sunday morning by thumping the Cowra Blues in the grand final, winning the 2017 flag in the most emphatic of fashions.
The Tiger cubs had earned favouritism by dominating during the regular season – their smallest winning margin all year was 21 points – and continued their stunning form in the decider, running over the reigning champions and winning by almost 10 goals.
The young Tigers kept Cowra scoreless and piled on six goals of their own in the first half at Bathurst’s George Park, slotting another four majors across the third and fourth terms to win 10.1.61 – 0.2.2.
“It was some season. Very, very pleasing from a coach’s perspective,” Tigers coach Daniel Bock said.
“We knew this group would be a pretty well-prepared side going into the season, a lot of them have played together since Auskick so it’s helpful that they understand each others’ games and that sort of thing, but I don’t think we expected them to be winning by that much every week.
“They were just outstanding in the final against Cowra. We sort of knew we had it won by three-quarter-time so I told them to get around each other in the fourth quarter and have a bit of fun.
“They were all just ecstatic on full-time.”
Tom Bock kicked four goals for the Tigers, Hamish Blair, George Kemp and Matthew Brown all kicked two, while Arthur Locke was named best on ground.
“It was a great team effort though,” Bock said.
“No one individual really stood out, they got the job done together which was really great.”
A number of the under 12s side backed up in the Tigers’ under 14s grand final, but the black and golds were outclassed in that one by the undefeated Bathurst Giants – not through lack of effort, of course.
The Giants ran away with the decider, winning 13.15.93 – 3.5.23.
“It was a pretty good Giants side, it was a really good effort from our guys, especially the 12s that were backing up,” Bock said.
The Tigers’ youth girls’ side finished its season on a massive high though, scoring its first win of the season over the Bathurst Bushrangers, before going down to Cowra.
Elizabeth Gibson and Sophie Beatty played in that side and the under 14s grand final too. Gibson, incredibly considering she was in a soundly-beaten side, was named best on ground in the under 14s decider.
”She’s a very consistent player and she’s very talented,” Bock said.
“She more than mixes it with the boys, she dominates her age group. If she continues with the sport and keeps going the way she is, I’d say there’s every chance we’ll see her in the women’s AFL one day.”