WHEN the full-time siren sounded at George Park on Saturday it signalled a convincing win for Mark Kennedy’s Bushrangers, but the Bathurst coach knows the 18.20 (128) to 10.8 (68) victory against Central West AFL rivals Orange Tigers could have been even more comprehensive.
The scoreline tells the biggest part of the story, 20 of Bathurst’s scoring shots registered as behinds, while the home side also gifted Orange five of their majors thanks to 50 metre penalties.
While Kennedy was still happy to have come away with the points, he admitted the result could have been termed “a smashing” had his side played with more patience and discipline at times.
“We were very inaccurate and that let us down, but we gave away seven 50 metre penalties - four of those were in the first half, I couldn’t believe it - and five of those 50s resulted in goals,” Kennedy said.
“Of course I’d like us to kick more goals than points, in the first quarter we could have been further in front. We had four shots for four behinds in the first 15 minutes, that period could have really set us up.
“We are rushing it in the forward line. I said to them ‘I haven’t got a stopwatch to time how long it takes to get the ball from the centre bounce into the goal.’ We don’t have to rush it that much.”
Inaccuracy and those 50 metre penalties aside, Kennedy in the main liked what he saw from his players.
The coach was pleased to see Orange had to work hard for the ball every time it got inside their 50, the Bushrangers’ back line proving strong in the battle for contested football.
Bathurst also responded well after a tight first quarter in which Orange twice led and poached a number of kicks intended for Bushrangers.
The home side should have scored a major with less than a minute gone when they won the opening centre clearance, pumped the ball inside 50 and found themselves with an open goal, but the ball dribbled through for a behind.
Shaun Noyen and skipper Matt Archer both had chances after leading well and taking sharp marks, but their efforts also went through for minor scores.
However, it was not only Bathurst that had trouble finding the first goal of the match, Orange’s Nicholas Goudie hitting the post after a free kick gave him a set shot from in front.
He did toe the ball through off the ground shortly after to give the Tigers the lead and when Simon Kay punished Bathurst for conceding a 50 metre penalty Orange would have been thinking back to 12 months earlier when they won their first match against the Bushrangers.
However, Bathurst was quick to respond with consecutive goals.
Orange did sneak back in front following another 50 metre penalty, but at the first change the hosts held a slim 3.6 (24) to 3.2 (20) advantage.
The second quarter was what really set up Bathurst’s win as Orange was only outscored by one point in the third term and 14 in the final period.
For the Tigers, Christopher Rothnie booted three majors while Kay, Murray Robotham, Dale Hunter and Nicholas Goudie were strong in a beaten side.