ORANGE Tigers coach Nathan Pearce has a simple solution for those currently debating the future of the Central West AFL’s competition structure.
Speaking ahead of his side’s trip to Cowra on Saturday, the black and golds mentor said it was “the responsibility of the clubs” to get their own house in order before asking for assistance from the league.
There’s no more qualified person in the competition to talk about football about-faces, too, with Peace instrumental in taking the Tigers from CWAFL also-rans to defending champions, all in the space of 12 months.
“I’ve been involved with the game here for 15 years and every club has struggled at some point in that time,” Pearce said.
“The biggest thing is clubs have to stop thinking the league will help them out. Clubs have to start looking after themselves. We’ve done it, we’ve had people like Kass (Ings) and Nicole (Pearce) go out and find players, sponsors. Simon Kay last year, Luke Whitton this year, we’ve turned things around.
“We’ve got the biggest group of under 12s we’ve ever had this year. It’s the responsibility of the clubs to turn things around.”
He said any changes to the competition had to be for the betterment of the league, not just one or two clubs.
“I think as long as talks are positive ... but it has to be for the best for the league,” the flag-winning mentor said.
Today, though, the Tigers biggest challenge won’t be anything faced off field.
The Orange club will be without nine regulars when it runs out on to Mulyan Oval in Cowra for its clash with the Blues.
Insisting depth isn’t a problem this year for the defending premiers, Pearce was confident the under 18s guys - Toby Polkinghorne, Vaughn Higgins and Tristen Deng - making the jump up to grade football will more than handle the leap in competition for the ladder-leading Tigers.
“The three mentioned are very talented players and all have a long future ahead in first grade footy,” Pearce said, with Justin Fong, Leigh Turner and Daniel Bruce the notable omissions.
“This is a good opportunity to develop those guys. But in saying that, if we don’t play to our game plan and keep our structure we’re going to get hurt by Cowra.
“I say it every week, but we’re expecting an improved opposition out there. We’re not taking any team lightly.”
First bounce in Cowra will be at 2.30pm on Saturday.