Pearce's warning after 255-point win: Tigers can still improve - Gallery

IN an ominous warning for the rest of the Central West AFL, Orange Tigers coach Nathan Pearce believes his side is still 10 per cent off playing its best footy - and that's after mauling Dubbo by 255-points last Saturday.

The fighting fury man handled a hapless Demons at Country Club Oval, booting 40.28 (286) to 2.1 (13) in the 2014 season's biggest win to date.

But, far from over-enthused about another massive victory, Pearce says his side still has plenty to work on as the black and golds prepare for a tough title defence with a penultimate round match-up against the Bathurst Bushrangers before again meeting in the first week of the semi-finals on August 30.

Lucky for Pearce, the best is yet to come.

"We're the same as last year, we still haven't been able to put our absolute best side on the park," Pearce said, the Bushrangers, too, racked up a mammoth 29.25 (199) to 2.1 (13) win over Cowra last weekend.

"Our last couple of games against Bathurst, we were missing Murray Robotham, Justin Fong ... we're still, I believe, about five to 10 per cent off what we're capable of.

"In saying that, I know Bathurst can perform better than we've seen as well.

"We won't know where we're at until the first week of the finals."

Playing against an obviously under-gunned Dubbo, Orange led by 120 points at half time and then kicked away even further thanks to 13 majors in the third term.

Tim Barry kicked 12 goals while Dale Hunter was the other major goal kicker with nine.

Impressively, and probably partly behind Pearce's obvious desire for more from his football club, both Josh Bubnich and Michael Rothnie were absent from his side's 255-point win.

"And they're two players who, in my mind, are two in line for best on field this year. They've had fantastic seasons," he added.

In their absence, however, the likes of Simon Ewin, Chris Rothnie and Paul Jenkins shone.

"I was really pleased those guys stood up," Pearce added.

"With Mick Rothnie and Josh Bubnich out, we were able to throw our team around a bit. From a coach's point of view it gave me a bit of a look at what we might be able to do well over the next few weeks."

The club's round 17 clash with Bathurst is the most notable fixture in that period.

Should Orange win, a minor premiership will be wrapped up.

If Bathurst record victory, percentages will come into deciding the minor premiership and who hosts the all-important grand final qualifier in week one of the semi-finals.

Currently Orange's percentage stands at 390.50, while Bathurst's is 333.04 per cent.


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