Outside huge showings from Sandun Welisara, Tom Gibbons and Chris Pethybridge, Orange Tigers player-coach Dale Hunter said his side’s decision making left plenty to be desired in a “scrappy and complacent” performance at Waratahs Sportsground on Saturday afternoon.
Considering the Tigers still scored an almost-five-goal win over the Bathurst Bushrangers Outlaws, that gives you a fair indication of how lofty the standards are that Hunter sets for his side.
He was certainly pleased to still do enough to get the job done though, the victory combined with Dubbo’s upset of the Bathurst Giants pushes the Tigers three wins clear on top of the league and all but wraps up the Central West AFL minor premiership as well – barring a disaster in the last four rounds, of course.
“It was good to get the win, because it gives us a bit more of a buffer on top even though we’re not too concerned about what the others sides are doing, we’re focused on ourselves,” Hunter said.
“But it was really scrappy, I think we were a bit complacent but that might have been because of the conditions. It was wet, cold and windy, it’s tough to get in the right frame of mind in those conditions.
“Some of our decision making in those conditions was pretty average. We spoke about moving the ball quickly into the forward line but we had trouble getting it in there, that pushed our forwards out of position and played into their backline’s hands a bit.
“But we did finish well and we got the job done, which is good. It was easy to see what we were and weren’t doing, so it’s pretty easily fixed I think.”
That strong finish came by way of a seven-goals-to-four second half.
The Tigers led by just one major at the main break, but kicked away in the third quarter to lead by 32 at three-quarter-time and eventually went on to win by 26 points, with 12.8.80 – 8.6.54 the final scoreline.
“The Outlaws certainly came to play and they put plenty of pressure on us, so it wasn’t just because our intensity wasn’t quite where it needed to be,” Hunter said.
Hunter lauded those big efforts of Welisara, Gibbons and Pethybridge, particularly the latter, who has been continually building throughout 2018.
Pethybridge kicked four of the Tigers’ 12 majors to back his four-goal effort from the previous week’s win over the Bushrangers Outlaws.
“I was really pleased with Pethybridge, he’s starting to play really good footy and I’ve said before how big a threat he can be in that forward line,” Hunter said.
“Sandun Welisara was also outstanding on the wing and Tom Gibbons was too in the ruck. Defensively he was there all day too.”
Tim Barry also kicked four goals to continue his excellent form in front of goal while Jaxon Mumme bagged a double as well, with Chris and Michael Rothnie both kicking one each as well.
Tom Regan and Mitch Bestwick both kicked two goals each for the Outlaws, who are now in a share for fourth with the Demons and as serious risk of missing the finals completely.
- ORANGE TIGERS 12.8.80 (Tim Barry 4, Chris Pethybridge 4, Jaxon Mumme 2, Chris Rothnie, Mick Rothnie goals) def BATHURST BUSHRANGERS OUTLAWS 8.6.54 (Tom Regan 2, Mitch Bestwick 2, Pete Grundy, Ben Horn, Riley Holland)