They’re coming off two massive wins, including a one-point thriller over Dubbo Demons last week, but this weekend the Orange Tigerettes have their biggest game of the season against Bathurst Giants.
That’s not just because of the implications of the game – which are massive – but because this weekend the Tigerettes and Giants remember former Orange vice-captain Katrina Hobby.
Hobby died in November 2017 following a two-year battle with ovarian cancer, she was one of the founding members of the Tigerettes and lined up in their first game in 2015.
The two sides will play for the Katrina Hobby Memorial Shield, which will become an annual contest, with Saturday’s inaugural match to be followed by a function up at Waratahs.
Over 100 tickets have been sold and the night includes a silent auction for memorabilia from the Sydney Swans and Western Bulldogs as well as oodles of other prizes and offers, while live music and more will also take place.
There will be a best on ground medal awarded, and both sides will be donning teal socks with ‘VC’ written on them – Hobby’s nickname – which were donated by Sportspower.
All the funds raised will go into a trust for Hobby’s two children, who will be at the game alongside family.
Whenever she was beside me I knew I was safe, you knew she had your back and she had everyone’s backTigerettes' Kristen Hunter
Renee Cullis, Dael Bingham, Jade Charnock, Kellie Tom, Cara Jordan and Julie Dittmar are the six Tigerettes playing in 2018 who lined up alongside Hobby in the first season, while former Orange captain and now Giants midfielder Jayarna Kay will also take the field.
Cullis, who is the Tigerettes’ captain but will potentially miss the rest of the season after having surgery last week, said a lot of the older players would come back to watch the game, with some half a chance to pull on the boots.
“It will mean a lot to everyone, even the people not playing any more,” she said.
“She was a pretty awesome person, we want to do the memorial right.
“When she got sick she said she’d be back next year but when things took a turn for the worse we knew we’d do something like this to remember her, we figured the Giants would be the best club to do it with.”
Hobby’s brother Brodie Fields plays with the Giants’ men’s side, while former Tigerettes captain Kay was also very close with Hobby.
Tigerettes’ 2016 vice-captain Kristan Hunter played alongside Hobby in their debut season and has been one of the key organisers of the game and the post-match function.
She said Hobby was a “huge” part of the club and was the heart of the side.
“She was very loyal, I lined up with her on the halfback line and whenever she was beside me I knew I was safe, you knew she had your back and she had everyone’s back,” Hunter said.
“If there was something happening in the forward line she’d run down and stand up for her mates.
“There’ll be lots of tears throughout the day, knowing the family will be there and are 100 per cent behind the game and have affiliation with both clubs.”
Hobby had as big a heart off the field as on it, which says a lot considering some of her addresses in the huddle, and she was still heavily invested in the side all through her “inspiring” battle with cancer.
Many weekends were spent seeking treatment in Sydney instead of where she wanted to be – out on the football field.
“Once she got sick it didn’t stop her, she’d be at every game she could to support us and would message us every Saturday morning if she couldn’t make it,” Hunter said.
“She was in the rooms in the grand final and even though she couldn’t be out there on the field her journey was still going.
“She was a straight shooter – what you saw was what you got. She’d get in trouble many times for not using her filter. If she loved you she’d do anything for you and if she didn’t like you she let you know about it.
“She was a massive part of the team on and off the field.”
The Tigerettes have organised this year’s event mostly off their own bat, with Giants to host the game next season and hold their own fundraiser.
Cullis said the idea was to let the club celebrate Hobby their own way.
“They’ll do it how they want to do it, if they want to raise money for the kids or something else,” Cullis said, but Hunter was hopeful money could be raised for her two young children each year.
“Putting funds into a secure account for the kids, if we can make 2k a year each year, by the time they’re 18 they should be able to access it and have a little bit there,” Hunter said.
The game will be huge for both clubs, with Tigers on a roll and full of belief in themselves after last week’s win over Dubbo – the first in two years – and a 100-point drubbing of Cowra.
Once she got sick it didn’t stop her, she’d be at every game she could to support us and would message us every Saturday morning if she couldn’t make it.Tigerettes star Kristen Hunter
Bathurst will also be looking for a win to leapfrog Dubbo into second place and win a double chance.
“I’ve been doing some groundwork and the Giants will be missing some players and our girls are coming off two big wins and are pretty pumped,” Hunter said.
However, Tigers have are a few key outs of their own, including Layne White and last week’s hero Bec Ford, who is playing a Group 10 league tag final in Mudgee, as well as Jedda Malone and Cullis.
The Katrina Hobby Memorial Shield kicks off at 12.45pm at Waratahs Sportsground after a minute’s silence, while the shield and best on ground medal will be awarded after the game.
The post game function follows the men’s game from 6pm at Waratahs, with dinner from from 6.30pm.