It's the number that's been in the heart and minds of the Orange Tigers all preseason since the death of Chris Rothnie, who wore the number on his way to three flags with the Tigers.
In round one of their AFL Central West clash of 2019, the Tigers honoured their fallen brother by kicking 16 goals and 16 behinds, defeating Parkes Panthers 16.16.112 to 5.7.37 at Northparkes Oval on Saturday.
It was an emotional day for both clubs - with the Panthers also remembering Amanda Knappett and the Tigers wearing a second black armband for former player John Fisher - but in the end the Tigers proved too good on the paddock.
...we weren't going in to focus on the win, it was about coming together as a club and trying to use that as really gel after an interrupted preseason.Mick Evans
Tigers' captain Mick Evans said it was a touching tribute to Rothnie after a turbulent off-season.
"I pulled them together at the end there and pointed out 16 goals and 16 behinds for [Rothnie's] number 16 was a nice little coincidence and goes to show the big fella's looking over us and we'll never forget him," he said.
"It's pretty satisfying knowing the guys pulled together like that; we weren't going in to focus on the win, it was about coming together as a club and trying to use that as really gel after an interrupted preseason.
"To come away with the win and especially with the way the guys stood up for everyone, nobody was a passenger and that was a really satisfying first-up win."
He also praised the efforts of the "absolutely unreal" first-gamers, of which there were plenty.
Both sides sported multiple debutants, with seven players playing on the black and gold for the first time and more than 10 pulling on their first Panthers' guernsey, and in the end the Tigers' first gamers helped take the game away from Parkes in a dominant first half.
The Tigers were on the board in the first 15 seconds as Sundun Welisara kicked the first of his eventual four goals crumbing in the goalsquare, and the Tigers raced away on the back of quick clearances from the undermanned Evans-led midfield brigade and a three-goal breeze.
Parkes couldn't hit the scoreboard in the first quarter and only had one goal to half-time thanks to the rock-solid work from Joel Crosswell, Callan Hunt, Luke Thorley, and the rest of the Tigers' backline, but the most impressive work came from the debutants.
Max Bylsma made himself busy in the forward line alongside Welisara, Callan Naden showed not only did he have pace to burn but also the composure to back it, and Brendan Longley took the game on while Pavel Melnichuk was able to lower the eyes and hit key passes running off half-back.
"They just looked at home, they went into every contest 100 per cent and didn't look like they didn't belong, couldn't be prouder of them," Evans said.
Parkes' Ben Coultas shone as the pick of their nearly-a-dozen debutants - with captain Brent Tucker labelling him a "little terrier" for his attack on the ball - but the Panthers took the first half to gel, with the half-time socreboard giving a 54-point buffer to the Tigers, but after the break they came together and pushed through the midfield.
The Tigers' on-ballers began running out of gas and the Panthers pounced, with Tucker taking control of the midfield and running forward to kick two goals, alongside coach Aaron Halls' three while Branden Clinton and James Ellis also got busy.
It was good to see the boys get a bit of confidence in that second half and play much better.Brent Tucker
They managed to get over the back of the Tigers' midfield and stream into the midfield, but Luke Thorley's three goals off half-back and rotating through the midfield ensured the Tigers maintained their lead, giving them a dream start to season 2019.
"It's the first time a lot of us have played together so it's good to start forming a couple of combinations, particularly with a few of the younger kids and their run out wide was just outstanding," he said.
"We want to keep building that club culture."
Evans' opposite number Brent Tucker said "it was a pretty good start for our boys" despite the tough opening half.
"We've had a big turnover in the off-season so it was a slow start but we worked our way into the game," he said.
"It was a good effort [in the second half], it was good to see the boys get a bit of confidence in that second half and play much better."
He said the side had regrouped in the huddle at half time and focused on a few key areas.
"We wanted to get the talk up, helping out the new guys, getting around them from the senior players and working together as a team," Tucker said.
The Tigers will face a stern test next week against Bathurst Bushrangers Outlaws, who thumped returning Cowra by 128 points, while Parkes have a bye next week before the Easter break, which Tucker said was a "positive and a negative" for the club.
Orange Tigers 16.16.112 defeated Parkes Panthers 5.7.37.
Goals: Tigers - Welisara 4, Thorley 3, Phillips 2, Nelson, Gledhill, Crimp, Bylsma, Charnock, Hannus, Hunter. Parkes - Halls 3, Tucker 2.
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