A pressure-laden defensive effort, in particular from Shaun Noyen and Bailey Brien, inspired the Bathurst Giants' upset win over the Orange Tigers at Waratahs Sportsground on Saturday afternoon, also the latter side's first defeat of the 2019 AFL Central West season.
Noyen, a Central West rep, former Bathurst Bushrangers skipper and grand final veteran, was huge in the forward-line and topped the tackle count with 10 while Brien made eight on the wing.
Their efforts went a long way to the Giants securing a 21-point win over the previously undefeated reigning premiers, while former Tiger Paul Jenkins kicked three of the Bathurst side's eight goals in the 8.6.54 - 3.5.23 victory.
Shaun Noyen, he made 10 tackles and most of those were in the forward line, he kicked two goals as well. He was just great for us.Bathurst Giants coach Mark Kennedy
Noyen also kicked two to complete a best-on-ground performance.
On top of that, the win was just the Giants' second over the Tigers since they entered the competition in 2016 so, as you'd expect, Bathurst coach Mark Kennedy was absolutely over the moon.
"That's a good win, especially as they were undefeated for the season so far. It was a tough game too," Kennedy said, before lauding his side's defensive monsters.
"Shaun Noyen, he made 10 tackles and most of those were in the forward line, he kicked two goals as well. He was just great for us, and Bailey Brien, he made eight tackles too.
"For a winger and a forward, that's just awesome."
It was cold and windy at Waratahs Sportsground, conditions typical of the massive, open ground, and as a result both sides' efficiency was down and as such, that defensive pressure was crucial.
The Giants' were on song in that department from the opening bounce, restricting the Tigers to just three behinds in the opening half and kicking four goals three to hold a handy, four-goal lead at the main break.
While the hosts clawed their way back into the clash in the third term, kicking two goals one to the Giants' lone behind and slashing the margin to just 12 points.
But with the game in the balance and opportunity waiting to be seized, the Giants rallied, kicking four more majors to the Tigers' one to secure a breakthrough victory.
They move into third as a result, while the Tigers actually drop the second on percentage with the Bathurst Bushrangers Rebels assuming the competition lead.
"At the end of the game we just kicked away with it," Kennedy said, suggesting his young troops may have been underestimated a touch.
"I think our side came of age a bit, it was a really physical game and they matched it with them. They gave as good as they got I suppose ... and we came away with the lollies.
"They're ... men now and I think they are more physical than people give them credit for.
"Everyone played well but Riley Mitchell was just an absolute motor around the paddock for us and [Jenkins] again led the way for us.
"Oscar Mann played his guts out all day too, he was in and under. It's good to have that outside running, but you've really got to get someone in to get the ball and Oscar and Riley did that job all day for us."
The Giants will look to back their victory up against Parkes on the road next weekend while the Tigers travel to South Dubbo Oval to take on the Demons, a trip they traditionally haven't fared all that well in.
- BATHURST GIANTS 8.6.54 (Paul Jenkins 3, Shaun Noyen 2, Matt Tomczyk, Josh Broes, Mitch Collins) def ORANGE TIGERS 3.5.23 (Andrew Henry 2, Brendan Pike-Longley)
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