The first half of 2019 AFL Central West season has brought highs and lows as it always does, particularly in you're focusing on the Bathurst Giants alone.
For the first time in some time, it's actually tough to pick what's going to happen in the back end of the season too.
While the reigning premiers in Orange and the perennially-challenging Bushrangers sides have looked the goods at times, it's tough to predict whether they'll continue their form or be knocked off their respective perches.
We've gone through the first half of the season with a fine-toothed comb though, to bring you each side's mid-season report card.
BATHURST BUSHRANGERS REBELS - A
Injuries are steadily mounting for the Rebels, with the league's reigning best and fairest Andrew James sidelined indefinitely with a knee injury and Michael Phillips gone with a broken leg, for example.
That building casualty ward looks like it might be the one thing that could stop the Rebels too.
Considering it took a last-ditch major from Andrew Nelson's boot for the Tigers to beat them and outside the Bathurst derby, which they won by just two points, they've comfortably dealt with everything else thrown their way this year.
Injury notwithstanding, Matt Archer and James form the competition's best one-two midfield punch and combined with the rest of the side's roster and their form so far, they'd demand flag favouritism with the bookies in an imaginary AFLCW market.
ORANGE TIGERS- A
Five wins from six games, had he been offered that pre-season Tigers coach Dale Hunter would've leapt at the chance.
Although you could argue many expected it considering the Tigers' player turnover their loss to the Giants in round six was disappointing but the effort was there, that's been the magic ingredient in staying towards to league's pinnacle and sliding back into the chasing pack.
Plenty of that effort has come through youth, with first-season youngsters Cal Naden, Max Bylsma and Pete Byrne are among a spate of juniors finding their feet in the top flight.
Logan Crimp and Mick Evans have lifted a midfield some predicted to be the reigning premiers weak point, but question marks still hang over the Tigers and whether they can maintain their form with ttiring bodies and three trips to Bathurst to come.
BATHURST GIANTS - D
This was supposed to be the Giants' year, all signs pointed to that.
To be fair it still could be and they are sitting third with as many wins as losses, so their campaign so far hasn't been a complete failure by any means.
But they proved they could go the whole ham with last year's preliminary final berth and looked a pre-season flag favourite this year, so it's not been an unbridled success either.
Put simply, while the wheels haven't completely fallen off there looks to be a couple of loose lug nuts on the Giants' alloys.
They've had three wins and one of those was a hugely-important one over the Tigers at Waratahs but, proving their sporadic nature, they lost the Parkes on the road after that in a game they simply had to win, and should have too.
They were beaten on the road by Dubbo as well and spanked by the Rebels in their season-opener too.
Consider that and it's impossible to chalk the Giants' opening half of 2019 as anything but adequate, probably less than based purely on the expectation placed on their shoulders.
Can they turn it around?
No doubt, we're actually hoping they read this and fire up a bit, because from the outside it looks like they've missed a trick and you'd really hate to see that defeat to Parkes eventually cost them a finals spot.
DUBBO DEMONS - C
Oh Dubbo... what to make of Dubbo?
Every year the Demons have their biggest ever pre-season, every year their bristling with numbers and ready to become a finals contender ... and every year they just miss the mark.
So far 2019's no aberration.
They've had a narrow, two-point loss to the Rebels on the road, bundled Cowra at Cowra and bullied the Giants to reap a nine-point win at home.
But they've lost to the Bushrangers Outlaws as well and only a last-quarter surge saved them from a massive loss to the Tigers in Dubbo.
Sure they were awful in front of the sticks in the later and were missing a host of stars including the double-barrelled Rolls Royce in skipper Bevan Charlton-White, but they're flip-flopping.
The old AFLCW adage says the Demons lose 10 goals every time they drive past Wellington and there's been signs of improvement, but they're yet to deliver on the pre-season hype that came out of Dubvegas.
We want them to.
My word, we want them to stick it up the Tigers-Bushrangers duopoly that's by and large held a stranglehold in the last five or so years, but they keep threatening to go all Daenerys Targarean on the competition, but don't.
BATHURST BUSHRANGERS OUTLAWS - C-
The Outlaws were whacked by the Giants, soundly beaten in Orange and despite a resounding win against Cowra and nail-biting victory against the Demons at home, they look to be on the outer in terms of the top four race.
Like their Rebels counterparts the injuries are piling up but their two-point loss to their clubmates proves they can still match with the competition's best, but they can't afford to drop more than one or two games on the run home.
Their clashes with the Giants and Dubbo will be the equivalent of finals as a result, and they're actually probably the hardest team to judge at the midway point of the season.
COWRA BLUES - D
It's tough to be too harsh on Cowra considering their in their first year back and by their own expectations probably sit about where they want to be, although they did win the flag just three years ago.
The club has fronted up a side in every start, which sounds basic but was their key indicator of success for 2019. While they've been short players in some games and been whacked in others, the club was never going to measure their return to the competition purely in terms of wins and losses.
They've uncovered some gems in defender Dimas Bakini and ruckman Joe Waters, while Chris Day and Franky Bright are both still playing some of their best footy.
That said, there's no hiding they've struggled.
Cowra have copped huge losses and played with less than 18 on a few occasions, but they're battling and they're struggling. They need numbers, and wins, to keep swimming.
PARKES PANTHERS - F
The Panthers are a difficult team to judge.
The side has picked up a win, a magnificent upset of the Giants, but they forfeited to Dubbo the week after and were hammered by Cowra too.
At the season launch coach Aaron Halls said it would be a rebuilding year before an assault on the finals in 2020 and while knocking off the Giants is a promising start they need more of that, and to be fielding a full side regularly, before they can even think about being a major threat.
They have a lower percentage than the Blues and they're on the bottom of the ladder, and even though they should redeem themselves when Cowra visit Northparkes Oval it's tough to predict that happening with any certainty, based on their season so far.
Clubs - especially the Bathurst sides - should fear the road trip to Parkes, not consider it an annoyance.
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