Bathurst Bushrangers have cemented their place as favourites to take the AFL Central West crown after a resounding 92-point win in the grand final rematch against the Orange Tigers on Saturday.
The Tigers could only manage the one goal after half time as the Bushranger's midfield began to carve George Park Oval up to set up the 19.17-131 to 6-3-39 win.
Bill Watterson was electric off half-back for the Bushrangers in his 100th game, while Harry Bowden dominated in the ruck after Tigers ruckman Mark Mori went down with a nasty shoulder injury in the second quarter.
Some of the delivery into the forward line was exquisite, with Matt Archer taking full advantage of running out of the goalsquare and kicking eight goals off his own boot, while Ben Horn kicked three in the huge win.
The first quarter was hard-fought, with the Bushrangers leading by two points at the first change as coach Tim Barry scored two of his four goals for the game and Pat Taggart, Mick Evans and youngster Ike Dean set to work.
However, the tide began to turn in the second half as the Bushranger's defence got on top, and once Mori went down the wind went out of the Tigers' sails and the floodgates opened.
With Ben Cullis moved from fullback to the ruck the Tigers' defence - already missing Callan Hunt - was left severely undermanned, a fact which the Bushrangers took full advantage of, leaving Archer to take the spoils.
However, he said it "could have been anyone" with a big bag of goals to their name based on the delivery coming into the forward 50.
"The delivery was pretty good, wouldn't have mattered who it was standing at the end of it they would have had the same thing," he said.
"That's a strength of Bill and AJ [Andrew James], once they get a bit of space they're likely to hit you on the chest."
He said the first quarter effort hadn't been up to the Bushrangers' standard, but James Smith led the way alongside James to take control.
"We felt we were being pushed around in the contest early but we made a few adjustments to our structure at quarter time and adjusted really well," Archer said.
Tigers coach Tim Barry said losing Mori was the blow which left an already-undermanned side "reeling", but drew positives out of his younger players in the match.
"I guess we were undermanned early on with a couple of key defenders out and a few key mids out but we thought we were an even-money chance in the first quarter and a half," Barry said.
"We got run over the top and losing the ruckman was pretty tough, he was breaking even and giving us a surge forward so we were left reeling a bit after that.
"Zac Cullis was moved to full back after being in the back pocket last week and Angus Easey ended up playing on Timmy Hunter and giving him an even money contest on him and keeping him pretty honest."
He was also full of praise for Dean, who ran through the middle for much of the day and was "starting to look more comfortable with ball in hand".
"We had a quick chat and wanted him to do that sweeping roll ... he made them look sideways and think twice and he was a bit of a cannonball," Barry said.
- BATHURST BUSHRANGERS 19.17-131 (Matt Archer 8 goals, Ben Horn 3, James Smith, Pete Grundy, Andrew James 2, Tim Hunter, Charlie Flude 1) def ORANGE TIGERS 6.3-39 (Tim Barry 4 goals, Tyson Hannus, Nick Modra 1)
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