Orange Tigers have handed Dubbo a huge 16.6-102 to 2.6-18 loss after another five-goal haul from gun forward Tim Barry to give the Demons a tough challenge to make Central West AFL finals.
It was a scrappy affair which looked and felt closer than the final margin indicated – although a final quarter blow-out as the Demons were slapped with plenty of 50 metre penalties in their half of the ground didn’t help Dubbo’s cause.
However the Tigers never looked like losing it, with vice-captain Michael Rothnie setting the tone early with several massive tackles in the opening minutes and Barry having four shots on goal early in the game.
Tigers slammed on 10 goals in the second half, with seven of those in the final quarter, to blow the margin from 32 points at the half time to the eventual 84-point blow-out, with a freak goal from Andrew Henry snapping from the boundary a highlight of the second half.
However, the defensive work of Dan Sadler, Luke Thorley and Jaxon Mumme proved an impenetrable wall for the Demons who couldn’t get forward.
Dubbo kept pressure on Tigers, with their midfield lead by skipper Hamish Pearce and stocky speedster Bevan Charlton-White keeping the ball moving through the middle.
However they were beaten time and time again by the Tigers’ defence, which coach Dale Hunter said he was proud of for only letting through eight scoring shots, at least three of which were rushed behinds.
“To only concede two goals in the end was really hard to pick guys out but Mitch McKenna played well, Jacko (Mumme), Thorley, Sadler, the whole back six, I really can’t sing their praises enough but the midfield to also win that clearance and not put the win,” Hunter said.
It felt a lot closer than it actually was, they would have thought that too, walking off.Tigers coach Dale Hunter
“Probably the first time in a long while where we capitalised in front of goal, it’s a big difference for us.”
He said he was surprised by the final margin but was pleased to have put on the afterburners in the seven-goal last quarter.
“It felt a lot closer than it actually was, they would have thought that too, walking off. It was a good, physical game,” Hunter said.
“It gives us some thing to work on, probably not our best start but to finish really strongly was good, we’ve had a few fade-outs in the past few weeks.”
Barring a disastrous stretch on the run home, the win all but wraps up the minor premiership for the Tigers which will allow them to make sure the squad is fit and firing for finals.
“You want the home final and the double chance so that’s something we can look at the end of this round and we’d be pleased with that, we’ve got players to manage that and trying to get our list ready,” Hunter said.
While the points were never going to make or break the Demon’s season, the damage to Dubbo’s percentage means the side has to win one game more than Bathurst Bushrangers Outlaws on the run home to make the finals.
Dubbo skipper Hamish Pearce said the Demons was unable to match it with the ladder-leaders.
“We felt like we were in it all day but in the fourth quarter Orange drew it out on us which was a bit disappointing,” he said.
“They’re a quality side and there were five or six free kicks and 50 metre penalties and you’re not going to blow them up.
“Each quarter it had its own half where we’d dominate forward 50 entries and then Orange would, but we couldn’t capitalise we were butchering out delivery, Orange was flooding back quicker and faster than we were and we just couldn’t get there.”
Pearce said it made it a challenge to push into finals, but the side would treat every game going forward like an elimination final, but was confident the Demons could match it with anyone in the right frame of mind.
“We’re pretty confident if we turn up and have a go we can match it with anyone, but just today we didn’t turn up and Orange took advantage of it,” he said.
“Depending on who we get we’re confident we can match it on the day but it’s all talk unless you can turn up on the day.”
Orange Tigers 16.6.102 (Barry 5, Campbell 2, Henry 2, Frecklington, Solomon, Pethybridge, Hannus, Phillips, Hunter) def Dubbo Demons 2.6.18 (Lake, Charlton-White)