A SPOT in the Central West AFL finals series might be beyond the reach of the Bathurst Giants this season, but the 2017 campaign will certainly not be measured as a failure.
Not only have the Giants thus far earned triple the amount of wins they posted in their senior debut last season, but the emergence of the squad’s younger players has been a big bonus.
A large number of last season’s premiership winning under 18 Giants have enjoyed game time in the senior side and many have become regulars.
Players such as Luke Macauley, Nic Broes, Mitch Taylor, Brody Field and Riley Mitchell have had plenty of minutes, while Aiden Macauley is the Giants’ leading goal kicker with 22 majors.
Come this Saturday when the Giants face third-placed Orange Tigers, those younger members of the squad will once more be key as the Bathurst side pushes for a fourth win.
“Our young blokes have been doing really well, actually I do them a disservice calling them young blokes, they are footballers, they are into it up to their teeth,” coach Mark Kennedy said.
“They love the challenges, they love the physicality of it. I’ve got to stop calling them young guys, because this year they are men, they have earned their right to play and compete at a men’s level.
“Next year they’ll be bigger and stronger, year after that they’ll be bigger and stronger again.
“Having Jenko [Paul Jenkins] and Dave Manning there to support those blokes, they’re two ex-Central West best and fairests, so that’s quite handy.”
When Giants last met the Tigers they pushed their Orange rivals all the way before losing 12-19-91 to 9-7-61. Kennedy’s men led at quarter-time and with one term to play, trailed by just three points.
“Orange in Orange, so that’s a tough away game for us,” Kennedy said.
“We said we will throw everything at it and see how we go and we’ve always done that. Our catch phrase is never surrender, never give up.”
The Bathurst Giants will take on Orange Tigers from 2.30pm at Bloomfield Oval.