THE Bathurst Giants scored a breakthrough AFL Central West victory in the senior competition over rivals Bathurst Bushrangers and now the under 16s side is looking to keep the good times coming for the club in this Sunday’s grand final.
The Giants and Bushrangers 16s will meet at George Park 1 in a showcase of the city’s up-and-coming AFL talent.
Giants are aiming to complete an unbeaten season and the boys in Orange will go in as big favourites for the decider.
The under 16s competition has been down on numbers this year – running just a three team competition – but one thing that hasn’t been down is the Giants’ momentum.
Such has been their dominance that the Giants haven’t allowed any side to score more than two goals against them in a match during the 2017 season.
Giants coach Shane Broes said his side will reap the benefits of the club’s senior team having the bye this weekend.
“This will be the first time this year where we’ve been able to get all of our team together. The boys are really looking forward to playing together as a group,” he said.
“We’ve had eight boys who have played senior footy this year, which is a really big effort for boys who are 16 years old, some of them 15.
“They’ve been getting some great experience playing there, so when they come back to play guys their own size in puts them in good stead. We’re really lucky that they’ve had that senior footy to play because it helps their game.
“Normally if our players are in the senior team we don’t make them back up for the Sunday game. With no senior games this weekend we’re at full strength.”
Giants’ Aiden Macauley. Mitch Taylor and Nic Broes have played in all 12 senior matches for the club this year.
The Giants currently boast a 3-0 record this season against their cross-city rivals in the under 16s competition, and on two occasions they’ve kept a struggling Orange Tigers side scoreless.
The latest meeting between the two Bathurst clubs was the closest the Bushrangers have come to chasing down the Giants so far.
There’s still plenty of work for the Bushrangers to do if they’re to hunt down their opponents. The Giants won the latest meeting 8-6-54 to 1-7-13.
Bushrangers coach Tony Fisher will have a bolstered side on his hands for Sunday’s decider, as his boys attempt to close that gap.
“The boys who have turned up for us each week have been pretty consistent, and we managed to beat Orange comfortably in all our games against them,” he said.
“We’ve been getting 10 to 13 players in our games … but for the grand final we’ll have 19 players.
“We’ll definitely be the underdogs. Giants have a quality side. They’ve got quite a few boys who have been involved in first grade footy, and they’ve been there consistently. We’re hoping that we can give them a good contest.”
Many players across both clubs aren’t strangers to grand final day.
Several Giants and Bushrangers members were part of last year’s under 14s decider, which the Giants by 52 points.
This Sunday’s match gets underway from 1pm.