THERE’S no tougher trip in AFL Central West this season than journeying to face the Orange Tigers but Bathurst Giants are hungry to defy the odds this Saturday.
Giants are in a fight for second spot heading towards finals and need one of their strongest performances this year to bring down a Tigers team asserting their dominance over the back end of the season.
Saturday’s game brings together opposing play styles and according to Giants’ James Kennedy it’s going to be a case of which team can stay closer to their preferred tactical approach.
“Orange have been the benchmark this season so it will be good to head over there to the bigger ground and hopefully see our younger guys use their pace,” he said.
“They’re a tough, physical side and very good at the contested ball so it’s sort of two sides to the coin with these teams. They’re a contesting side and we’re a free-running side so hopefully we can match them with the body and, as I said, get our young players using their run.”
Reading into the Giants’ massive defeat to the Tigers in June isn’t a wise exercise.
Their goalless loss came without Sam Sloan, Nathan Belbin, Frank Bright, Julian Larsen, Dave Manning, Alex Cuttiford plus brothers Nic and Josh Broes.
Orange danger man Tim Barry kicked five goals in the big win and will be the man Giants aims to shut down on Saturday.
Giants sit level with Bathurst Bushrangers Rebels in the battle for second place.
Giants’ run home of Tigers, Rebels and Demons – all away – is the toughest schedule of any team in the competition but is a chance for the Bathurst men to show their mettle.
Kennedy said the feeling around the camp is upbeat after last round’s hard-fought win over Parkes Panthers.
“Training’s been great. Everyone’s been up and about coming into a big game like this,” he said.
“We had one little hiccup over in Dubbo, and it’s always a tough trip over there, but we had a good win over Parkes so everyone’s glad we’re back on track now.
“It’s about keeping our intensity going and not getting too complacent. From there it’s working on the little things like handballs and kicks hitting targets and if you get those little things right then the big things take care of themselves.”
Giants never let go of their lead against Panthers but were pushed across all four quarter in an ideal confidence-building success.
The win was a great way for Giants to hit back after a heartbreaking loss to Demons.
Giants and Tigers play at Waratahs from 2.30pm.