The Orange Tigers have returned to the field to begin their 2019 pre-season and, with the club looking to defend its Central West AFL men’s flag, changes are mainly coming off the field.
Journeyman ruckman Andrew Nelson has stepped into the president’s job, vacated by Ben Cullis at the end of the season, for his first stint in charge of the club.
Nelson joined by new vice-president and life member Nathan Totten, stepping into his first role on the committee, while grand-final hero Andrew Henry will take Nelson’s old role as a general committee member.
The new president – elected a few weeks ago – said it will be an “interesting” time finding his feet in the top job.
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“It’s going to be a bit of learning on the job but there are a few experienced blokes on the committee,” he said.
“Andrew McIntyre has come back on board, a bit of experience with blokes who have been around for a while.”
Nelson is hoping to build on the club’s efforts over the past 12 months and continue settling into its new home at Waratahs Sportsground, but he said more than anything he wants to continue bolstering junior numbers.
Last year’s move to north Orange will be a big boost to that, he says.
“Obviously we had good success with our senior men last year and our juniors were pretty competitive and played off in a couple of grand finals so continue to build on that,” he said, the Tiger cubs turned out in the under-12, under-14 and youth girls’ deciders and won the latter.
He is also hoping to bolster numbers in the women’s side, which he said were “reasonably good” during season 2018, but the side suffered availability issues due to work commitments.
The women’s side is still looking for a coach, and the club is hoping to emulate Bathurst Giants to find a woman to fill the role long-term.
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“You can see the impact at the Giants of having a woman in charge of that side and it helps out the dynamic, but at the end of the day we need a coach so we’ll find the best available candidate,” Nelson said.
“As AFLW develops we’ll find a few extras there, we had reasonably good numbers last year so we’ll build on that and see how we go.”
While pre-season has begun under the watchful eye of senior member and goal-kicking extraordinaire Tim Barry, premiership-winning coach Dale Hunter will return to guide the Tigers’ men’s side in next year’s flag defence.
All the club’s junior coaching roles – aside from Auskick coordinator – have been filled as well.