BATHURST Bushrangers were keen to bring their A game for Saturday's AFL Central West senior men's derby against the Bathurst Giants to help the club celebrate several milestone performances in the best way possible.
And that they did, scoring a comprehensive 20-14-134 to 1-4-10 success at George Park 2 to maintain their unbeaten start to the season.
Peter Grundy celebrated his 200th match for the Bushrangers with two goals, Jimmy Smith did the same for his 50th game while co-coach Tim Hunter was a winner in his 100th senior appearance with the club.
Nathan Smith was nigh unstoppable in front of the Giants goal all game as he picked up eight majors in the 124 point win.
While victories to start the season over the Orange Tigers and Giants haven't come against full strength opponents the games have showcased the ideal brand of football the Bushrangers are looking for, according to co-coach Matt Archer.
"You take a result like that every time, especially in those rivalry games, but obviously Giants didn't have everyone there and they'll be better next game. As far as our guys go, we were always going to be up for it on Zac Baker memorial day and with all the milestone," he said.
"We came out of the gates strong and maintained that for four quarters. It was nearly an even total across all quarters and even with less than five minutes to go we still had guys pressuring as if the game was on the line, and that was really positive."
The style of play from the Bushrangers between the Tigers and Giants games was like night and day.
After sluggish conditions forced Bushies to ramp up the physical side of their game against Tigers they picked up the pace of play on a drier field on Saturday.
"We thought that having such a physical contest in round one would be good for us, and it definitely did. When we came back into dry conditions we were able to move the football really well," Archer said.
"We have a lot of skill and talent, we just need to be able to win the football so we can use that.
"That's why round one was important because it got us into that mindset where we needed to be able to do the dirty work, and that rolled into round two where we were able to win the contested football."
Bushrangers will look to bring more of that to the table when they face the Dubbo Demons at home next week, chasing an opening round sweep against all three senior men's opponents.
"They're a contested football team with a big, strong-bodied midfield with a lot of tall forwards so if they get on top of contested football in the middle of the ground and send it forward you're going to be in a bit of trouble," Archer said.
"We have to match them there, and if we do then I back our run and carry and our delivery."
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