BEWARE the sleeping Giant - despite suffering a hefty 107-point loss on Saturday that is the message that Bathurst Giants coach Mark Kennedy has issued his rivals in the Central West men's tier one competition.
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While Kennedy admitted the round five match his side lost 20-7-127 to 2-8-20 was "a tough day in the office" and reminded him of the struggles the Giants had when first fielding a senior men's side in 2016, he could not be more adamant in stating he still has faith.
"So everyone is sort of saying the wheels are falling off, but not really, and I'll put this out there, just beware of the sleeping Giant," Kennedy said.
"It's one of those things, if you want to underestimate us, just be very careful.
"We've got some good players to come back - Leigh Monaghan, Chad Monaghan, Ben Monaghan were unavailable, Shaun Noyen was unavailable, Jack Goodsell unavailable, Bailey [Brien] is still out.
"It's a long season and we'll play this season tactically.
"I don't care, let them write us off, if they want to take us lightly, then we'll bite you."
Last season the Bathurst Giants lost just two of 10 games on their way to claiming the senior men's minor premiership for the first time.
I don't care, let them write us off, if they want to take us lightly, then we'll bite you.- Mark Kennedy
This season after five rounds the Giants are sitting in last with one win.
While there have been changes to Kennedy's squad this season, he knows he still has enough talent at his disposal to climb the ladder.
For the coach it is just a matter of consistently having a bulk of his squad available to play.
"We have lost some really good players from last year, but we can't use that as an excuse," he said.
"We've still got good players there, it's just about getting them on the paddock at the same time - that's what it comes down to. It's just that consistency and we can't get that consistency.
"When you look at it, it's been pretty close. The first round against Dubbo we lost by two points, against Orange we won, Bushrangers are great so we've got to try and compete against those guys, but the second game we played against them we got closer, so we narrowed the margin."
On Saturday, Kennedy not only had to deal with a number of unavailabilities in his squad, but with the men's tier two Giants side playing in Cowra he was unable to draw upon them to fill the gaps.
"The numbers just weren't there," he said.
"We had a couple of niggling injuries that I wanted to rest, there's a bigger picture there, so I wanted to make sure they rested up.
"We had 14 to start with because we had a player that was still heading over but we kept touch in that first quarter, we felt like we were pretty competitive.
"But then we just didn't have any swaps, there was no bench and we got a couple of injuries and they had to stay out there.
"The midfield just ran all day and they couldn't sustain it."
As Kennedy pointed out, his side was still in touch with the Demons at quarter time as they only trailed by 11 points.
But as fatigue set in, the Demons increased their advantage in each of the quarters which followed.
At half-time it was 10-2-62 to 2-5-17 and following the long the break, the Giants were unable to add any more majors to their tally.
Dubbo's Josh Anasis finished with an impressive haul of eight majors, while six more Demons got their name on the scoresheet.
"Our shots on goal weren't the best, we kicked eight behinds ... so there might be some goal kicking practice this week," Kennedy said.
As much as the heavy defeat hurt, Kennedy was still able to see positives.
He was delighted that young talent Calvin Windus kicked his first goal in the league's top tier.
Windus wasn't the only one to get praise either.
"Our players' player Andrew Ryan, he keeps telling me he used to play in the forward line, but he's been a standout back for us this year," Kennedy said.
"Jacob Molkentin, our captain 2.0 now Bailey is out, he was just great. He was the perfect swing man, his attack off half-back to penetrate through the corridor and give the forwards some options was really good."
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