Bushrangers chase an under 18s premiership hat-trick

CAN IT BE THREE?: Tim Thomas is one of a handful of Bathurst Bushrangers players looking to win their third straight Central West AFL under 18s title against the Orange Tigers. Photo: ANYA WHITELAW 082313bushies184
Nanjing Night Net

AUSTRALIAN RULES

IT has been a rollercoaster ride of a season thus far, but the Bathurst Bushrangers under 18s hope that it can end on a high in tomorrow’s Central West AFL grand final against the Orange Tigers at Bloomfield.

Player shortages and some football which has been below expectations contributed to the defending champions making a slow start to the season.

After seven games the Bushrangers could only boast a pair of wins, but from that point on things have picked up for the Bathurst team.

With more hands on deck and more cohesion on the field, the Bushrangers rallied to claim the minor premiership.

Bathurst coach Tony Fisher has plenty of pride in the way his team clawed their way out of the hole they dug earlier in the season.

“We started off the year struggling for numbers and I’d say that round six forfeit against the Tigers was the low point,” he said.

“This is my third year coaching this team and definitely the toughest so far in trying to get numbers, but it hasn’t just been us struggling with that.

“It’s been an up and down year. It helps when you’ve got plenty of cattle to use and we picked up some good calibre players during the year.”

Fisher’s team go into tomorrow’s grand final searching for their third straight under 18s flag.

The Tigers have been the side they have defeated in the decider the past two years and who stand in their way again tomorrow.

The Bushrangers coach said given that history between the two teams in grand finals, the Tigers will be hungry to gain some revenge tomorrow.

“Our midfield has been working very well and our defence this season has been the constant strength, with players such as Tim Thomas and Isaac Hall helping out there,” Fisher said.

“Orange started off the year well then tailed off. They have had injury troubles towards the back end of the season.

“They’ve lost to us in grand finals by 20 points then eight points, so they’ll be feeling they’ve got a chance. We’ve got to look out for some strong players in there like Logan Crimp, Tristan Degn, Brady Bennett and Sam Cooper. Nathan Pearce is a shrewd coach as well.”

Fisher hasn’t ramped up the intensity in the lead up to the deciding match, saying his team already knows what needs to be done in their last game of 2015.

“I’ve just been trying to make training as enjoyable as possible because it’s been such a long season for the boys,” he said.

“We’ve mostly been working on different combinations through the midfield. Making sure they’ve enjoyed the grand final week has been the main thing.”

The Bushrangers and Tigers do battle for the under 18s title from 10am tomorrow.

BATHURST BUSHRANGERS: Anthony Coan, Campbell Martin, Chaise Edwards, Daniel Donato, David Long, Isaac Hall, Jacob Davey, James Donato, Joseph Lemmich, Josh Sly, Joshua Coyte, Lachlan Phillips, Michael Long, Nicholas Irwin, Patrick Fisher, Peter Donato, Robert Malart, Sam Flude, Timothy Thomas, Victor Giuliano, Yool Yool, Zachery Baker.

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