Three of the very best: Orange Tigers hunt history-making premiership

HUNTING: Dale Hunter, Tim Barry, Mick Rothnie and Simon Ewin are gunning for three consecutive grand final victories.AUSTRALIAN RULES
Nanjing Night Net

SINCE the club’s, and Central West AFL’s, inception in 1982, the Orange Tigers have never won three straight top grade titles.

The Tigers have won two in a row thrice – 1991 and 1992, 1998 and 1999, and the current streak – but, arguably, 2015 is the black and golds’ best chance to claim a hat-trick, thanks largely to the current crop of players’ experience.

Five of the current Tigers will be playing in their third straight grand final while another six will be playing in their second consecutive decider.

Incredibly, three more have grand final experience prior to Saturday having played in 2013, while just 10 of the 24-man squad will play their first grade final with the Tigers.

Talk about big-game veterans.

Skipper Tim Barry, vice-captain Michael Rothnie, Dale Hunter, Simon Kay and Josh Bubnich are gunning for three straight, which would also signal three consecutive grand final wins over perennial heavyweights Bathurst.

“It’s pretty important to us, we’re trying to make some club history,” Hunter said.

“It does give us more motivation, especially being against the Bushrangers, we’ve played them in the last two as well so there’s good rivalry there,” Rothnie added.

“I think Bushrangers have been in the last 10 grand finals … we pride ourselves on our grand final performances, and playing well when it counts,” Hunter said.

“When I came here I hadn’t won one, so to come here and potentially win three straight is big, it’s huge for the club,” Barry said.

“But for me, it’s more about the old boys in the club. They’ve seen the development in the club, and the hope come through, and seen us go from also-rans to title winners.

“They’ve seen that improvement, and if everyone sticks with it I don’t see why the Tigers can’t keep winning them.”

Simon Ewin is one of the six looking for his second straight title – he was an emergency in 2013 – and he said the experience in the squad, particularly the aforementioned quintet, puts the Tigers in good stead on Saturday.

“Having their experience in the side helps us a lot,” Ewin explained.

“It helps me a lot personally too. It’d mean a lot to everyone to get a third straight title.”

The top grade game starts at 2.30pm, following the under 18, reserve grade and women’s deciders at Orange’s Country Club Oval this Saturday.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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