HAVING already swept all before them to claim the 2012 Blowes Clothing Cup title undefeated, Orange City coaches Steve Hamson and Mick Gray will later this month begin hatching a new plan to take the Lions to back-to-back crowns in 2013.
Orange City will have its first training run of the new season on Thursday, January 31, at Pride Park.
It’ll be a light run given we’re in the middle of the hottest January seen in Orange, but not even the heat has stopped the brains trust behind the club’s first top grade title in 20 years from constructing a new plan set to take the defending premiers to a new level.
Hamson and his coaching team are taking the if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it mentality and smashing it out of the ball park.
Let’s call it the if it ain’t broke, break it defence.
“That’s why we’ve started up a little bit earlier than last year,” Hamson said, preparing to give his side as much time as possible to mesh to a new style of rugby.
“We’ll keep it light to start with but we’ll change our style to challenge the boys so they’ve got something new to learn. That’ll take a lot of skill work and it’s just something new to challenge them. We don’t want to run out there with the same old stuff.
“It’s about keeping fresh, and no doubt we’ll get some new guys turn up that’ll put pressure on the first graders from last year as well.
“They shouldn’t need any more motivation than that.”
Re-jigging the Lions is Hamson’s way of keeping complacency out of the picture.
He did it last year by playing two halfbacks, Ollie Stone and Nick Quinn, on the field at the same time.
The move allowed the Lions to play fast second phase rugby at the break down which in turn created a plethora of gaps in opposition defences, especially out wide, the likes of which Sione Lafo’ou hit at will on his way to 31 tries in 20 games.
The Lions will keep things simple to start off with, playing a semi-intense game of touch before ramping it up in February and March.
Round one is against Orange Emus at Pride Park on April 13.
“We’ll then get our title defence off and running,” Hamson said.
“I’ve spoken to a few of the boys and some of them have already been in the gym. Maesui [Lemoto] gets back from Tonga shortly and I’ve spoken to him, he’s keen. He’s down to 86 kilos. I’ve spoken to Junior (Lafo’ou), they’re all keen as mustard.
“Other than that, Josh Maley is back running and is on the mend.
“There’s positive signs there early on.”
The Lions’ first training run will be from 6.30pm at Pride Park on Thursday, January 31.