ORANGE Emus will field arguably its strongest line-up for tomorrow’s local derby showdown with Orange City after the backline double-act of Nigel and Graydon Staniforth were cleared to play during the week.
The brothers had been in some doubt, with Nigel leaving the field in Emus’ 22-7 win over Narromine with a reoccurring knee injury while Graydon was forced to watch from the sidelines with a quadricep complaint.
Both, however, will play.
Nigel has been instrumental at fly-half for the Greens in his three Blowes Clothing Cup appearances so far in 2012.
And his combination with Graydon is lethal.
Both will have to be on top of their games against the Lions at Pride Park tomorrow.
Emus coach Paul Ringland knows it’ll be a tough battle for his outfit but has taken some confidence out of the inclusion of the Staniforth duo.
“We’ve been inconsistent this year and (Orange City has) been very consistent. They’re the red hot favourites. It’s going to be a a massive challenge,” he said.
“Everyone has to do their job. I suppose a few sides have fallen into the trap of trying to shut down a couple of their attacking players, but they’re dangerous right across the park.”
The first all-Orange game of 2012 is the match of the round.
CSU Bathurst and the Bathurst Bulldogs clash while Narromine host premiers Parkes, the Roos play Rhinos in the Dubbo derby and a resurgent Forbes take on Cowra.
But Orange City, undefeated competition leaders, against Orange Emus, third on the 2012 ladder, is set to be as closely fought as last year’s final derby, which the Lions won 27-25 in a come-from-behind semi-final triumph.
Ringland said his side would take a simple approach into the match.
“It’s hard to be confident against a side flying high. For us it’s just about trying to build a bit of consistency and a bit of confidence leading into the second round,” he said.
Kick-off is at 3.15pm.
ORANGE EMUS: 1 Brandon Akerstrom, 2 Mark Grivas, 3 Jim Roberts, 4 James Ifles, 5 Keith Howarth, 6 Tom Goolagong, 7 Dan Brown, 8 Ben Parkes, 9 Harry Fardell, 10 Nigel Staniforth, 11 Toby Wright, 12 TJ Cunynghame, 13 Tom Allison, 14 Isaac White, 15 Graydon Staniforth.