PARKES Boars mentor Trevor Whitaker has warned current Blowes Clothing Cup front-runners Orange City to expect rival teams to aim up against them as the 2012 competition enters its second round this weekend.
The Boars won the 2011 premiership after going through the opening nine rounds of last year’s competition undefeated.
It rocketed Parkes, relative easy beats in years gone by, into premiership contenders.
A springboard Parkes later used to win the competition.
This year, however, it’s Orange City who has the form after round one.
On the back of eight straight wins and a draw in their last start, a 3-all war of attrition against derby rivals Orange Emus last weekend at Pride Park, the Lions are now the team to beat in 2012.
But Whitaker said opposition sides will soon work the Lions out and the five-point gap Orange City enjoys over its nearest rival CSU Bathurst would quickly close.
And he was hoping it’d be the Boars who can close the gap.
Parkes line-up against the Lions on Saturday at North Parkes Oval.
“After the first round teams tend to work out your play and match ups. We probably caught a few sides on the hop last year,” Whitaker said looking back at his side’s start to its premiership-winning season.
He added despite Parkes getting its title defence off to a relatively slow start, triumphing in just three of the opening nine rounds, the reigning champions were hitting form.
“We’re only just starting to get back on track now,” Whitaker said.
“Things are coming together for us which is good but Orange City are obviously the benchmark. It’s going to be a royal battle and we’re going to have to be on top of our game to beat them.”
Like Orange City, Parkes are coming off a draw in its last game.
The defending premiers drew 10-all in the first grand final rematch of last season against Narromine at Cale Oval.
“It just goes to show, if you have a look right across the round there weren’t too many points separating any of the teams, it’s an extremely tight competition. Everyone has really aimed up this season,” Whitaker said.
The premiership-winning coach said his side’s swing in form, which has seen Parkes win two and draw one game in their last three starts, came down to one thing.
“Probably attitude. We thought we’ve been there, done that and it’d just happen again,” he said.
“We’ve lost a couple of players but hopefully we can start to string a few wins together. The competition is so tight.”