WADE Park will play host to the 2013 Group 10 grand final after Orange CYMS fought back from 12-0 down to record a 20-12 victory over defending premiers Lithgow Workies yesterday.
The green and golds will now meet Orange Hawks in the major semi-final next Sunday at Wade Park, guaranteeing an Orange team to move through to and host this year’s grand final day.
As it always does at Lithgow’s Tony Luchetti Sportsground, the wind played a major role in the Group 10 qualifying semi-final.
And it was CYMS who made the most of it, with the kicking game of captain-coach Michael Sullivan far superior to that of his Workies’ counterparts.
“Although we were down 12-6 at the break and faced Workies who had next use of the strong wind, I always thought that we were well in the game,” Sullivan said after his side’s second win over the defending premiers in as many weeks.
“Their tactics to kick out the back and then walk up suited us while we tried to keep the ball in play and run their big forwards around.
“We got tremendous go forward from Semisi Katoa and Romaric Bemba, who were unstoppable in the second half.
“It was a great win by the boys, especially here at Lithgow against Workies, who are always hard to beat.
“We will take a lot of confidence out of the win going into next week’s match against Hawks.”
Lithgow could not have asked for a better start to the clash, with replacement fullback Ben Hews swooping on a loose ball to dive under the posts and score.
Josh Howarth converted to put Lithgow ahead 6-0 after five minutes.
Minutes later, the Van Veen brothers combined to put on a move with Brendon putting Jono in virtually untouched for the home side’s second try.
Howarth was successful with the conversion and Workies had jumped to a 12-0 lead.
From this point on, CYMS started to dominate possession.
Jono Van Veen was put on report for using knees in a tackle and, following the penalty, CYMS were deep in Lithgow territory.
Sustained attack led to CYMS’ first try of the match, with Riley Law crashing over, with Ben McAlpine’s conversion cutting Workies’ lead back to 12-6 at half-time.
Lithgow looked flat in the second half and were starved of the ball.
Sullivan’s experience begun to tell, and when the former NRL star shaped to kick the ball into the in-goal area only to fire a cut out pass to Dom Maley to score in the corner, CYMS drew closer still at 12-10.
The green and golds soon hit the lead for the first time when Katoa skittled the Workies defence to score out wide, with McAlpine’s conversion again sailing wide to hand CYMS a 14-12 lead.
Dropped ball and ill-discipline made life difficult for Workies and, after trying to hold CYMS out for a couple of sets, big Bemba burst though for a try.
McAlpine’s kicking radar was back and the score pushed out to 20-12 in favour of the visitors.
Capping the home side’s implosion, Jono Van Veen was sent to the sin bin for 10 minutes for allegedly using his elbow in a tackle and, with time running out, Van only participated in the final 20 seconds of the game.
Sullivan was outstanding for CYMS, while Bemba and Katoa proved more than a handful for Workies defence.
The home side’s best was Scott Fittler, Jamie Clarke and Ahmed Ellaz.
Lithgow will now play Oberon in the Group 10 minor semi-final next Saturday at Tony Luchetti Sportsground.
ORANGE CYMS 20 def LITHGOW WORKIES 12