SAM Dwyer has well and truly shaken off the “fill in” tag.
The 20-year-old will start at fullback for Orange City in tomorrow’s Blowes Clothing Cup major semi-final against Parkes.
Dwyer started the season playing for Orange City’s colts side, but came off the bench against Forbes in round seven.
He’s started every game in the top grade since.
“This was my last year to be eligible with colts,” Dwyer explained.
“I was hell bent on playing with my mates and playing the last year in colts. But I liked firsts too much and I didn’t go back.”
He is now a key member of the undefeated Lions and he’s loving it.
Orange City co-coach Steve Hamson is happy Dwyer chose to stay in the top grade.
“He plays beyond his years. His talk is good and he’s a big kid,” Hamson said.
“He’s good at organising the defence and he comes into the line well. He’s got one of the biggest boots in the club and he takes good options.”
Dwyer said he had to adjust to speed of the top grade as well as a heavier impact.
Now he’s keen to step up for tomorrow’s semi-final against Parkes.
It’s going to be a huge game at Pride Park with the right to host the grand final on the line.
City and Parkes met on back-to-back weeks earlier this season and the Lions came out on top both times.
In round nine the Lions had to come from behind to win 24-21 in Parkes.
A week later City enjoyed a 26-15 win at home.
Hamson expects another tough game from the Boars.
“We think they’ll come at us the same way - through the forwards,” Hamson said.
“Their forward pack will be our biggest challenge and their set piece. Their lineout is solid and their scrum is probably the best in the competition. We’ll do the best we can with what we’ve got.
“They’re gonna be hard to beat. They’ve got the experience, they’ve won a premiership and they seem to be in form at the moment.”
Parkes have welcomed back gun half-back Johnny Rathbone since they last played the Lions.
“Johnny gives them a bit more talk,” Hamson said.
“He’ll certainly ask questions of our defence. In saying that, I think our defence has been pretty on the mark all year.”
Tomorrow’s major semi-final at Pride Park will kick-off at 3.15pm.
ORANGE CITY: 1 Nathan Short, 2 Josh Tremain, 3 Harry Collins, 4 Mitch Pearce, 5 Chris Barrett, 6 Keith Andrews, 7 Duncan Young, 8 Gus Brotherton, 9 Nick Quinn, 10 Michael Sparks, 11 Sam Powell, 12 Mesui Lemoto, 13 Sam Coote, 14 Sione “Junior” Lafo’ou, 15 Sam Dwyer.