AN improved second-half showing from Orange Emus has helped the club qualify for this year’s Blowes Clothing Cup third grade grand final.
Penalties and mistakes kept Dubbo Roos in the major semi-final contest at Pride Park on Saturday, but Emus capitalised on their 6-3 half-time advantage to run out 20-8 winners and book the first place in this year’s decider.
Impressed by the way his side re-grouped in the second stanza, coach George Last believes a return to simple rugby was the answer for the minor premiers.
“I know it’s cliched, but we just stuck to doing the basics well,” Last said.
“We got some momentum off the back of that. Some mistakes crept back into our game late, which I wasn’t that happy about, but we did enough to come away with the win.”
Last said James Millner, Luke Turner and Matt Kennedy were his side’s best.
Emus will await the winner of this Saturday’s preliminary final between Roos and Orange City at Parkes.
The Lions’ thirds fought hard against Bathurst in the minor semi-final at Cowra, with City withstanding an early onslaught from the Bulldogs to run out 32-8 winners to earn a shot at Dubbo this weekend.
Orange City coach Josh Tremain believes although a tough ask, the Lions will be ready for the challenge.
“That’ll be a really tough test,” he said ahead of Dubbo.
“The last couple of years Dubbo’s third grade side has been a really classy team. It’ll be a tall order but I truly believe we’re up to it.”
Tremain said Adam Harrison led from the front, while Tony Uate, Tatafu Na’aniumotu and Cal Townsend all stood up against a physical Bathurst outfit.
“In saying that though, I thought all of our boys had a good dig,” Tremain added.