EVERY Blowes Clothing Cup finals game has been do-or-die for Orange City’s third grade side and they’re loving it.
The Lions finished fourth on the third grade competition ladder this season and have since enjoyed wins against CSU Bathurst and Bathurst Bulldogs to earn a place in tomorrow’s preliminary final.
Third grade coach Josh Tremain said his players were loving the challenge of finals football.
“They’re handling it very well,” Tremain said.
“Because of the third grade structure this season, they haven’t played every week. So they’re really enjoying training every week and playing every week.
“They’re not nervous. They just know what has to be done.”
In the elimination semi-final two weeks ago, City downed CSU Bathurst 28-0.
In last week’s minor semi-final, the Lions came out on top 32-8 against the Bulldogs.
This means Orange City will take on Dubbo Kangaroos in the preliminary final in Parkes.
The Lions are yet to beat the ‘Roos this season after losing 12-0 in round eight at home, and 28-7 in round 11 at Dubbo.
“In Dubbo, we only had nine players and we had to fill the side out with colts. In Orange, it was the same thing,” Tremain explained.
“We had a lot out with injury at that time. We’re pretty well full strength this time.”
Tremain said he had strength across the park in his side, but there were a few players who could play a key role.
Former Tongan international Tatafu Na’aniumotu, who has had to come back from injury this season, will start at No.8 for the Lions to bolster an already strong pack.
Simon Livingstone will be key at five-eighth and captain.
“He’s very experienced and he’ll have a good centre pairing outside of him in Tony Uate and Rohan Cleal,” Tremain said.
Breakaway Nick Foliaki has been consistent all season and Tremain expects another solid game from him.
A Lions win would be something special for Orange City.
It would mean the club would line up in all four Blowes Clothing Cup grand finals.
This is the club’s 40th anniversary.
“That’s my aim for the team and the club,” Tremain said.
Saturday’s third grade preliminary final will kick-off at 12.10pm in Parkes.