YOU could say today’s Blowes Clothing Cup grand finals have been 40 years in the making for Orange City.
The club is celebrating its 40th year in Central West Rugby Union this season and has three teams in today’s grand finals.
Ian Barrett played in Orange City’s inaugural first grade team in 1974.
Today he’ll watch his nephew, Chris Barrett, run on for the Lions in the first grade decider against Parkes.
Ian said things were certainly different to when he first played for the Lions.
“Our first game, I remember our football jumpers didn’t arrive so we had to go and buy a set of Balmain jumpers,” Ian explained.
“The night before the game we pulled the Tiger off the jumpers and the V. That was the night before our first game.”
Aside from a brief stint with Molong, Ian, or “Froggy” as he is more commonly known, has always been involved with the Lions.
This season he was the club’s third grade manager.
Chris said it had been wonderful to continue the family connection at the club.
“It’s awesome. I grew up going to footy as a little kid, watching Orange City with Dad and Froggy and grandad,” Chris said.
“I always dreamed of one day playing first grade. It’s a bonus to get in the grand final.”
Ian was part of the Lions team that took out the title in 1976.
He said he could see some similarities between the 1976 team and this season’s crop of players.
“I can see a very big commitment there,” Ian said.
“When we won the comp, there were two fellas over 22 in the side. But I can see the same mateship in this side that we had. We were all mates, we did everything together. Plus we had a couple of good coaches - Geoff Mutton and Peter Crittle.”
Ian is confident the Lions can come out on top today.
He’s like what he’s seen from the Lions players this season.
“They’re just so keen and committed to each other. I really do think they’re playing better,” he said.
“There’s been no big floggings. They just wear the other side down. It doesn’t matter if it’s the best side in the comp or the worst side, they just do their job.”
There will be a special Barrett family member at today’s grand final.
Chris and his wife Romy welcomed their first child, Toby, in recent weeks.
Chris is hoping he can share a premiership with his son and his whole family.
Today’s first grade grand final at Pride Park kicks off at 3.15pm.