ORANGE Emus trailed for much of the Blowes Clothing Cup third grade grand final, but they were on top when it counted.
Emus beat defending champions Dubbo Kangaroos 17-13 in Saturday’s grand final at Pride Park.
The Orange side had to come from behind on more than one occasion to take the crown.
“We always knew it was going to be very tight,” Emus captain-coach George Last said.
“We had no thought this was going to be an easy game. It’s always a good tussle.”
Emus took their chances early when Dave Selwood converted a penalty goal in the fifth minute to take a 3-nil lead, but Kangaroos hit back minutes later when No.8 Tim Berry was able to muscle his way over the line to make it 5-3.
The Emus defence was strong and was able to hold up a Dubbo try in the 18th minute, but they couldn’t stop Kangaroos captain Lee Toohey from charging over the line minutes later.
Emus squared things up at 10-all when replacement BJ McKenna charged down a Dubbo kick and won the race to dive on the ball and score.
Claude Gordon’s conversion levelled the scores.
Dubbo took a 13-10 lead into the break when Berry kicked a penalty goal on the siren.
Emus had the better start in the second half and Gordon was able to step through a gap and run under the posts, with his conversion making it 17-13.
Midway through the second half tempers boiled over and a fight broke out.
Emus were awarded a penalty and both sides had chances as the game wore on, but neither could convert.
Dubbo held possession in Emus’ 22 for the final four minutes, but couldn’t convert it into points as Emus held on.
“I think when our backs were against the wall we just kept getting up in defence and turning the ball over and that was the key,” Last said.
“It didn’t really click today. I think we just showed the determination we had.”
Emus added the grand final win to the minor premiership.
ORANGE EMUS 17 (BJ McKenna, Claude Gordon tries; Claude Gordon 2 conv, Dave Selwood pen goal) def DUBBO KANGAROOS 13 (Tim Berry, Lee Toohey tries; Tim Berry pen goal).