ROME wasn’t built in a day, and certainly the dual Blowes Clothing Cup premierships now sitting proudly out at Pride Park aren’t an overnight success story either.
Punctuated by a 65-nil final round loss to Narromine at home, Orange City slumped to a difficult low in 2009, winning just three games from 18 starts to finish the year in eighth.
Change was imminent, and in November of 2009 Steve Hamson took over the coaching reigns.
Consecutive preliminary final losses - the first to Bathurst and the second to Parkes - in 2010 and 2011, although tough to swallow, signalled the club was moving in the right direction.
And in 2012 it all fell into place.
Mick Gray joined Hamson as co-coach and since then the Lions haven’t lost a game, unbeaten in 38 starts since defeating Parkes 19-3 in round one, 2012.
At the time Parkes were defending premiers.
“When I started out I said it would take us a couple of years to get to where we needed to be,” Hamson said.
“I think things were pretty dismal in 2009. For whatever reason we inherited a couple of players in 2010 and from there the momentum has gradually built.”
So just where does this season’s success leave the 2012-13 Lions?
The Blowes Clothing Cup is littered with sides that have won multiple premierships.
The Dubbo Kangaroos won three in a row from 2006, Orange Emus four in succession from 1999.
Before that City’s team in the late 80s early 90s won a remarkable six straight titles.
“Historically speaking whenever you mention what you’ve achieved there’s always been a team that’s done it better or done it quicker,” Hamson said.
“But I guess in recent times there hasn’t been many sides I can remember who have gone through two seasons undefeated.
“In many respects, the juniors and colts have played a big part in our success. There needs to be that depth there to put pressure on the guys at the top.”
Hamson said the club’s view has always been about the future.
Colts Sam Dwyer and Tom Nell are perfect examples of that.
When regular half Nick Quinn was out injured to start the season, rather then just use the second grade No.9, Hamson and company looked throughout the entire club for the next best possible option in the position.
Nell was that option.
At fullback, when the position opened up in round seven, Dwyer was the next best option out of colts.
In an ominous warning to the rest of the competition, Hamson said the procession of young talent is set to continue as the Lions gun for a third title in as many years in 2014.
Who knows, it may even be a treble of undefeated crowns.
A feat the Central West Rugby Union hasn’t seen the likes of, surely.
“No doubt someone will have,” Hamson laughed.