Lions prepare for first-up Boar war

DEFENDING Blowes Clothing Cup champions Orange City will be faced with the arduous task of tackling the Boars in Parkes come round one of the 2014 season.

This year’s Blowes Clothing Cup draw has been released and replicating the same schedule teams encountered in 2011, the Lions will travel to North Parkes Oval, the scene of their last first grade loss, to open another premiership defence on April 5.

“We always struggle up there,” Orange City coach Mick Gray said, with the Lions losing 20-13 against Parkes in the 2011 preliminary final.

“The last time we lost a game was at Parkes and the last two times we’ve played there we’ve gotten out of jail both times.”

The Lions tackle the Dubbo Roos at Pride Park in their first home game of the season in round two.

They then face Forbes (away) and Cowra (home) to wrap up the opening month of the 2014 season.

Orange City travels to Endeavour Oval in round nine, June 14, in the first derby of 2014, a match grouped in the Central West Rugby Union’s rivalry round featuring the Bathurst derby, Cowra versus Forbes, Parkes against Narromine and Mudgee versus Dubbo.

With Mudgee entering the competition, there is no bye in 2014.

“Sometimes getting those types of games early in the season can be a good thing,” Gray said of his side’s opening rounds.

“Parkes doesn’t fall into this category, but sometimes teams aren’t very organised at the start of the season and if our preparation is where it should be they’re good games to get early.”

Perhaps dealt the harshest hand of all, Emus will travel to Bathurst twice in the opening two weeks before facing Parkes at Endeavour Oval in round three.

The Greens then travel to number one oval in Dubbo to play the Roos.

Emus lost their first three games of 2011 and jagged a three-nil win over Dubbo in the fourth match with the same draw three seasons ago. Emus coach Andrew Logan didn’t have any complaints about the draw, however.

“You have to play every team eventually, and I’d rather play these teams two weeks into the year than six weeks,” Logan said, with his side determined to press for a finals place in 2014 after finishing with the wooden spoon last season.

“There’s no easy games any more anyway.”

Emus and City will also clash in the final regular season round of 2014 at Pride Park.

As it was in 2013, the five-team finals series begins on August 23 with the grand final to be staged on September 13.

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