ORANGE City coach Mick Gray has two goals ahead of Saturday's Cowra 10s tournament at the Cowra Rugby Ground - provide his players with a chance to test themselves in match conditions, and add another piece of silverware to the Lions’ den.
City will send a squad of 20 players from all four grades to Cowra, all of whom have the added incentive of pushing for a top grade position.
“Ideally we’d love it to win it,” Gray said.
“But more than anything it provides the guys with a chance to blow out the cobwebs, and get some contact that isn’t in training. It also provides a bit of match fitness.”
The Orange City squad boasts four of last year’s undefeated premiership winning Blowes Cup team in Sam Powell, Sam Coote, Mitch Pearce and Harry Collins. Jackson Coote, who played first grade sporadically, will also line up.
“We have a couple of other guys in Conor Ryan and Will Hobbs who are playing too,” Gray said.
“They both have a real chance to push for the top grade, and the other guys are lower graders who are filling in the gaps, but also have the chance to impress.”
Gray said he knows little of the Lions opposition, made up primarily of country teams and boosted by a handful of Sydney based clubs.
Orange City begins its campaign against the Kurrawyba Cockatoos this morning, before taking on Mosman and Knox Old Boys in the afternoon.
Each of the 16 teams plays three seven minute half pool games, kicking off at 11am, before finals seedings are determined. From there, the eight highest ranked teams will play off for the Cowra 10s Cup, while the lower eight will contest the Cowra 10s Plate from 3.15pm onwards. The preliminary finals are 11 minute halves, and the grand final is 15 minutes each way, and will kick off 6.15pm.
Along with the Lions and Cowra, just two other Blowes Cup teams have entered the tournament - the Parkes Boars and CSU Bathurst.
CSU club captain Tom Keft highlighted the Lions as a major threat.
“No one can be sure of what the Sydney teams will be like,” Keft said.
“Regardless though, I think everyone is expecting Orange City to mix it with the best.”