HAVING crossed for six tries in eight games this season, Orange Emus winger Carter Hirini knows better than most just how lethal his side’s attack can be.
But ahead of the biggest game of the 2014 Blowes Clothing Cup season on Saturday, the kiwi flyer is adamant it’ll be his side’s defence, rather than attack, that’ll prove the defining factor if Emus are able to knock off two-time defending premiers Orange City and claim the season’s first derby.
“We place a large emphasis on defence at our club,” Hirini revealed.
“We know we’re capable of scoring points, our attack will take care of itself.
“Orange City has surprised me this year. They’ve lost a few players but they’ve only lost the one game. They know how to win. The club has been undefeated for two years so it’s going to be tough.”
The closest Emus has come to a win over Orange City in the last two years has been a 3-all draw against the Lions at Pride Park in 2012.
Prior to that, Emus’ last victory over their crosstown rivals was the final round of the 2011 regular season, again at Pride Park.
But with the greens entrenched in third this season and Orange City again seemingly winning with ease to sit pretty in second place behind Dubbo, the anticipation ahead of the first all-Orange Blowes Clothing Cup game of the season is beginning to reach fever pitch.
“It’s going to be tough but we know we’re capable of winning,” Hirini said.
Aiding Emus in the club’s endeavour to shake City’s dominance on the derby is home ground advantage.
The greens have turned Endeavour Oval into a place where opposition sides leave with very little in tact, with Emus hammering Parkes (27-5), Forbes (48-12) and Mudgee (65-17) on their way to three bonus-point victories at home this season.
A running rugby powerhouse, Emus are bringing back the Chook Park faithful.
“It’s going to be a massive game. I hope there’s a massive crowd.” Hirini said.
“We’re starting to get more support at home. I think people are enjoying us winning and they’re enjoying the way we’re playing. Hopefully that’ll continue on Saturday.”
Saturday’s derby will kick-off at 3.15pm at Endeavour Oval.