THERE’S going to be people in Blowes Clothing Cup circles who say Orange City’s two-year dominance of the premiership’s top grade was based on one thing, and now that factor is gone the boys from Pride Park will battle to maintain that same stranglehold on the competition in 2014.
Basically, no Sione “Junior” Lafo’ou, no hope.
Those people, including my colleague in green, are wrong.
The backbone of Orange City’s reign as two-time defending Blowes Clothing Cup premiers was the Lions’ defence.
Brutally unrivalled, the Lions’ defence over the last two seasons has been phenomenal, leaking an average of just 11 points per game throughout the 2012 and 2013 regular seasons.
That’s an incredible span of 34 games.
While the absence of players at the start of the season was telling, particularly against Dubbo Roos, the Lions’ gritty 22-10 win over the Bathurst Bulldogs last round told me one thing - the Lions of old are back.
I hear most Mondays how much Emus have improved, and I agree wholeheartedly with that sentiment.
But Emus, a club that hasn’t played finals football in the last two seasons, failed their only true test this winter so far - losing 20-16 against a Dubbo outfit minus its Country stars.
Tomorrow’s game will be infinitely tougher again.
Winning the last two Endeavour Oval derbies 25-8 and 32-18, Orange City’s big game experience will trump the chooks on Saturday afternoon.