ORANGE Emus deserve to be favourites heading into Saturday’s much anticipated local derby.
Emus’ form in the 2014 Blowes Clothing Cup so far has been irresistible, whereas Orange City has been inconsistent.
Despite some arguing otherwise, the Lions of 2012 and 2013 are very much in the past - they aren't that team anymore.
My colleague across the sports desk will argue they are back to their previous best, but the fact is the Lions are a shadow of the team which won back-to-back, undefeated premierships.
They remain stoic in defence, but unlike previous years they are struggling to score points.
The Lions definitely weren’t a one-man team in 2012 or 2013, but the loss of Sione Lafo’ou has hurt Orange City more than they will admit.
Without Lafo’ou, Orange City has no trump card out wide and has been forced into hoping its defence holds to secure wins.
So far it has, but against an Emus team averaging 35 points a game this year just defending well won’t cut it for Orange City - they need points.
Unlike previous seasons however, Emus have the defensive chops to stop them.
Conceding just four more points than the Lions so far this year, Emus are as brutal without the ball as they are with it - highlighted in their gritty 25-18 away win against Narromine in round eight.
For me, the equation is simple tomorrow - if Emus defend well , they will win.