ORANGE City and Orange Emus both came away from their Blowes Clothing Cup derby with points after playing out a soggy 8-all draw.
Rain and lower grade matches turned the Endeavour Oval field into a mud pit and forced the two first grade teams to play a forward-oriented game.
Scoring opportunities were hard to come by but Emus were left to lament missed chances late in the game when they were camped on City’s line but couldn’t break through to score what would have been the winning points.
“We’re not disappointed in the outcome so much, just disappointed that we had out opportunities and we didn’t convert,” Emus coach Andrew Logan said.
At the same time, the Lions were happy they were able to hold out their cross-town rivals and share the points.
“Draw’s better than a loss and that’s about the only thing it’s better than. It would have been nice to have a win but we’ll take a draw,” Lions co-coach Mick Gray smiled.
City looked stronger in the opening exchanges but suffered a blow when prop Harry Collins came off with an injured left knee.
While Collins was being treated on the halfway line, the Lions managed to score eight minutes in when fullback Sam Dwyer sprinted out from the back of a ruck and dived over in the left corner.
Mesui Lemoto missed the conversion but City were still up 5-0.
Emus hooker Tom Goolagong made it 5-all when he showed a good turn of speed to burrow over in the right corner.
Adam Perri couldn’t add the extras and the score remained unchanged for the rest of the half.
The rain became heavier in the second half and both teams were guilty of handling errors.
When Emus earned a penalty 16 minutes into the second half, just right of the posts, Perri made sure he converted to put his side in front 8-5.
Emus only held the lead for six minutes before Lemoto kicked a penalty goal to lock the scores up at 8-all.
Emus seemed to spend the majority of the final 10 minutes in the attacking half, and much of that battering the City line, but it was to no avail.
The Lions’ defence held strong for the game to finish in a draw.
“The City defence is amazing,” Logan said.
“There were times there where a lot of teams would have given up and just let us score because we were pounding away, pounding away. City have got amazing defence and they held us out, there’s no question.”
The Emus mentor was happy with his team’s scrum, which was dominant, but said there were other areas where his players took the wrong options.
“We’ve developed a bit of a habit of playing that running rugby and lots of offloads and running hard lines off players and I don’t think that suited today and we probably didn’t adapt as well as we could have,” he explained.
“We had opportunities but we made a lot of errors and you just can’t make that many errors against a good side like City.”
Gray was happy with how his team performed in trying conditions.
“It was a tough slog,” he said.
“Obviously losing Harry Collins early on with his knee mucked up our scrum a little but to Scotty Smith and Darcy Garlick, who came on, while they were still under a bit of pressure, they still did a good job to hold the line.”
So, what should spectators expect in the next derby?
“Probably the same sort of intensity and feeling,” Logan smiled.
“There’s only going to be one side that will win and hopefully it will be us, but we’ll see how we go. You just expect another good quality game and hopefully we get some good conditions instead.”
ORANGE EMUS 8 (Tom Goolagong try; Adam Perri pen goal) drew with ORANGE CITY 8 (Sam Dwyer try; Mesui Lemoto pen goal)