A STEELY defensive effort from Orange City helped the Lions grind out a tough 25-19 Blowes Clothing Cup victory over Forbes on Saturday.
Orange City was forced to defend its own line for the final 10 minutes, holding out to secure the six point win at a dark, windswept Pride Park.
The Platypi camped themselves in the Lions’ half for the opening exchanges but it was Orange City that opened the scoring in the 15th minute through Cameron Cole.
After a slick steal, Lions’ five-eighth Mesui Lemoto’s clearing kick was fumbled by Forbes winger Matt Simmonds. The chasing Cole latched onto the loose ball, running 60 metres untouched to score.
The Lions crossed again just four minutes later through centre Jake Davis. Uncharacteristically, Lemoto missed both conversion attempts to leave the score 10-nil.
Forbes hit back shortly afterward on the back of a five metre scrum with hooker Greg Moxey crossing after a handful of pick and drives. Halfback Simon Flynn added the extras, reducing the deficit to three.
Lions breakaway Duncan Young seized an opportunity off a fluffed Josh Coulthurst clearance kick, straight after the restart, sending Davis over for his second.
The score remained at 15-7 after Lemoto missed his third conversion attempt, until Platypi prop Kyle Sharpe crossed in the 39th minute. Flynn’s conversion brought his side back within one point.
However, Lions centre Manu Halasima regathered his own team’s restart, finding Chris Senior in support who crashed over on half time. Lemoto found his radar, taking the score to 22-14 at half-time.
Amid of a comedy of errors from both sides Moxey crossed for his second, unconverted, shortly after the break before Lemoto slotted a crucial penalty goal to take the score to 25-19 with 15 to play.
When Young was yellow carded in the 70th minute the Platypi sniffed an opportunity, bombarding the Lions’ line with forward runners.
The Lions’ defence held, holding Forbes up twice in the dying stages. From the resulting scrum on full time, Flynn was penalised for a crooked feed gifting the Lions a deserved win.
“We addressed our attitude and discipline that went AWOL last week, so it was good to pull that back in,” Lions skipper Josh Maley said after the win.
“We still let in a couple of soft of tries around the ruck but we addressed that at half time and kept them out.
“They were on a bit of a roll ... to halt that and keep ourselves in the race for a top-two position is good.”
King cut a dejected figure after the clash, but said his side proved they are a genuine title contender with the performance.
“A few calls didn’t go our way on the line but that’s footy,” he said.
“We wanted to prove we’re up here (in the top four) for a reason, and we’re here to stay. We let them in from our mistakes, and you lose the game when you do that against the top sides.”
ORANGE CITY LIONS 25 (Jake Davis 2, Cameron Cole, Chris Senior tries; Mesui Lemoto goal, pen) def FORBES PLATYPI 19 (Greg Moxey 2, Kyle Sharpe tries; Simon Flynn 2 goals)