IF winning ugly is an art, Orange City is the Rembrandt of the 2014 Blowes Clothing Cup.
Boasting an attack superior only to minnows CSU Bathurst (eighth), Parkes (ninth) and Mudgee (10th), the Lions have defied their obvious stop-start attacking faults to defend their way stoutly to third on this year’s minor premiership, winning nine times over the opening 12 rounds this year.
But enough is enough.
And Lions co-coach Steve Hamson knows it.
On Saturday the Lions travel to Cowra to face an Eagles outfit infinitely better on home soil, and with the post-season fast approaching Hamson was hoping some slight alterations to his side’s attack will paint a points avalanche for the two-time defending champions.
“We’re defending for probably 70 to 80 per cent of games at the moment, and eventually that’s going to catch up with us,” Hamson said, his side scoring at a rate of 21.6 points per game so far this season.
“We’ve changed things up a little bit. Hopefully we’ll give Cowra something different this weekend.”
Saturday’s opposition, the Eagles, score at 27.9 points per game while Emus rank number one with the ball in hand scoring an average of 32.7 points per game.
Hamson admitted the absence of dual premiership winners Michael Sparks and Junior Lafa’ou had dented his side’s attacking arsenal in 2014, but was confident productive attacking rugby wasn’t far away for the Lions.
“For us, we’re probably not scoring the points we’d like to at the moment. Defensively we’ve demonstrated we’re up for just about any challenge thrown at us, but we’re still struggling with ball retention and our decision making in counter attack - when to run and when to kick,” he said.
“If we get beaten by 30 this week you’ll know it hasn’t worked though.”
Aiming to finish the year in second place to ensure the Lions book a home qualifying semi-final, Hamson said Saturday’s game against a Cowra side “teetering on the edge” was crucial in his team’s ambition to usurp Emus (46 points) and claim a top two berth.
Also behind premiership favourites Dubbo (51 points), Orange City currently has 43 competition points.
Duncan Young and Scott Smith are missing for the Lions this week, both unavailable for the round 13 fixture at the Cowra Rugby Ground.
Kick-off is at 3.15pm.
ORANGE CITY LIONS: 1 Darcy Garlick, 2 Chris Senior, 3 Josh Tremain, 4 Mitch Pearce, 5 Chris Barrett, 6 Steve Levett, 7 Gus Brotherton, 8 Josh Maley, 9 Nick Quinn, 10 Mesui Lemoto, 11 Cameron Cole, 12 Jake Davis, 13 Manu Halasima, 14 Sam Powell, 15 Mitch Green.