ENDEAVOUR Oval will on Saturday play host to the biggest game of the 2014 Blowes Clothing Cup to date when Orange Emus host the ladder-leading Dubbo Roos.
With Emus looming large in the minor premiership race in second place, just a bonus-point win adrift from Dubbo, tomorrow’s clash appears set to defy the traditionally bleak Orange winter conditions and light up the Central West Rugby Union’s premier competition.
With a shot at top spot on the line, Emus coach Andrew Logan has labelled the clash his side’s most important thus far.
“It’s certainly a big game,” Logan said.
“It’s a big game in the sense Roos have been consistently strong this season, and they’ve been able to beat the teams most think will challenge in City and Bulldogs. If we have any aspirations of finishing the year in first then we must win this game.”
Claiming the spoils 20-16 back in round four, Dubbo will face a much sterner test of their premiership credentials against Emus at home.
The greens are yet to taste defeat at Endeavour Oval in 2014 and following on from an insipid performance on the road in beating Parkes 24-19, Logan was hopeful his side will bounce back to its best when faced with the competition front runners on Saturday.
“Last week was a flat spot for us,” he said.
“You can’t realistically expect to play 18-straight games at such a high standard. Hopefully that’s our low point this season.”
Ominously, Dubbo is already fearing the worst.
Minus their Country Cockatoos stars Peter Nau, Filisione Pauta and Scott Burgess with representative duty, the visitors are bracing themselves for conditions more suited to the top of Mount Canobolas rather than Endeavour Oval.
With the mere mention of snow looking likely to throw the preparation of the normally sun-soaked Roos into chaos, Dubbo coach Paul Hennock said, for his side, Saturday’s game was about forgetting the cold.
“It’s about mentally not worrying about the conditions,” Hennock said.
“Since the final whistle last week I’ve been talking about getting it out of your mind, you can’t contend with it or you’ll end up behind.”
Saturday’s top-of-the-table showdown kicks off at 3.15pm at Endeavour Oval.
ORANGE EMUS: 1 Nas Havealeta, 2 Tom Goolagong, 3 Brent Braithwaite, 4 Nick Hughes-Clapp, 5 Tom Fenuelelei, 6 Andrew Cosgrove, 7 Scott Bouffler, 8 Rob Thorburn, 9 TJ Cunynghame, 10 Adam Perri 11 Tom Green, 12 Simon Badgery, 13 Nigel Staniforth, 14 Tim Alison, 15 Sam Ryan.
DUBBO KANGAROOS: 1 Enoch To’Ofohe, 2 Naisa Uhi, 3 Pete Graham, 4 John Korff, 5 James Elliot, 6 Ned Williams, 7 Diarmaid O’Shea, 8 Brad Pugh, 9 Brad Collins, 10 Ted Bates, 11 Tim Symonds, 12 Max Ma’a Nelson, 13 James Mata, 14 Matt Gersbach, 15 Anthony Golding