A SEVEN-TRY romp against Blowes Clothing Cup favourites Dubbo Roos has propelled Orange Emus to the top of the 2014 competition ladder.
Led by a dominant pack that enabled the greens to camp in enemy territory for virtually the entire match, last year's wooden spooners are now sitting on top of the 2014 premiership ladder after scoring an emphatic 48-3 triumph over an under-manned Roos outfit at Endeavour Oval.
Emus coach Andrew Logan thought his side orchestrated "a very complete performance".
"You never expect a score line like that against a team like Dubbo," Logan said.
"I think we had a little bit of good fortune but there was a lot of constructive rugby as well.
"We'll take this one and be happy with the way we played but there's still a lot of rugby to be played ahead."
Saturday's rugby, though, was Emus biggest test of their premiership credentials to date.
And Logan's men blitzed the task at hand.
"It's very satisfying, especially for the guys; they're the ones that put all of the work in," Logan continued.
"They've turned up back in October and worked throughout the off-season and been going for 10 months now. I'm just happy for them."
Finding the conditions tough to handle in the opening exchanges, Emus found themselves on the back foot early after a nice break from halfback Brad Collins stung the hosts.
The ensuing penalty gifted Dubbo centre James Mata the first three-pointer of the match after just four minutes.
But that was as good as it got for the visitors.
Sam Ryan bagged his first of the afternoon, charging on to a lovely Adam Perri ball, after seven minutes before Emus skipper Nigel Stanforth booted a penalty and barged over for a try of his own to cap a strong opening stanza and hand the hosts a 17-3 advantage.
Already boasting a mud-covered playing surface, Endeavour Oval's conditions worsened at the half and break as the rain began to fall but that didn't deter Emus, running in further tries to Tommy Fenuelelei, Ryan's second, Lachlan Harris, Tim Alison and Nick Hughes-Clapp to earn a bonus point and a 45-point victory.
"Great win by Emus, they played to the conditions and we made the same mistakes we did against Forbes," Roos coach Paul Hennock said.
"The only positive out of today is we know what the problem is, and we've got to fix that."
That problem for Roos is with the boot.
Time and time again, Dubbo's general play kicking either failed to find touch or its impact was dampened by its ineffectiveness.
One of a host of absentees alongside Peter Nau, Brad Shaun McHugh and Filisone Pauta, not having NSW Country fullback Scott Burgess wouldn't have helped Hennock's men.
But the shrewd mentor wasn't pulling any punches.
"It doesn't matter. You've got to turn up and play with who you've got," the Dubbo coach said.
"You can be without certain players on any given Saturday. We've got more injuries now and we're not going to have guys next week, that's just the reality of it. There's no excuses."
Tellingly, Emus didn't have a bad player, but in a game where forward dominance was key Nas Havealeta and Brent Braithwaite dug deep against a strong Dubbo pack.
Now a marked outfit, Logan was adamant Emus were up to the task.
"I think anyone who is on top, everyone is out to beat them," Logan added.
"There's Emus, Dubbo, City, Forbes, we're all strong on our day and we're all going to fight it out. It'll be a hard end to the year but we're there or there abouts and I'm happy about that.
"The boys are pretty focused and pretty pumped up so I think they'll be ready for it."
ORANGE EMUS 48 (Sam Ryan 2, Nigel Staniforth, Tom Fenuelelei, Lachlan Harris, Tim Alison, Nick Hughes-Clapp tries; Nigel Staniforth 5 conv, pen goal) def DUBBO ROOS 3 (James Mata pen goal).