IT’S the mismatch of the Blowes Clothing Cup season, but Orange Emus will still travel to Mudgee’s Jubilee Oval wary of what the Wombats will on Saturday dish up.
Emus lead the 2014 competition in both attacking and defending statistic lines, penetrating opposition sides’ defence at will to post 536 points in 15 rounds - more than 100 points better than their nearest attacking rival, Dubbo Roos - while conceding a miserly 182 points over the same timeframe.
Meanwhile, the burrow has acted more like a sieve than a fortress throughout 2014, with the Wombats conceding an average of 46 points per game.
Mudgee has scored on average just 11 points per match, too.
In short, if you’re an outside back wearing green on Saturday in Mudgee, you’re licking your lips.
But, attempting to douse any form of attacking ambition that could potentially develop over the course of a two-and-a-half-hour bus trip to Mudgee, Emus backs coach Graydon Staniforth says his side must be prepared to put in the hard yards before it unleashes on the last-placed Wombats.
“Mudgee beat Narromine quite convincingly a couple of weeks ago so we’re heading over there wary. They might pick up a few league guys and others who make themselves available for home games,” Staniforth warned.
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“They’ll take a while to break down, but we’ll be aiming to start the game well and go from there.
“It’s an important game for us, so we need to remain focused on our start and our defence.”
As captivating as any Blowes Clothing Cup outfit with ball in hand this season, Emus’ success has been built on its defence.
And Staniforth says it’s his side’s work without the ball that’ll ensure Emus gun towards a 12th straight win.
“We know if we’re working hard in defence then there’s plenty of points in us,” he said.
“I think last week in the first half, we scored four tries off (Cowra) turnovers ... we’re gradually improving and there’s still work to be done on our defence, but the boys are willing.”
Emus will be without fullback Tim Alison, Scott Bouffler and Alo Finau this week for the trip to Mudgee, but in a sign of the club’s depth, their replacements are first-grade worthy players.
Kick-off is at 3.15pm on Saturday in Mudgee.
ORANGE EMUS: 1 Matt Findlay, 2 Tom Goolagong, 3 Brent Braithwaite, 4 Sam McLean, 5 Nick Highes-Clapp, 6 Keith Howarth, 7 Andrew Cosgrove, 8 Rob Thorburn, 9 TJ Cunyngham, 10 Adam Perri, 11 Tom Green, 12, Simon Badgery, 13 Nigel Staniforth, 14 Carter Hirini, 15 Sam Ryan.