City's Sparks: pivot's return to ignite defending premiers' charge into semis

BRIGHT SPARK: Orange City's 2013 premiership winning five-eighth and skipper Micheal Sparks will play the rest of the 2014 season. Photo: JUDE KEOGH

BRIGHT SPARK: Orange City's 2013 premiership winning five-eighth and skipper Micheal Sparks will play the rest of the 2014 season. Photo: JUDE KEOGH

IT’S official, Michael Sparks is back for good.

Orange City’s 2012 and 2013 premiership winning five-eighth moved to Brisbane after last season’s triumph, but has returned to steer the Lions around for the remainder of the 2014 Blowes Clothing Cup season.

Sparks made his comeback for Orange City two weekends ago in the Lions’ 118-5 demolition of Mudgee, and dominated again in Saturday’s gritty 28-20 win over Narromine.

“I was originally planning on just coming back while (coach) Steve Hamson was away, to help Nathan Short (caretaker coach),” Sparks said.

“But I’ve had my arm twisted, not that it needed much twisting I guess. So I’m here for the rest of the season. A whole lot of little factors came into the decision, but I’m really glad to be back.

“I’ve played all over the world, but I always love coming back to City, it really is like a family here.”

WATCH OUR VIDEO PREVIEW OF THIS WEEKEND'S BLOWES CLOTHING CUP MATCHES:

Sparks has slotted straight back into the No.10 jersey, allowing Mesui Lemoto to return to his favoured inside centre position. That’s how they’ll line up again tomorrow when the Lions host CSU Bathurst at Pride Park.

Orange City, sitting in third place, were almost ambushed by the students in the corresponding clash in round seven - the Lions sneaking away from University Oval with a 24-19 win.

“Obviously I didn’t play against them earlier in the year, but I heard they really gave it our guys,” Sparks said.

“It’s always said about CSU, they’re young and unpredictable. They can turn up on any given day, so you always need to wary of them.

“I’ve always said though, if we just worry about what we can control everything else will take care of itself.”

ORANGE CITY LIONS: 1 Scott Smith, 2 Josh Tremain, 3 Darcy Garlick, 4 Mitch Pearce, 5 Chris Barrett, 6 Gus Brotherton, 7 Duncan Young, 8 Josh Maley (c), 9 Brad Cleal, 10 Michael Sparks, 11 Cameron Cole, 12 Mesui Lemoto, 13 Jake Davis, 14 Sam Powell, 15 Mitch Green.

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