ORANGE CYMS captain-coach Mick Sullivan says it’s “refreshing” to no longer bear the weight of premiership expectation heading into the Group 10 finals.
Still three weeks away, this year’s semi-finals series appears set to be dominated by minor premiership favourites Mudgee, the high flying Bathurst St Pat’s and Orange Hawks, a trend that’s perfectly fine for Sullivan and his CYMS outfit, all but written off as a chance of claiming another premier league title.
“It’s definitely refreshing to be written off,” Sullivan said ahead of Sunday’s must-win clash with the Magpies in Cowra, another side set to feature prominently come finals time.
“There’s probably a few outsiders prepared to say we’re no chance, and given the way we’ve played so far this year we probably deserve to be.
“It’s a bit of a change to previous years.”
But while outsiders may be drawing a line through CYMS’ name as a premiership threat this season, that same resignation isn’t in any player wearing green and gold.
“As long as the playing group isn’t writing us off then I’m confident we can turn it around,” Sullivan continued.
“I’m certainly not writing us off but if others want to, that’s fine.
“That’s our challenge.”
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The green and golds have limped to fifth place in the minor premiership hunt due largely to inconsistency surrounding the make-up of Sullivan’s starting 13 each week.
And injuries have again dented this week’s preparation as well.
Dan Stuart, Brent Colley, Riley Law and Ali Beale are all notable absentees from Sullivan’s premier league line-up set to make the trip to Sid Kallas Oval on Sunday.
But Cowra, too, aren’t without their own issues.
While set to welcome back fullback Jeremy Gordon from suspension, Cowra spilled its lollies with a top three place on the line in last week’s 28-26 loss against Hawks.
Sullivan believes if CYMS are to continue the Magpies’ misery for at least another week, his side simply needs to keep things basic on the road.
“I think our attitude has been there, it’s just our application,” he said.
“If we can get everyone on the same page, we’ve had a couple of players in and out ... we’ve been pretty lucky over the last few years to be able to get our best team on the park at the right end of the season. Hopefully we can build a bit of momentum and get a few guys back.”
Orange CYMS play in Cowra from 2pm on Sunday.
ORANGE CYMS: 1 Scott Piper, 2 Jarrod Robbins, 3 Tim Bassmann, 4 Ryan Griffin, 5 Luke Coleman, 6 Ben McAlpine, 7 Mick Sullivan, 8 Des Knight, 9 Sam Hill, 10 Ryan Prevett, 11 Kyran Bubb, 12 Matt Penny, 13 Ben Gosper; 14 Zac Bohan.