“WE want second spot.”
Orange Hawks winger Justin Howarth pulled no punches when asked about his side’s goals for the remainder of the 2014 Group 10 premier league season.
Hawks sit one point behind Bathurst St Pat’s in third, however the latter faces the toughest litmus test in Group 10 on Sunday - competition leaders Mudgee, in Mudgee.
With his side hosting Lithgow Workies, in ninth place, at Wade Park tomorrow, Howarth said the clash is a massive chance for his side to leapfrog St Pat’s.
“If we get up this weekend and Pat’s lose we can move into second,” Howarth said.
“It’s no secret we want a home semi-final. Obviously to do that we need to beat Lithgow.”
Easier said than done.
Despite Hawks gunning for a ninth consecutive victory, Lithgow is coming off a massive 38-12 win over Orange CYMS, and Howarth said Workies will look to continue their giant-killing ways.
“No doubt they’ll be out to spoil a few top five teams’ plans,” Howarth said.
“We started our winning run against them (in round seven), so they’ll have a bit more fire in their bellies for us.”
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Howarth’s defensive work on the left flank last weekend against Cowra - nullifying Magpies stars Aiden Craig and Jay McClintlock - was a major factor in Hawks’ come-from-behind 28-26 victory.
The 21-year-old diesel mechanic said his side requires another huge defensive effort tomorrow.
“They’ll be fitter this time around, and they have some huge boys up front and classy backs,” he explained.
“We can’t let them get a roll on, and pushing them to the sideline out wide is important in defence.
“Our ball control needs to improve and we need to be switched on for 80 minutes.”
Two blues captain coach Tim Mortimer, who moves to the centres to accommodate Brock McGarity at five-eighth, agreed.
“It is a very important game for us, we don’t have an easy run home,” Mortimer said.
“We need to focus on not having those small lapses in concentration that almost cost us last weekend.”
Hawks and Workies kick-off at 2pm.
ORANGE HAWKS: 1 Joe Lasagavibau, 2 Justin Howarth, 3 Tim Mortimer (c), 4 Jared Brodrick, 5 Alofi Mataele, 6 Brock McGarity, 7 Keegan Harding, 8 Arty Shead, 9 Mitch Hurford, 10 Jason Greenhalgh, 11 Chris Anau, 12 Lawrence Fogg, 13 Travis Bubb.