Hawks won't be distracted by minor premiership potential: Mortimer

TOUGH SLOG: Hawks captain-coach Tim Mortimer said his side's forward pack, including second rower Chris Anau (pictured), can expect a tough day at the office against Bathurst St Pat's. Photo: STEVE GOSCH 0720sgleague29

TOUGH SLOG: Hawks captain-coach Tim Mortimer said his side's forward pack, including second rower Chris Anau (pictured), can expect a tough day at the office against Bathurst St Pat's. Photo: STEVE GOSCH 0720sgleague29

THE Group 10 premier league minor premiership is now a real possibility for Orange Hawks, but captain-coach Tim Mortimer would prefer not to think about it.

Hawks travel to Bathurst on Sunday to take on St Pat’s, with both sides sitting equal second on the table, one point behind the Mudgee Dragons.

“I’m sure the minor premiership is on a few boys’ minds,” Mortimer said.

“We would need (Orange) CYMS to beat Mudgee for us to be a chance, so I think we need to forget about it and just focus on winning our last two games.

“We wanted a top three spot, but top two now would be ideal to get us a home semi. Beating St Pat’s is the first step.”

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Despite his side being the form team of the competition, unbeaten in its last nine games, Mortimer heaped praise on St Pat’s and said Sunday’s clash at Bathurst Sportsground will be his side’s toughest of the year.

“St Pat’s have plenty to play for, so we’re expecting them to come out very hard,” Mortimer said.

“We knocked them off last time around so they’ll have extra motivation I think. I guess we have plenty to play for as well, but this is going to be a very tough game and we need to improve on our recent games to have a shot.”

After being forced to come from behind in several of its recent wins, Mortimer said his side’s pre-game attitude is its biggest problem.

“We’ve let teams get on top of us and I think that comes down to how we’re going into games,” he said.

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“It is an attitude thing. We’ve been a bit relaxed, and we need to fix that. I know it will be fine in finals, but now is the time to fix it.

“St Pat’s play a simple, high percentage game. They hold the ball, they defend well and they force other teams to make mistakes. The only way to combat that is to do the same, make sure we get field position and get to our kicks. Our forwards will have a hard day, they need to stay consistent.

“If we can play the way we have in the second half of recent games for the entire 80 minutes, we’ll be pretty dangerous.”

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.

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