ORANGE Emus coach Andrew Logan said his side has plenty to play for in Saturday’s Blowes Clothing Cup local derby against Orange City, despite the clash meaning little in terms of final standings.
Emus are level with Dubbo Kangaroos on points and must win with a bonus point and hope the cellar dwelling Mudgee Wombats score an unlikely upset against ‘Roos, or at least stop them from gaining a bonus point, to steal the minor premiership.
Orange City cannot move from third place, regardless of results.
“The game may not count for much in terms of competition points, but otherwise it counts for plenty,” Logan said.
“In particular, there is a massive psychological edge on the line.”
Logan highlighted momentum as key considering the clash is set to act as a pre-cursor to next weekend’s qualifying final, in which the two sides are expected to meet again.
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Despite history being against Emus - the greens haven’t won a local derby since 2011 - Logan said his side is confident of claiming victory.
“I don’t think history counts for much here,” Logan said.
“We’re just as big of an obstacle to Orange City now as they are to us, we’re both big threats in this competition.
“In that regard, we need to just go out and do what we’ve been doing, and do it well.”
Ominously for the Lions, Emus will field a full strength team on Saturday for the first time in several weeks.
Brent Braithwaite, Tom Goolagong, Rob Thorburn and Simon Badgery all missed last weekend’s 61-19 thrashing of Narromine, and will come back into Emus’ side tomorrow.
Braithwaite and Goolagong in particular will make a welcome return to Emus’ front row, which was outweighed and bullied by a strong Gorillas’ scrum last weekend.
The blockbuster clash kicks off at 3.15pm on Saturday at Pride Park.
ORANGE EMUS: 1 Nas Havealeta, 2 Tom Goolagong, 3 Brent Braithwaite, 4 Nick Hughes-Clapp, 5 Sam McLean, 6 Alo Finau, 7 Andrew Cosgrove, 8 Rob Thorburn, 9 TJ Cunynghame, 10 Adam Perri, 11 Carter Hirini, 12 Tim Alison, 13 Nigel Staniforth (c), 14 Tom Green, 15 Sam Ryan; Bench: 16 Simon Badgery.