INITIALLY, and aside from the obvious sweeping blonde locks, the first thing you notice about Orange City halfback Tom Nell is, well, there’s not a lot of Tom Nell.
Around “70 to 75 kilos”, and that’d have to be wearing his entire winter wardrobe, the 20-year-old weighs in at roughly half that of hulking Orange Emus loose-head prop Nas Havealeta, who if the Endeavour Oval scales are correct could be the heaviest man in the Blowes Clothing Cup.
And when the two likely clash during Saturday’s final round local derby blockbuster at Pride Park, Nell says there’s little he can do but welcome the challenge.
“Everyone’s going to see me out there and make me a big target, but that’s footy and I just have to get used to it,” the slight-of-frame halfback said.
“I’ve had a few people run at me and there’s always Gus Brotherton and all of those boys right behind me to help me out which is great.
“They’re a great bunch of boys and great teammates, so it’s good.”
Nell has been thrust into the Orange City starting side for the back end of the 2014 season following the absence of premiership-winning No.9 Nick Quinn.
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The son of Lions legend Stephen Nell, on Saturday will be the Stannies product’s first run-on derby appearance, an occasion he freely admits will see him battle a bout of butterflies pre-game.
“Really nervous but really excited to have a good game,” Nell said.
“I haven’t heard much about them other than them obviously being second on the table. It’s a derby and everyone is fired up for it.
“This is probably one of the biggest games I’ve played in, pretty nervous.”
Despite being in third - a position that won’t change regardless of tomorrow’s derby outcome - Nell was confident the two-time defending premiers were still a chance of a hat-trick of titles.
“The way we’ve been training, we’re quite pumped to get into the finals and try and have a good game this weekend,” he said.
The Lions and Emus duked it out in an 8-all draw earlier this season.
The greens haven’t beaten Orange City since the final round of the 2011 season, when Emus chalked up win number 10 in a row with a 19-16 win at Pride Park.
Emus will be gunning for their ninth win in succession on Saturday when they face Orange City from 3.15pm at Pride Park.
ORANGE CITY LIONS: 1 Darcy Garlick, 2 Josh Tremain, 3 Scott Smith, 4 Chris Barrett, 5 Ben Hockey, 6 Duncan Young, 7 Steve Levett, 8 Gus Brotherton, 9 Tom Nell, 10 Michael Sparks, 11 Sam Powell, 12 Mesui Lemoto, 13 Jake Davis, 14 Manu Halasima, 15 Cameron Cole.