DISPELLING any rumour of resting players, Orange Hawks captain-coach Tim Mortimer has named a full-strength side for Saturday’s Group 10 premier league blockbuster with Bathurst Panthers.
Hawks host Panthers at Wade Park and with the two blues assured a place in the finals whisperings of Mortimer resting several key players before the finals were circulating.
With Orange CYMS all but relying on a Hawks victory to qualify for the play-offs, the decision could have played a pivotal role in who the two blues faced in next week’s elimination semi-final.
“We aren’t really worried who we play, we have to beat them regardless,” Mortimer said.
“Momentum is important and I was always naming a full-strength side for this game. Sure, if somebody has picked up a niggle at training then, yes, maybe they will get a rest but we want to win.”
Mortimer’s men are coming off a loss to Bathurst St Pat’s, their first defeat in 10 games, and Panthers, not unlike CYMS, desperately need a victory to keep their finals hopes alive.
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“The feeling in our shed wasn’t good last weekend,” Mortimer said.
“The boys were quiet, and it’s not a feeling we want again. Momentum is huge in this competition this season and we want it, and that winning feeling, back leading into the finals.”
The sheer size of Panthers’ pack - led by the Seager brothers, Brent and Blake - presents a problem for Hawks’ comparatively small forwards, and Mortimer said his side was bracing itself for an onslaught through the middle of the paddock.
“Their pack is huge, but most sides are bigger than us,” he explained.
“They’re playing good footy and probably need a win a bit more than us. They have plenty to play for and will be coming here ready to put on a show.
“But we’re at home, we like playing here, and even though they came out very hard against us last time I think we’re ready for it this time.”
Hawks host Panthers at Wade Park, kicking off at 2pm.
ORANGE HAWKS: 1 Joe Lasagavibau, 2 Justin Howarth, 3 Tim Mortimer, 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.