THE hoodoo is broken.
Orange Emus ended a three-season losing streak against Orange City with a scintillating performance at Pride Park on Saturday, running out 33-21 winners.
The greens hadn't tasted victory against the Lions since, coincidentally, the final round of the 2011 Blowes Clothing Cup regular season.
In front a huge, vocal Pride Park crowd Emus outclassed their cross-town rivals, running in five tries to three in the victory.
"It was the perfect way to finish our regular season," Emus' assistant coach Graydon Staniforth said.
" [The win] is very important for our psyche, it's a bit of a monkey off our back. We hadn't beaten them for quite a period of time, and City are a great side so it's a great way to end the season and go into the semis."
Sluggish starts have become a trend for Orange City recently, and once again the Lions leaked early points as Emus shot to a 14-nil lead after just 10 minutes.
Giant greens' prop Nas Havealeta opened the scoring in the seventh minute, diving over from the back of a textbook rolling maul after back-to-back ruck infringements gifted Emus possession on the Lions' line.
WHAT GRAYDON STANIFORTH AND MICK GRAY HAD TO SAY ABOUT THE GAME:
Tim Alison carried two Orange City defenders over just three minutes later, and with two Nigel Staniforth conversions a blowout looked possible.
Orange City lifted, but the visitors continued to dominate the rest of the opening period, crossing once more through halfback TJ Cunynghame after a stellar piece of defensive work from winger Carter Hirini.
In pursuit of a Sam Ryan grubber, Hirini bundled Cameron Cole into touch on his own five metre line after the Lions' fullback regathered, again gifting Emus possession and field position.
Cunynghame found a gap off the resulting lineout to give Emus a 21-nil lead at half-time.
One spectator's musing that the blowing gale at Pride Park would be worth three tries for Orange City in the second half proved correct - the Lions ran in exactly that with the wind at their backs.
Unfortunately for the home side, Emus also scored two.
Emus' winger Tom Green crossed first, shaking off several would-be tacklers before Lions' hooker-come-prop Josh Tremain burrowed his way over in the 52nd minute to open the home side's account.
Cole crossed three minutes later, giving the home crowd some hope at 26-14, but it was to no avail as Emus hit back immediately through Simon Badgery.
With 15 minutes remaining on the clock Orange City was not without hope, but countless handling errors cost the home side. Tremain crossed for his second in the shadow of full-time, but by then the result was sealed.
Graydon Staniforth highlighted Cunygnhame, hooker Tom Goolagong and second rower Nick Hughes-Clapp as standouts before crediting his entire unit's performance, particularly in defence.
"Our defence was very impressive, until the second half when we ran out of legs a bit," Staniforth said.
"That's a credit to them though, they came home strong and their replacements did well."
With Dubbo's 50-7 thrashing of Mudgee, the two sides will meet again in next Saturday's qualifying final at Endeavour Oval and Lions' coach Mick Gray said Emus can expect to face a very different Orange City side.
"Next week is the goal, we've got a few blokes busted so we had to make some changes, and we had a few late pull outs which caused a bit of disruption," he explained.
"That's not an excuse though Emus deserved to win, there's no doubt about that. For the second or third week in a row we've given a team a start ... that's the biggest thing we need to take out of this, we can't do that against quality teams."
ORANGE EMUS 33 (Nas Havealeta, Tim Alison, TJ Cunynghame, Tom Green, Simon Badgery tries; Nigel Staniforth 4 conversions) def ORANGE CITY LIONS 21 (Josh Tremain 2, Cameron Cole tries; Mesui Lemoto 2, Duncan Young conversions).