ORANGE Emus coach Andrew Logan had one clear message for his troops ahead of Saturday’s blockbuster Blowes Clothing Cup qualifying semi-final - forget what you’ve done so far this season, this is finals rugby.
Hosting cross-town rivals Orange City at Endeavour Oval on Saturday, Emus go into the clash as heavy favourites.
Emus lost just two games all season, and boasted the best defence and attacking statistics during the regular season.
They also systematically took the Lions apart at Pride Park last weekend, running out 33-21 winners.
Logan said Emus won’t read too much into those facts though, adding his side is bracing for a Lions’ onslaught born from motivation, and last weekend’s disappointment.
“All we’ve done is earn a seat at the finals’ table so far,” the greens’ mentor said.
“Everything we’ve done so far this season is forgotten in a way, this is finals football now. We need to start again now, we can’t afford to lose.
Watch our video preview of this weekend's semi-finals:
“We are very aware of how experienced Orange City is at this stage of the season, they have played a lot of finals footy together.”
In stark contrast, very few of the greens players have lined up together in finals despite having a wealth of experience individually.
“As a unit, we’ve played no finals games, but that doesn’t worry me at all,” Logan explained.
“One thing I really like about our side is how smart the rugby players are, and most of the guys have big game experience from former clubs.
“I’m very confident they’ll get the job done.”
Logan highlighted error minimisation as key for his side, and said Emus’ stellar defensive record combined with the Lions’ fabled defensive prowess is set to produce brutal contact in abundance, particularly around the ruck.
“It (defence) is pivotal, both sides know that,” he said.
“More than anything though, we can’t afford to make errors against Orange City, they will feed off them.
“The Lions will play for 80 minutes, 81, 82, 83 if they have to. We’re very aware they will come out much harder than they did last week.”
ORANGE EMUS: 1 Nas Havealeta, 2 Tom Goolagong, 3 Brent Braithwaite, 4 Nick Hughes-Clapp, 5 Sam McLean, 6 Andrew Cosgrove, 7 Alo Finau, 8 Rob Thorburn, 9 TJ Cunynghame, 10 Adam Perri, 11 Tom Green, 12 Tim Alison, 13 Nigel Staniforth, 14 Carter Hirini, 15 Sam Ryan; Bench: 16 Simon Badgery, 17 Al Hattersley, 18 Keith Howarth, 19 Scott Bouffler, 20 Lachlan Harris, 21 Chris Bailey, 22 Isaac White.