ORANGE City co-coach Steve Hamson has hit back at claims the Lions ambushed rival playmaker Adam Perri in last weekend’s 35-29 qualifying semi-final defeat of Emus, saying his Lions outfit are anything but Blowes Clothing Cup “thugs”.
Emus chief play maker, Perri was assisted from Endeavour Oval mid-way through the first half in his side’s six-point loss to the two-time defending premiers after Lions pair Michael Sparks and Mesui Lemoto both attempted to charge down a clearing kick from the NSW Country under 19s star.
Down his No.10, Emus coach Andrew Logan was left fuming.
And with Perri now “touch and go” nursing a injured leg ahead of Sunday’s minor semi against the Bulldogs, Logan questioned the amount of protection officials are granting kickers when they’re at their most vulnerable.
Hamson, however, says the hit was simply clumsy.
“We’ve been made to look like thugs and that’s just not the case,” Hamson fired ahead of his side’s trip to Dubbo on Saturday.
“Dubbo’s main attacking threat is their centre (Filisoni Pauta), and we’ll send two or three blokes to tackle him but to then suggest we’re sending those guys out there to do anything untoward is wide of the mark.
“(The Perri challenge) was untidy at best.”
Ominously finding form at the pivotal end of the season, Orange City’s bid for three-straight titles will potentially take another momentous step when the Lions clash with the Roos on Saturday at No.1 Oval.
Huge stakes on the line, the winner of tomorrow’s bout will host this year’s grand final.
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And, at least a month ago, another Pride Park decider was a proposition that looked far from the realms of possibility for a side that made winning ugly the new black.
“It’d be nice to be winning attractively,” Hamson added.
“But if you look at a month ago Emus were winning every game but 60 ... it’s not about bonus points any more now. It’s about getting the job done.”
A creed that was in full flight in City’s last minute win over Emus last week.
Hamson said he expects a similar never-say-die performance from the Lions on the road in Dubbo tomorrow.
“That’s an attitude we’ve developed over the last couple of seasons,” Hamson said.
“We can win by five or we can win by 20 or win by a couple, it doesn’t matter to these blokes. They just keep turning up for each other and winning games.
“I was impressed with the effort on the weekend. Our defence was good and each time we went down their end we came away with points and that’s what this time of year is about; taking your chances.”
The Lions play the Roos at No.1 Oval on Saturday from 3.15pm.
ORANGE CITY: 1 Scott Smith, 2 Josh Tremain, 3 Darcy Garlick, 4 Mitch Pearce, 5 Chris Barrett, 6 Steve Levitt, 7 Duncan Young, 8 Gus Brotherton, 9 Nick Quinn, 10 Michael Sparks, 11 Sam Powell, 12 Mesui Lemoto, 13 Jake Davis, 14 Manu Halasima, 15 Cameron Cole.