Orange City Lions and Orange Emus set for extremely tight preliminary final clash

POTENTIAL NAIL-BITER: Gus Brotherton and his Orange City teammates enjoy a home preliminary final tomorrow, but based on numbers, the Lions and Orange Emus go into the clash on an even keel. Photo: STEVE GOSCH 0823sgrugby10

POTENTIAL NAIL-BITER: Gus Brotherton and his Orange City teammates enjoy a home preliminary final tomorrow, but based on numbers, the Lions and Orange Emus go into the clash on an even keel. Photo: STEVE GOSCH 0823sgrugby10

STRAP yourselves in, take your heart medication and prepare to have no fingernails left after Saturday’s Blowes Clothing Cup preliminary final because it’s set to be tighter than Matt Dunning’s waistband in the early noughties.

Based on 2014 numbers,Saturday's blockbuster clash at Pride Park will be a nail-biter.

In fact, if you were a betting man you’d almost put your house on it.

Considering Orange City and Orange Emus are vying for a spot in the 2014 grand final, there is a good chance little more than a penalty goal will decide it and based on the figures alone, the two sides enter the clash on an even keel.

VIDEO: Our preview of Saturday's local derby clash:

So far in 2014, the two sides have met three times - in round nine, 18 and the qualifying final two weeks ago - for an 8-all draw, a 33-21 Emus’ victory and a 35-29 Lions’ win respectively.

Cumulatively Emus hold a narrow six-point edge, leading the Lions 70-64 despite the Lions enjoying the better of the total penalty count having received three more full-arms.

Despite Pride Park traditionally being a fortress, based on numbers Orange City’s stellar record at home, and with it any potential advantage they may enjoy, is virtually eradicated by Emus’ incredible record on the road.

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In fact, the Lions’ record at Pride Park is almost identical to that of the greens away from home.

In nine games at the Lions’ den, Orange City has averaged 34 points a game, winning seven of nine games, scoring a total of 306 points - a total blown out by a 118-5 win over Mudgee, over a third of the Lions’ total tally at home.

In nine games on the road Emus has averaged 32 points a game, winning seven of nine, scoring a total of 296 points.

Both sides have been miserly in defence, the Lions conceding just 153 points at home while Emus have conceded even less, 142, away - at an average of 17 and 15 respectively.

However, the most telling fact leading into the clash - in three derbies so far in 2014, the home side is yet to win one.

But, as any rugby aficionado knows, statistics rarely tell the entire story, especially in finals rugby.

Kick-off is at 3.15pm.

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