IN Orange City circles, the word development has become synonymous with second-rower Scott Smith.
Lions coaches Mick Gray and Steve Hamson threw the 20-year-old in the deep end at the beginning of the 2014 Blowes Clothing Cup season, and the risky move has been an unequivocal success.
Smith slotted straight into Orange City’s front row at tighthead prop - widely regarded as the toughest position to play in rugby - and flourished.
But for Saturday’s preliminary final against Orange Emus Smith will move back to his favoured position in the second row.
VIDEO: Orange City Lions' coach Mick Gray's thoughts on the game:
“It’s been tough, especially at prop. Scrummaging against guys like Nas (Havealeta) and Chris Plunkett was especially tough,” Smith said.
“It’s been great though. A steep learning curve, but I’ve enjoyed the whole season and I’m seriously keen for [tomorrow].
“We’re confident, the qualifying final was a cracking game. With Nigel Staniforth kicking so well we need to be disciplined, we’ve been playing good footy since we started semis, so we need to keep that going.”
Smith will wear the No.5 jersey in a markedly different Lions’ side, devoid of injured stars Josh Maley (ribs), Nick Quinn (shoulder), Michael Sparks (shoulder) and Chris Barrett.
Gray said Maley, Quinn and Sparks will play from the bench, but all three are “busted” after last weekend’s nail-biting 20-19 major semi-final loss to Dubbo Kangaroos.
“If there is a time when we need them to play, they will come on. They are pretty busted though,” Gray said.
“Smithy was very raw at the start of the year but he has developed into a very good rugby player. He has struggled at times at tighthead, he’s a bit big to play there, and has always been a second-rower, but he’s learned a lot.”
VIDEO: Our preview of Saturday's local derby clash:
“(Emus coach) Andrew Logan hit in on the head earlier in the week, there’s no tomorrow now and the team who executes better is likely to win.”
In Orange City’s only other change, love has come back to town in the form of multiple title-winning centre Sam Coote, who returns to the No.13 jersey.
Kick-off at Pride Park is 3.15pm.
ORANGE CITY: 1 Darcy Garlick, 2 Chris Senior, 3 Josh Tremain, 4 Mitch Pearce, 5 Scott Smith, 6 Steve Lovett, 7 Duncan Young, 8 Gus Brotherton, 9 Tom Nell, 10 Mesui Lemoto, 11 Sam Powell, 12 Jake Davis, 13 Sam Coote, 14 Manu Halasima, 15 Cameron Cole.