THERE’S underdogs, then there’s Orange Emus’ third grade outfit.
Defending premiers after a stellar 2013 campaign ended in premiership glory at Pride Park 12 months ago, the greens have since struggled against their cross-town rivals, so much so Emus are yet to post a single point against the brick-like Orange City third grade team throughout 2014.
And ahead of Saturday’s preliminary final against the Lions, breaking that season-long duck isn’t going to get any easier.
“They’ve beaten us each time we’ve met, but on both occasions we were coming off a long lay off. With the gap in the draw, we lacked continuity and had to regroup and start again,” Emus coach Barry Ruddy said.
“We’re going to have to improve a lot to beat Orange City but the last couple of weeks will help.”
In the two clubs’ first meeting, Orange City won 5-0 while nine weeks later the Lions again prevailed, this time 25-0 in the final regular season round.
“We’re not going great with a couple of injuries after last week but for us, the more we play the better we get,” Ruddy said.
The third grade preliminary final begins at 12.10pm on Saturday at Pride Park.
ORANGE EMUS: 1 Feleti Fosio, 2 Mark Kingham, 3 Mitch Rodwell, 4 Drew Bale, 5 Glen Paterson-Kane, 6 Sam Chamberlain, 7 Brad Quilty, 8 Stu Brisbane, 9 Luke Trott, 10 Jaime Kelso, 11 Josh Towns, 12 Owen Thomas, 13 Matt Kennedy, 14 Jake Ruddy, 15 Graydon Staniforth.