THERE’S two ways for Orange City to make the Blowes Clothing Cup grand final and coach Steve Hamson knows both of them.
“We either win this Saturday or we do it the hard way,” Hamson said.
Orange City will host the Dubbo Kangaroos in tomorrow’s major semi-final at Pride Park.
It is the Lions’ first game since they took out the minor premiership with an undefeated regular season.
Finishing on top allowed the Orange side to have last week off and now they’re ready for what they know will be their toughest game to date.
“I think they’ve been the best side we’ve played all year,” Hamson said of the Roos.
“They have a solid pack. They have a good set price. They have good halves and good centres. They’ve got speed out wide.”
It sounds like Hamson is describing his own side.
The battle of the forwards could play a deciding factor in tomorrow’s game and Lions prop Nathan Short knows his his team is up to it.
“There are a few boys playing above their weight,” Short said.
“It’s helped that the core of the pack have been together for a few years. Everyone knows their role within the forward pack. Steve (Hamson) and Mick (Gray) have worked quite hard on our defence this year.
“We’ve got to step up this weekend. I think the Roos had the better of us in the forwards last time.”
Hamson agreed the Lions pack punches above its weight.
He also thinks Short has been a key part of the pack’s ability to remain competitive this season.
“We made a few changes late in the season which seems to have suited him,” Hamson explained.
“He doesn’t have to run as much so he has more energy through the game. He’s probably had one of his best seasons.”
Short said he was feeling excited and nervous.
The 30-year-old said the week off hasn’t slowed the Lions down at all.
“We played in the semi-finals the last two years and getting knocked out in the finals the last two years has been a bit of a motivator,” Short said.
Orange City and the Roos have played out two tough matches this season.
In round two Orange City won 17-5 and then in round 11 they edged out the Roos 27-26.
In both games it has come down to kicking.
In their first encounter both sides scored a try each in Dubbo but Anthony Salmon kicked four penalty goals.
The second time they met, each team ran in four tries, however, Maesui Lomoto kicked two conversions and a penalty goal compared to the Roos’ three conversions by Joshua Dodd.
“I think it’s game where there’ll be nothing in it,” Hamson said.
“We’ll have to be on our game for the full 80 minutes.”
Tomorrow’s major semi-finals will be played at Pride Park and first grade kicks off at 3.15pm.
ORANGE CITY: 1 Nathan Short, 2 Josh Tremain, 3 John Colgan, 4 Chris Barrett, 5 Mitch Pearce, 6 Angus Brotherton, 7 Duncan Young, 8 John Colgan, 9 Nick Quinn, 10 Michael Sparks (c), 11 Ollie Stone, 12 Maesui Lomoto, 13 Tatafu Na’aniumotu, 14 Sione Lafo’ou, 15 Sam Powell.