YOU don't know how good you've got it till it's gone - and every time Orange City's colts outfit runs out onto the field with 15 men, the Lion cubs know they've got it good.
For the first half of the 2012 Blowes Clothing Cup regular season, Orange City's colts were forced to field a 14-man team.
Not because they were short on numbers.
Far from it.
The club was just short a big man up front.
And without a front-rower ready and waiting to go, the Lions were forced to play the opening rounds of this winter with 14 men, all the while competing in non-contested scrums.
The team suffered.
The Lions limped to sixth on the ladder, winning five of their opening 11 games.
But since then the side has hit its straps.
With Rob Palaki, Sam Cubbin and Sone Koopu now entrenched up front, Orange City finished the minor premiership in fifth place, and have since gone on to beat Bathurst (26-7) and Forbes (15-3) in two sudden-death semi-final appearances.
And it comes down to one thing.
"It makes it a lot easier having the full 15," colts coach Anthony Sullivan said.
"There's a good team spirit at the moment within the group. They're all mates."
The Lions now face their toughest test.
CSU Bathurst will be determined to turn around a mistake-riddled second-half effort that resulted in them going down 13-7 last weekend to the undefeated Dubbo, with Roos the first team through to this year's colts decider.
The students have the wood over the Lions courtesy of a 17-0 win at Pride Park and a 40-3 thrashing at University Oval.
The two losses are enough to see the Lions go into the preliminary final as underdogs.
"I'm a bit indifferent to that," Sullivan said of the underdog tag.
"I'm really confident. We're a lot better side not than the last time we played them. We're playing good football at the moment. We improved what we needed to and I hope we can just keep it up for a couple more weeks now."
Colts kick-off at 10.50am at Dubbo's Victoria Park tomorrow.
n ORANGE CITY: 1 Rob Palaki, 2 Sam Cubbin, 3 Sone Koopu, 4 Ben Wright, 5 Keelan Redmond, 6 Dan Cheney, 7 Tom Johnson, 8 Nick Aher, 9 Jarryd Hyde, 10 Joe Alexander, 11 Brendon Longley, 12 Simon Palu, 13 Matt Foliaki, 14 Daniel Haywood, 15 Sam Dwyer.