By NICK McGRATH
IT sounds a bit cheesy given they're the Lions, but 2012 Blowes Clothing Cup minor premiers Orange City have been concentrating on maintaining the pride in their defensive line ahead of Saturday's grand final against Dubbo Roos.
The Lions have been the best defensive side of 2012, conceding 85 points fewer than their nearest rival, Parkes, over the course of the regular season.
It is in many respects the main reason why Orange City remain undefeated this winter.
In the big games, a strong defence stands tall.
And it's the big games the Lions keep on winning.
In the latest, a 29-18 major semi-final triumph over the Dubbo Roos, Orange City was at its defensive best.
The Lions pulled off three outstanding try-saving plays, each proving pivotal in the 11-point win with Duncan Young, Sione Lafo'ou and John Colgan squashing three separate Roos try-scoring opportunities.
They're the kind of plays that win grand finals.
Colgan, though, was down-playing his role in the minor premier's major semi-final win 12 days ago.
"I was probably more lucky than anything but defence is something we have worked on this week. We've talked about pride in our line and pride in our defence and not letting any points through," Colgan said.
Saturday's game will be Colgan's second consecutive grand final berth.
However, it's just his second in 13 years of rugby.
Playing prop in the Lions second grade outfit in 2011, the 21-year-old and Orange City's reserves went down 20-12 against Bathurst Bulldogs at Narromine's Cale Oval, with the two again set to contest the second grade grand final in 2012.
This time, Colgan said the Lions were ready to make the most of the opportunity, in both first and second grade.
Although a few of the boys weren't handling it as well as others.
"It's been a bit stressful. A few of the boys are a little bit nervous with the pressure of the big games," Colgan revealed.
"I'm more excited than anything. I don't get as worked up as some of the other boys like Blocker (Josh Tremain). Once we all get out there though we'll soak up the atmosphere and it'll be just like any other game this season."
He was looking forward to running out in front of the Lions faithful at Pride Park.
"Definitely. The big crowds have helped us this season a lot and they're expecting a bigger crowd, well bigger than I've ever played in front of, out there on Saturday. It's going to be great," he said.
The 2012 Blowes Clothing Cup first grade grand final kicks off at 3.15pm on Saturday.