By MICHELLE COOK
ON the field, John Gander and Nathan Short are the hard men of the Orange City side.
The props are at the epicentre of the impact when their side scrums down against their opponents and they don't back down when it comes to making the tough tackles.
Off the field is a different story.
Give them their young children and they melt into family men and admit to being softies.
It is the support of their families which is helping to make Saturday's Blowes Clothing Cup grand final against Dubbo Kangaroos extra special.
Gander's one-year-old son, Lachlan, has his Orange City jumper ready to wear, as does Short's nine-month-old daughter Lola.
Gander's daughter, seven week-old Sophie, is too young to know what the excitement's about but you know she'll be one of the first to get a hug from her Dad if the Lions win the premiership.
Gander and Short admit being family men can make getting to training a little more difficult.
"You can't hang back on Saturday after the game," Gander said.
"It's more the social side," Short added.
The pair said they're not letting themselves get carried away as the countdown to kick-off continues.
"Myself and Michael Sparks did some interviews for radio on Monday and I was very nervous after that," Short said.
"You just try and keep your mind off it. Then in the game, you just try and get involved as soon as you can."
The pair agreed the forward packs could decide the premiership.
"They're a big strong pack with Country hooker Pete Nau. Any pack with a Country hooker is strong," Short said of the Roos.
"Whoever wins the battle of the forwards will win the game," Gander added.
Regardless of the result, both are happy to be on the field with their young families supporting them.
"With two under two, footy is a good break," Gander laughed.
Tomorrow's first grade Blowes Clothing Cup grand final will kick-off at 3.15pm at Pride Park.