MICK Gray and Josh Tremain know all too well the pain of losing a grand final.
They were there in 2007, along with Dan Johnson, when Orange City lost the first grade decider to Dubbo Kangaroos 26-23 in Dubbo.
There some clear similarities between 2007 and this season with Gray back as coach and Tremain as hooker and City are taking on the Roos in the big one.
Gray said there was one other thing which reminded him of 2007.
“It’s similar in that we’ve ended up with a strong reserve grade and first grade squad,” Gray explained.
“It helps when you’ve got options. It keeps the motivation of the first grade guys to do well because they know if they play badly and stuff it up, we’ve got another player ready to go. The overall squad this year is very strong.”
The coach said that is where the similarities end.
“In ‘07 there weren’t high expectations on us because the year before was reasonably disappointing,” Gray said.
“The first half of that year we snuck under the radar. This year we’ve come off two good years so the expectations have been a lot higher.
“In ‘07 we had a very young side. We’ve got more experience this year. There are five blokes in the forward pack who are close to 30 then we’ve got a few young guys.”
For Tremain, things have been very different this year.
“There’s a lot less pressure this year,” Tremain said.
“The big reason is to do with ‘07 I was the captain and it was the first time we’d looked like doing well. I was carrying the pressure to keep the team performing.”
In 2007, Dubbo got out to a 19-nil lead after 15 minutes and the Lions just fell short of chasing them down.
“We had the team to win but we were brand new,” Tremain said of the 2007 decider.
“We’re not brand new now and we’re ready.”