ORANGE CYMS first division manager Luke Nobes is confident his side can bounce back from its major semi-final loss to Bathurst Panthers.
The two meet again in Sunday’s grand final, 14 days after the men in black stunning the two-time defending premiers with a 32-18 victory at Wade Park.
The win booked Panthers the first place in the 2016 grand final.
While for Nobes’ team, it forced the green and golds to go back to the drawing board – a nudge the team probably needed, if you ask its staff, after a series of uncharacteristic mistakes pushed the outfit into elimination territory.
“I think that hurt our confidence a bit,” Nobes said reflecting on the Panthers loss.
"And (the errors) snowballed from there. We fixed that up last week and got back to where we have been all season.”
That quick-fix resulted in a comprehensive 26-16 preliminary final win over St Pat’s last weekend.
It was a welcome sight for all as Des Knight, Steve Lane and Matt Morris led the charge for the 2016 minor premiers in their first real do-or-die contest of the season.
“We showed a lot of improvement last week, so if we can continue with that, that’d be good,” Nobes added.
“There’s a couple of niggles at the moment, we’ll have to monitor them, but we should be able to handle it.”
CYMS are gunning for their third straight first division crown having broken a drought spanning 17 years in 2014.
However, their opposition is lucky to be in Sunday’s decider at all.
The 2016 season started anything but well for Panthers, the Bathurst club going the opening month winless.
“After five rounds we were in dead last,” Panthers coach Mick Wicks said.
“But we not only stuck together as a team but as a club as well. Everyone got behind us.”
Since then Panthers embarked on a nine-game winning run finish the year in third.
They’re undefeated in the post season too – including a highly entertaining 22-19 qualifying semi-final win over cross-city rivals St Pat’s – meaning they will be aiming for a 12th straight victory to complete a wonderful comeback tale.
Kick-off is at 12.30pm.