CSU Bathurst is winless, languishing on the bottom of the Blowes Clothing Cup standings on negative five points thanks to a number of colts forfeits.
With Orange Emus flying high, undefeated on top having rarely looked troubled in the opening five rounds, punters would be forgiven for thinking Saturday’s clash with the students could be a walkover for the greens.
Emus skipper Nigel Staniforth doesn’t see it that way though, as per most weeks he’s urged his troops to avoid complacency against a side the two-time reigning champions have been troubled by in the past.
“CSU was a bit of a bogey team for us at one stage and every single team we play definitely poses a threat,” he said.
“They’re a bit of an unknown, we’ve heard a few things about a new approach they’ve adopted and it looks like that might be coming together after last weekend.
“They pushed Parkes and only got beaten by 11 points and the Boars look like they’ll be a top five side, so we won’t be taking CSU easy, we’ll be approaching them the same way we would any other side.
“We’ve got everyone except Tommy Goolagong on deck, he’s hurt his wrist so he’s having a rest, so we’ll keep doing what we’ve been doing and still look to improve again.”
Al Hattersley shifts from prop to hooker to fill Goolagong’s void, while Steve Fergus comes back in to prop up Emus’ scrum.
Staniforth did concede the conditions the two sides look likely to face could play into Emus’ hands though.
With rain, and plenty of it, forecast for Saturday the greens’ massive pack should come to the fore on Endeavour Oval, a traditionally boggish ground after rain.
“It is supposed to pretty wet and I guess that will give us a bit of an advantage with a bigger pack, against a side that normally likes to throw it around a bit,” Staniforth said.
“Those conditions tend to be pretty good levellers though, so if it is wet I’d think that might make it a lower scoring game than people might think.”
It’ll bring kicking, and Staniforth, right into the equation too.
Considering his usually pinpoint boot has been somewhat askew so far in 2017, he kicked three from eight last weekend in an ordinary showing, Emus’ skipper is hoping he can find his radar again this weekend.
“It’s been a pretty tough week at training after kicking less than 50 per cent last weekend, the boys have been getting stuck in a bit,” Staniforth laughed.
“I’m down to about 70 per cent for the season too, it’s killing me, normally I try to be well over 80 per cent.
“I’ll do a bit more kicking at training this week and hopefully I can improve a bit there, we might need it this weekend.”
Kick off at Endeavour Oval is at 3.15pm.
- ORANGE EMUS: 1 Steve Fergus, 2 Al Hattersley, 3 Michael Graham, 4 Nick Hughes-Clapp, 5 Sam McLean, 6 Scott McLean, 7 Andrew Selwood, 8 Rob Thorburn, 9 Sam Green, 10 AJ Sykes, 11 Levi Russell, 12 Lachie Harris, 13 Carter Hirini, 14 Tom Green, 15 Nigel Staniforth ©