Sitting sixth and still determined to earn a spot in the Group 10 top five, the equation for Orange Hawks over the course of the second round is a fairly simple one.
Beat those sides sitting higher on the ladder.
One of those teams, the third-placed Oberon Tigers travels to Wade Park on Sunday and two blues custodian Jedd Kennedy believes, for his side, it’s now or never.
“We’re keen, we know there’s a few teams above us and we know we have the skills and ability to match it with them, we’ve just got to put it together and get some consistency,” he said.
“We just seem to lapse in and out. We just need a bit of self belief that we can beat these teams … I think we can.”
As Kennedy alludes to, Hawks’ issue this season has been consistency, or a lack there of.
There’s no doubting the two blues’ ability with the ball – Hawks’ tally of 292 points scored is the third best in Group 10. Or, for comparison, 95 points better off than Sunday’s opponents Oberon.
But when Hawks lapse, it’s verging on catastrophic. The 307 points Heta’s side has conceded is only better than the last-placed Blayney Bears.
Despite missing a stack of talent last weekend in a 38-28 loss to Panthers, Hawks produced arguably the side’s best performance against a serious contender.
And it’s that effort Hawks will be drawing on in a bid to knock off Oberon and begin a climb up the ladder.
Hawks, currently on 10 points, is in hot pursuit of Cowra (fifth, 10), Mudgee (fourth, 10) and Oberon (third, 12) in the race for the top five.
“If we have that kind of effort every week we’ll go a long way,” Kennedy said of his side’s last start.
He quickly adds the two blues are a much different prospect to the Hawks side that lost 48-18 at Oberon back in round one.
“I think we’ll give them a bit of a shock,” Kennedy added.
Kennedy returns at fullback for Hawks, allowing Heta to move back to his preferred position of five-eighth for the big clash at Wade Park.
Most of Hawks’ best attack is on the back of some Heta magic in the halves.
“It’s unreal,” Kennedy said referring to his captain’s play.
“You don’t think you’re going to get the ball and it seems to find you. It’s unreal.”
Kick-off between Hawks and Oberon is at 2pm at Wade Park.