Lions come back from the dead in draw, move into share for fifth

HALF A CHANCE: Lions halfback
and skipper Tom Nell looks for 
a runner. Photo: JUDE KEOGH
HALF A CHANCE: Lions halfback and skipper Tom Nell looks for a runner. Photo: JUDE KEOGH

Orange City turns into the second half of the 2017 Blowes Clothing Cup season in a share for fifth, with Parkes, moving up from outright sixth in the rarest of circumstances.

The Lions were sixth and trailing the Boars by two points leading into Saturday’s round nine fixture, but Parkes forfeited colts to the Lions before the two sides played out a thrilling, frantic 17-17 draw in the top grade.

That forfeit, like the others so far in 2017, means the Boars top grade side is penalised two competition points.

Combined with the draw, the two sides are now locked in a share for fifth with four wins, four losses, a draw and 22 competition points apiece.

“We did know we were technically equal with them going into first grade, so we were pretty hungry for a win,” Orange City skipper and halfback Tom Nell said.

“It’s a tough one, a bit different. We are pleased with the result because Parkes led virtually from start to finish so we had to fight our way back into the game. In that respect we’re pleased to get the draw, it’s better than a loss that’s for sure.

“But even so, we definitely still wanted to win so it’s still a bit disappointing but Parkes are a good side, they’ve got a big forward pack and the two teams were pretty evenly matched.

“I’m sure it would’ve been a good game to watch.”

Parkes led virtually from start to finish so we had to fight our way back into the game. In that respect we’re pleased to get the draw.

Lions skipper Tom Nell

Parkes shot out of the blocks, five-eighth Lloyd Rogers scoring a quick-fire double to give the Boars a 12-0 lead.

Joe Alexander dived over for the Lions just before half-time though, cutting the deficit to seven at the break.

Parkes extended that lead to 17-5 with another try early in the second period.

“We did kick into gear after that one a little bit, the boys certainly had plenty of determination and drive to come back,” Nell said.

“We scored a couple of really late tries, the first one went unconverted and Keegan Harding had to slot the last one to level it up.”

He did that, sparking a frantic final three minutes, where both sides threw caution to the wind in their bid to seal a win.

Orange City worked its way into a position to do so too, sliding into Parkes’ 22 and then turning to pick-and-drives.

When a penalty advantage for offside went in the Lions’ favour, straight in front of the posts, that looked like the end for Parkes. But, as quick as it came the advantage was deemed over.

The Lions promptly knocked the ball on, leaving the clash deadlocked.

The game was also Orange City stalwart Chris Barrett’s 300th for the club, something Nell said all the Lions were proud to be a part of.

“He’s a big part of our club, a great role model to our younger players, so it was a special moment for him and for the rest of us,” Nell said.

“He hasn’t played much first grade, but ran on yesterday. It’s an incredible achievement.”