After what was a “frustrating” eight weeks on the sideline with a torn groin, Orange CYMS five-eighth Dom Maley returned to form pretty quickly last Sunday.
The running half was instrumental in the green and golds 100-6 demolition of Group 10 finals hopefuls Cowra at Wade Park.
And while Maley and the green and golds are expecting a far tougher time of it against Hawks in the second derby of the 2017 season, the experienced five-eighth says the competition leaders are looking to build on last week’s win – a scary prospect for a team coming off a ton seven days earlier.
“They really lift in these games and that was the case last time we played as well,” Maley said, looking back at his side’s 40-30 derby win in round five.
Hawks captain-coach Willie Heta helped his side to a half-time lead over CYMS, very nearly lifting the two blues to the club’s first derby win round 10, 2014 in the process.
But it wasn’t meant to be.
“That’s the only time I’ve see him play, but he was brilliant that day and their right edge, with Sione (Tongia), it’s a pretty combination,” Maley said.
“If he’s playing out there in the centres again I dare say they’ll throw a bit of traffic down the right.
“But I’m pretty excited to get back into it … I injured my groin at training leading into the last derby, played the game but probably shouldn’t have. I was a bit of a passenger.
“I’m keen to get out there and play well.”
A win keeps CYMS’ hopes of a minor premiership alive, with Mick Sullivan’s side a win clear of the second-placed Panthers on the ladder going into round 14.
Maley, though, revealed CYMS view the minor premiership as a bonus, rather than a goal, in 2017.
“We won the minor premiership last season but no one talks about that, all you hear about is how we lost the grand final,” Maley said.
CYMS are without backrower Robbie Mortimer for the clash, with young prop Joe Duffy shifting to the backrow.
Duffy’s second start in premier league adds plenty of size to CYMS’ pack.
“It’ll be great for Joe, the young bull, he likes calling himself that,” Maley said.
“A lot of people say props don’t really mature until a bit later on but I’ve watched him come through under 18s and then reserve grade and he’s really come on in leaps and bounds.
“I’m sure he’ll enjoy the extra minutes on Sunday.”
Hawks too have changes to their line-up for Sunday’s game, with suspension the main reason.
Nathan Potts and Sandon Gibbs-O’Neill are both forced omissions after coping two game and one game suspensions after a tough loss to Mudgee.
Brett Morgan moves to lock with Max Wolfson starting in the backrow.
Bloomfield product Jake Blimka will start in the No.7 alongside Heta in the halves.
Premier league is scheduled to kick-off at 2.30pm on Sunday, with league tag (10.30am), under 18s (11.30am) and first division (12.45pm) in the lead-up.