ORANGE Emus made a blistering start to the Blowes Clothing Cup with a 25-6 win over Bathurst Bulldogs on Saturday.
Playing under lights at Endeavour Oval, Emus piled on 20 unanswered points in the first 14 minutes to establish a handy lead.
The Bulldogs weren’t able to score a five-pointer but Ray Lange managed to kick two penalty goals.
However, Emus had done enough early on and their resolute defence allowed them to take a season-opening victory.
Coach Paul Ringland was happy to claim the bonus point win.
“It was a really good start. It just opened up for us early and we took advantage of that,” Ringland said.
“It’s important to take those chances against good teams and we did that. It really set the game up for us and allowed us to not have to chase the game.”
Lange missed a penalty goal attempt just over a minute into the game but Nigel Staniforth nailed his three minutes later to give Emus a 3-0 lead.
Winger Derek Thompson was the first to score a try for Emus when Graydon Staniforth put him over in the corner.
Minutes later Emus were kicking for position and Bathurst fumbled the ball allowing winger Toby Wright to toe the ball ahead, win the footrace and score.
Nigel Staniforth’s conversion meant Emus were up 13-0 after 10 minutes.
Graydon Staniforth scored his own try three minutes later and his brother’s conversion pushed Emus out to 20-0.
From here the two teams slogged it out before Lange was able to give Bathurst their first points with a penalty goal.
The Bulldogs were more dominant in the second half but weren’t able to turn their possession into points.
The Emus defence, as well as some Bathurst mistakes, prevented the Bulldogs from crossing the tryline.
Lange’s second penalty goal helped but when Wright scored his second try for Emus thanks to a fantastic Graydon Staniforth offload, the home side was safe.
Bulldogs stand-in coach Shane Cantrill said mistakes cost his side but he wasn’t disappointed.
“I was really happy with the way the guys showed character, especially in the second dig. There was basically four mistakes which handed them a few tries,” Cantrill said.
“We’ve got a bit more structure to work on but apart from that it was good.”
Cantrill commended flanker Mark Donnelly as well as the front row of Andrew Donaldson, Alex Weal and Eugene Niewoldt who used their experience to guide a young forward pack.
Ringland was pleased with the team effort from his side but also singled out prop Jimmy Roberts, second-rower Scott McLean and outside centre Isaac White.
The coach couldn’t overlook the role the Staniforth brothers played in the win.
“They’re good and they showed their class early and were able to control the game when we needed it,” Ringland said.
ORANGE EMUS 25 (Toby Wright 2, Derek Thompson, Graydon Staniforth tries; Nigel Staniforth conv, pen goal) def BATHURST BULLDOGS 6 (Ray Lange 2 pen goals).