NEXT Saturday Michael Sullivan will lead out defending premiers Orange CYMS on to Wade Park to face off against a new-look Orange Hawks outfit led by former French international James Wynne to open the 2012 Group 10 season.
It’s a big game in itself.
Every local derby is.
But next Saturday’s match will take on even greater significance for the game of rugby league in Orange.
The round one CYMS-Hawks derby will mark the rugby league’s centenary year in the city after a Dally Messenger-inspired Eastern Suburbs outfit took on Glebe at Wade Park on April 27, 1912.
Messenger’s opposing captain 100 years ago was Orange Sporting Hall of Fame member Chris McKivat.
“Every league fane has heard of Messenger but very few locals would know the story of Orange footballer Chris McKivat,” Orange City Council’s sports and recreation community committee chair Jason Hamling said.
“Chris played with the Wallabies, including winning an Olympics gold medal in 1908 with two other Orange players before switching to league.”
CYMS and Hawks will battle it out for a one-off trophy, the Orange Rugby League Centenary Cup.
Sullivan said his side needed no extra motivation to win a local derby against Hawks.
But if they did, this would be it.
“Obviously Buns (Glen Bunworth) and I haven’t been around that long but in my couple of years out here I’ve seen what it means to win the local derby so definitely our club will be looking to secure a win for the centenary,” Sullivan said.
Hawks club-captain Glen Bunworth said it would be an honour to play 100 years after rugby league royalty such as Dally Messenger took to Wade Park.
“It’s just a great honour to be playing in the game’s 100th year. Every derby is a good one and to win this would just top it off,” Bunworth said.
Will the occasion add something extra to the game?
“For sure,” Bunworth said.
“There’s a few older guys around and this will bring them back to the crowd, to come back and see the game in its 100th year.”
Sullivan added: “A few more people might come out to see the spectacle and the old boys might dust their gear off and come out and have a look.”
Hamling said next Saturday would be a proud day for Orange.
“It’s a major milestone for the Orange sporting community and I’m delighted the City Council has been able to boost this celebration by providing the new Orange Rugby League Centenary Cup,” Hamling said.
The round one local derby will kick-off at 5.40pm next Saturday at Wade Park.