THEY won just one match last season but the Orange Barbarians have the belief they can push for a place in the Centennial Coal Cup top four this year.
The Barbarians took out the consolation final at the CCC knockout last weekend in Bathurst, demolishing the Portland Colts in a 40-0 point-a-minute rampage to secure the consolation crown and an all-important glimpse at their competition for the year ahead.
It was easily the Barbarians’ best performance on the field since switching from rugby union to rugby league in 2011.
After a disappointing campaign last season which netted just the one victory, new captain-coach Joel Begnell originally thought season 2012 would be solely about building for the future.
After Saturday, his belief has changed.
“At the beginning of the season I was of the opinion it’d be a good year if we can get the club to be competitive but gauging on what we saw on the weekend, there’s no reason we can’t play finals football,” Begnell said.
Out of the three games the Barbarians played at Bathurst’s Carrington Park, they won two and went down in golden point in the other.
The Orange club took on CSU Yellow in their first game and, at the end of full-time, the two were locked at 10-all.
CSU went on to win 14-10, relegating Barbarians to the repechage side of the knockout.
In their semi-final against Wallerawang, Barbarians won 12-8.
Securing a berth in the final, the Orange side went on to win easily.
Begnell said after getting a good look at the opposition for the rest of the winter, he was confident of having a good year.
“As opposed to the last few years where Lithgow dominated, it looks like it’s pretty even between about five sides this season,” he said.
“If we can be consistent, string some wins together then anything can happen in the finals.”
Begnell nominated Steve and Trent Morgan as his side’s best along with Kurt Edwards.
“As the day went on we improved heaps,” Begnell enthused.
“There are a few new blokes at the club so we took some time to gel but the signs are positive.”
Troy Sweeting, Michael Newman, Kurt Edwards and Lachlan Reid all made the CCC representative side, which will play in Manildra this weekend.