SATURDAY night’s Orange Hawks and Orange CYMS local derby will be played with as much emotion and passion as any local derby, just don’t expect the kind of fireworks the two sides turned on at Endeavour Oval last season.
All eyes will be on Wade Park in two days’ time when the two blues face-off against the green and golds to open the 2012 Group 10 season in Orange.
It’s the first local derby since last season’s now infamous CYMS-Hawks derby brawl.
With 25 minutes remaining and CYMS up 26-24 at Endeavour Oval, leading Group 10 whistleblower Nathan Blanchard was forced to abandon the match after a melee, involving a number of players, spilled on to the sideline.
And the aftermath was just as ugly.
On his way off the field, Blanchard was assaulted by a spectator.
Hawks were punted from the Group 10 competition for the remainder of the 2011 season and CYMS were fined $5000, $3000 of it suspended.
It’d be understandable to think there is still some animosity between the two clubs ahead of one of the biggest matches of the year, a clash which marks 100 years of rugby league in Orange as well as the game’s return to Wade Park.
But both Hawks club-captain Glen Bunworth and CYMS captain-coach Mick Sullivan said there was no ill-feeling between the two proud clubs before Saturday night’s round one derby.
“There’s nothing we can do about it now,” Bunworth said.
“It’s all in the past and there’s no point stewing on it. We’re moving forward and that was last year.”
Sullivan said it’ll be a new, professional Hawks outfit his side will take on.
“From our club point of view, it was dead and buried quickly,” Sullivan said.
“Obviously Hawks probably were affected a little more than our club in the aftermath, no-one wants teams kicked out of the comp but unfortunately it happened.
“There’s always spice in a local derby but hopefully this year it sticks to being good footy.”
Sullivan said he wanted CYMS to come out firing and start the season well.
“It’s a good chance to see where we’re at,” Sullivan said.
“We’ve had a few more trials than Hawks so they’re a bit of an unknown. They’ve got some key signings added to the roster they already had so I think they’re a bit of a danger club in the comp this year.”
Bunworth believes Hawks can kick-start a strong 2012 with a win over CYMS.
“It’s the first game of the year. We’ve only had the one trial game so we’re going to be a bit rusty but we’re looking to build our whole season from this first game,” Bunworth said.
Under 18s kick off at 3pm with reserve grade beginning at 4.15 and premier league getting underway at 5.40pm.
At 5.20pm there will be a junior club relay featuring Bloomfield Tigers and Orange CYMS juniors.
At half time of the top grade members of the Orange Silver Hawks and Orange CYMS Old Boys will compete in a goal kicking competition using an old leather football.