THIS time last year, Orange City were last having lost their first three games of the 2011 Blowes Clothing Cup season.
What a difference 12 months makes.
The Lions have been sensational to open their 2012 campaign, conceding just 11 points across the opening three rounds of the season on their way to three successive wins against defending champions Parkes, Dubbo Roos and Forbes.
It’s the perfect start to the year.
The challenge now for Orange City co-coaches Steve Hamson and Mick Gray is how do you keep a young side focused at the bigger picture fresh off an emphatic 38-3 bonus-point win over the Platypi just last round?
“The desire is there. The passion is there, but they’ve always been good with the old cliche of not getting too far ahead of themselves,” Hamson said.
“We’ll go to Cowra next week, they’re always hard at home, but we’ve had probably enough disappointment over the last couple of years to know no silverware is being handed out for a while yet.”
The disappointment Hamson refers to is consecutive final defeats over the last two seasons.
In 2010 Orange City lost in the penultimate match of the season to eventual premiers Bathurst Bulldogs. And just last year the Lions suffered the same fate, going down to the Boars in Parkes one game shy of the grand final.
Both losses hurt, especially for the likes of senior players Josh Tremain, Nathan Short and captain Josh Maley.
But it also drives them.
Orange City take on the Eagles in Cowra on Saturday before hosting the surprise packets of the 2012 Blowes Clothing Cup, the Dubbo Rhinos, the following week.
“And they’re going to be a force by the sound of things,” Hamson said of the Rhinos.
He said the competition was too even to become complacent.
“It’s hard, until you get through the first round and you compare them to yourselves, you don’t want to start reading too much into other results,” he said.
“It’ll be interesting to see them when we play them ourselves.”