IN a stop-start beginning to the 2012 Western Premier League, no game has the held as much significance as Orange Waratahs’ clash with two-time defending premiers Dubbo FC at Waratahs Sportsground tomorrow.
As has been the case for the best part of the last five seasons, not much is separating Waratahs and the Bulls.
Both are undefeated over the opening four rounds.
Waratahs hold the best defensive record in the league. Dubbo the second best.
At the other end of the field, the Bulls have scored the most goals this year while Waratahs have proven to be the second most effective side in front of goal throughout 2012.
It all points towards a close encounter tomorrow afternoon.
So just what will tip the ledger either way?
And what will tip it Waratahs’ way?
“I think the ground here, it’s a lot wider,” Orange keeper Adam Brakenridge said of Waratahs Sportsground.
“It’s actually got grass on it, where as at Dubbo it’s pretty much dirt and rocks.
“I think our passing game, too, especially with Timmy Davo in there we should be able to knock it around the park and play around them.”
Home ground advantage aside, there’s a lot about Dubbo FC over the past two years that resembles Waratahs teams from the past.
It’s a premiership-winning characteristic.
“I just think they’ve built their combinations amongst each other,” Brakenridge said.
“They’ve kept the main core of the side together for a few years now. They just know each others’ game inside out, like we used to a few years back.”
But new blood in 2012 has meant Waratahs are a work in progress to start this season.
Brakenridge said Waratahs’ best was still a few games away, with the new blood still taking time to find their feet in the senior squad.
But he believes the rivalry between Waratahs and Dubbo will bring out the best in everyone.
“With them and Westside, all three of us have got a bit of a rivalry,” he said.
“We’re fairly competitive against each other. We’re mates with them off the field, they’re a good club. It’s a friendly rivalry I guess you could say.
“For us, we’re a new side, I think there’s six new blokes in there this year. It’s just about building combinations and getting used to each others’ game.”
Waratahs host Dubbo FC from 3pm.
ORANGE WARATAHS: Scott Brakenridge, Tim Davidson, Tim Curran, Higo Tag, Alex Torres, Brock Jaeger, Ryan Sinclair, Adam Kelly, Justin Splithof, Josh Sommerson, Adam Brakenridge.