SINCE joining Orange Emus at the start of 2012, injury has ensured Nigel Staniforth has missed his fair share of games and, again last week, the versatile back was absent for the club’s trip to Narromine.
But last week more than most, Staniforth had a pretty handy excuse.
Staniforth’s wife, Gabrielle, gave birth to the couple’s first child on Sunday morning, a baby girl named Mila.
“I wanted to go play Narromine against Lachy McCutcheon. He’s the captain out there and a good friend of mine but the little baby was on its way so it couldn’t be done,” Staniforth said.
“It’s given me another week of training though, which was good.”
Staniforth has had a disruptive start to 2013.
Coming back from a fractured knee, then injuring his medial ligament in his comeback match in 2012 meant limited time on the field last season, and looking to make an impact in 2013, Staniforth pulled a calf muscle in pre-season at Endeavour Oval.
He missed the round one game against Orange City, then made a pre-mature comeback to fill a gap on the wing against Cowra in round two.
The club lost both games.
A bye in round three gave Emus plenty of time to stew on what might have been before heading to Cale Oval, arguably the toughest trip of the year, in round four, a game Staniforth eyed off for obvious reasons.
But little Mila had other plans, putting somewhat of a halt on Emus’ quest for that first win of the year.
Staniforth, however, said morale remained high at the club as the greens prepare to host another tough opponent in the form of Forbes tomorrow afternoon.
“The boys are still keeping very positive,” he said.
“I think we’ve got a young team. We’re quite inconsistent and that’s even during the week, week-to-week and throughout the 80 minutes.
“We’re not that far off.”
Forbes are also winless to start the season, however, chalked up a confidence-boosting draw against rivals Parkes in round two.
For Emus to compete, Staniforth believes intensity will be key.
“If we can get our intensity right then we get everything else right, and it’s just being able to do that week in week out,” he said, with the tall back set to join Simon Badgery in the centres for the Platypi clash.
“That intensity brings attitude and defence, then everything comes a little bit easier.
“It’s a long season. We’ll definitely get better and we’ve said that. Our side is a young side, we’re doing things a lot different on and off the field and I think by the end of the season it should be showing a bit more.”
Emus host the Platypi from 3.15pm tomorrow.
Orange City has the bye.
ORANGE EMUS: 1 Jim Roberts, 2 Brandon Akerstrom, 3 Nathan Ahern, 4 Ben Parkes (c), 5 Scott McLean, 6 Peter Bell, 7 Tom Raines, 8 Tony Elliot, 9 TJ Cunynghame, 10 Adam Perry, 11 Tim Alison, 12 Nigel Staniforth, 13 Simon Badgery, 14 Tom Green, 15 Carter Hirini.