WITH the result in Saturday’s Blowes Clothing Cup preliminary final likely to be decided in the dying stages, Orange Emus coach Andrew Logan said he couldn’t wish for a better skipper, or goal-kicker, than outside centre Nigel Staniforth.
Now in his third year at Emus, 2014 is the first time Staniforth has been able to string more than a handful of games together before being forced to the sidelines with injury - in fact, he has played every game this season.
“It’s been vital for us having Nige fit all year, and playing well,” Logan said.
“He’s just a very smart rugby player, and he does a fantastic job leading us around.”
And with Staniforth’s history, Logan explained, he is expected to.
VIDEO: Preview of Saturday's clash between Orange City and Orange Emus:
“He’s played professional rugby, he played a lot of first grade with Sydney University in the Shute Shield, he’s got plenty of experience,” the greens’ mentor said.
“Thirteen is a very complex position, and he plays it very well.”
Staniforth said a regained confidence in his body has increased his enjoyment, motivation and performance.
“I had a rough run (injury wise) for the first couple of seasons I was here,” he explained.
“Being fit has allowed me to get a few games together and gain some consistency.
“Seeing the guys develop from last seasons is a highlight of mine as skipper. We were never far off, and being able to put it all together has been very satisfying.
“Now we go up to Pride Park with nothing to lose, we’re confident, as long as we take the right attitude in.”
Staniforth found his range with the boot in recent games after Emus chopped and changed their goal-kicker often during the regular season.
“It’s a fair assumption to say it will be close, goal-kicking might play a big role” Logan laughed.
“Nige has never been known for kicking long, but now he’s knocking them over from anywhere inside 50.
“We’re very confident in our ability, and what we can do as a team.”
Kick-off is 3.15pm.
ORANGE EMUS: 1 Nas Havealeta, 2 Tom Goolagong, 3 Brent Braithwaite, 4 Nick Hughes-Clapp, 5 Sam McLean, 6 Andrew Cosgrove, 7 Alo Finau, 8 Rob Thorburn, 9 TJ Cunynghame, 10 Adam Perri, 11 Carter Hirini, 12 Simon Badgery, 13 Nigel Staniforth (c), 14 Tom Green, 15 Tim Alison.