Every centre in the Blowes Clothing Cup was relieved when it was announced the former NSW Country Cockatoo wouldn’t be playing in the Central West in 2015, after leading his side to premiership glory last year.
So, understandably, every centre was equally as exasperated when Pauta was named for Dubbo two weeks ago, scoring a try in his comeback game against Mudgee.
Actually, exasperated is probably an understatement. Petrified is closer to the mark.
Not Orange City outside centre Jake Davis though, who was remarkably casual about lining up against Pauta in the Lions’ clash with Dubbo at Pride Park tomorrow.
“He’s an incredible footballer, but we’ll view him the same as anyone else,” Davis said.
“If you start focusing too much on one player, you run the risk of not giving the rest of them due respect.
“It was tough last year playing against Filisione. He’s played NSW Country, but I’m looking at it as more of a challenge than anything.
“If we get off the line quickly, take his space and look to chop him early I think we’ll be okay.”
VIDEO: Michelle Cook and Matt Findlay preview Saturday's Blowes Clothing Cup games:
Davis, a Central West Blue Bulls representative this season, has been one of the Lions’ best so far in 2015, already getting the better of some of the best centres in the competition.
Mudgee’s Rota Setu, Bathurst Bulldogs’ Tom Joseph and Forbes’ Jack Hammond have all felt the brunt of Davis’ outlandish strength and twinkle toes - in fact, it’s not just the football field Davis dances on, he’ll be pirouetting and sashaying his way into people’s hearts as part of the Stars of Orange Dance for Cancer.
“My calves are seriously hurting from those dance practices too, but it’s pretty fun,” Davis giggled.
“I’m playing with more confidence this year and I think it shows.”
With six victories on the bounce, Davis believes his side has earned the right to confidence no matter who it plays, and won’t change a thing leading into tomorrow’s clash.
“We need to start well against Dubbo, and just keep doing what we’re doing well,” he said.
“We’re defending well, we’re fit and our backs are strong at the moment. I think Dubbo will be fitter than a couple of other teams we’ve played recently, but if we take our usual mindset in I’m pretty confident we’ll be okay.”
Orange City’s task is made slightly easier by Dubbo’s omission of former Lion, and Orange City legend, Josh Tremain, who failed to recover from a shoulder injury in time and NSW Country prop Benn Wright, who is on Cockatoos duty.
The competition leading Lions take on the fifth-placed Kangaroos from 3.15pm at Pride Park.
ORANGE CITY LIONS: 1 Darcy Garlick, 2 Chris Senior, 3 Logan Brockmann, 4 Scott Smith, 5 Chris Barrett, 6 Josh Maley, 7 Duncan Young, 8 Tatafu Na’aniumotu, 9 Tom Nell, 10 Cameron Cole, 11 Sam Coote, 12 Mesui Lemoto, 13 Jake Davis, 14 Sione Amone, 15 Joe Lasagavibau