ORANGE City will tomorrow make the trip to Forbes’ Grinsted Oval to tackle the enigmatic Platypi minus the Lions’ best player, Mesui Lemoto.
It’s a Blowes Clothing Cup assignment fraught with danger, but one Orange City co-coach Mick Gray isn’t daunted by, despite missing the most crucial piece in the Lions’ assault on this year’s premiership race.
“It’s all a big jig-saw puzzle,” Gray said.
“If you pull a piece out the puzzle is still readable. You pull a couple more out and things start to fall apart.”
Sounds like something out of a fortune cookie, doesn’t it?
“The team is bigger than one player,” Gray reiterates, using layman’s terms.
“And despite Maxi being a smart player, Jakey (Davis) went well at inside against Dubbo, a quality side. We were still able to keep doing what we’re good at.”
As Gray hinted at, Davis was stellar in his transition from outside centre to second receiver in the Lions’ impressive 27-17 victory over last year’s premiers, the surging Dubbo Roos last week at Pride Park.
With Sam Coote filling in well at 13, and Cameron Cole continuing to fire at 10, the Lions still boast a backline brimming with points.
And that’s without mentioning Joe Lasagavibau.
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“Every year your side changes, and this year our backline is obviously strong. And us spreading the ball is just us playing to that strength,” Gray said.
“It’s worked so far, but teams may work us out. We’ll just have to wait and see.”
There’s multiple changes for the Lions ahead of the Forbes trip, with Darcy Garlick returning in place of Keith Lawson, while Ben Wilson will make his run-on debut in first grade at hooker.
Regular rake Chris Senior dislocated his hip against Roos, although the damage is minimal.
Winger Mo Amone is also out, with Taylor Smith taking his place on the end of the Lions’ backline.
Gray said Orange City must aim up against Forbes.
“These games are always the same. The smaller town teams love knocking us off,” he said.
Kick-off is at 3.15pm.
ORANGE CITY: 1 Darcy Garlick, 2 Ben Wilson, 3 Logan Brockman, 4 Scott Smith, 5 Chris Barrett, 6 Josh Maley, 7 Duncan Young, 8 Tatafu Na’aniumotu, 9 Tom Nell, 10 Cameron Cole, 11 Tom Fisher, 12 Jake Davis, 13 Sam Coote, 14 Taylor Smith, 15 Joe Lasagavibau.