ORANGE City co-coach Steve Hamson isn’t going as far as tipping an upset in tomorrow’s Blowes Clothing Cup qualifying semi-final between Orange Emus and Bathurst Bulldogs, but he does think the result will surprise a few people.
“I think it could be a lot closer than people think,” Hamson said.
“Every club wants to have a crack at hosting the grand final, and Bathurst will be no different.
“It won’t surprise me to see them turn up and make a real game out of it.”
Orange City and Orange Emus have been the two best sides this year, with the gigantic gulf between the top brace and the third-placed Bulldogs never more evident than in the 61-7 thrashing the Lions dished up to the Bathurst club during the 2015 season’s penultimate round.
While such dominance means Emus will head into tomorrow’s clash with the Dogs as firm favourites, it’s also gifted City the week off.
The minor premiers need it too.
VIDEO: Michelle Cook and Matt Findlay preview this weekend's games:
Nursing back Josh Maley and Mitch Pearce - both are expected to come off the bench in second grade tomorrow - the Lions are also enjoying giving co-captain Cameron Cole a break as he recovers from ligament damage in his foot.
Cole is expected to be fit to play in next weekend’s major semi-final.
While, if he doesn’t this weekend, dynamic inside centre Mesui Lemoto is a chance of returning from a broken hand during the finals series as well.
“I guess there’s pros and cons to (the week off),” Hamson said.
“Some teams prefer to keep playing and maintain that roll on.
“For us it’s a chance to rest a few guys, and there’s the added benefit of second grade being strengthened as well.
“We’ll have a training run on Saturday, go and have lunch together as a team at the Royal after that and then head over and watch the Chooks and the Dogs.”