THIS week’s been somewhat strange for Blowes Clothing Cup leaders Orange Emus, mainly because it’s been such a long time since the greens prepared for a game after a loss.
A tick over 10 months in fact.
The last time Emus were in this position was leading into the 2015 qualifying final against Bathurst Bulldogs at Endeavour Oval, after losing to Orange City in round 18 on August 22 that year.
The greens ended up winning that game 39-24 and assistant coach Andrew Logan is hoping history repeats itself against the same opposition, at the same ground, on Saturday.
“We’re always up for a challenge whether we’re coming off a win or a loss,” Logan said.
“It’s very tough to play at your best for 20 rounds straight, every side has those anomalies in a season. I’m almost glad it happened that way.
“I think the physical challenges, like the one Bulldogs present, are games we relish.”
The reigning premiers will be boosted significantly by the fact hooker Tom Goolagong escaped suspension after being sent off last weekend.
“Justice was served, if you can say that,” Logan laughed.
“I think it was just a misunderstanding, he got the punishment on the field and had a good, fair hearing. We’re pleased he’s available though.
“He’s critical to our set-piece and is good defensively, which are crucial aspects against Bulldogs.”
Emus will welcome back skipper Nigel Staniforth and flanker Mitch Lockley, while Matt Clark replaces the unavailable Sam Green at halfback.
“It’s tremendous to have someone like Clarky coming in, he’s calm, very relaxed and just knows what’s going on,” Logan said.
Bulldogs on the other hand will field an unchanged line-up from last weekend’s 33-point shellacking of Cowra.
“Bulldogs are big, hard on the carry and strong defensively,” Logan said.
“For us, we need to win the battle at the scrum, win the battle at the breakdown and win the battle at the defensive line. Any side who does that goes a long way to winning the game against Bulldogs.
“It’s also good to have Nigel and Simon Badgery in the centres, that’ll help us defensively because Bulldogs have plenty of speed.”
Emus take on the fifth-placed Bulldogs at Endeavour Oval, from 3.15pm.