FOR Orange Barbarians prop Paul Rudd, Saturday’s clash with Kandos at Wade Park is Christmas come four months early.
Well, sort of.
The Barbarians founder is thrilled his men’s New Era Cup side and the club’s league tag outfit have both qualified for their maiden finals appearances, with the competition’s post season beginning on August 13.
The club hosts Kandos from 1pm on Saturday at Wade Park, and Rudd was hoping a few extra Barbarians fans don some red and come out of the woodwor - like they usually do for Group 10 powerhouse Orange CYMS.
“I hope we get a few bandwagoners,” Rudd laughed.
“Over the years it surprises me how many people suddenly turn green at this time of year. Hopefully a few people start turning red for us as well.
“It’ll be like Christmas, green and red.”
Rudd isn’t getting too far ahead of himself though.
The Barbarians will have a tough final round assignment against both Kandos grades, with the Waratahs’ league tag side in impressive form.
They accounted for the previously unbeaten-at-home Warriors league tag side at Wallerawang 16-10 in round 13.
“The Kandos girls, I don’t think they’ve dropped a game for a while now and they beat Wang at home … the winner finishes third too, and gets that second shot, that’s really important,” Rudd said.
The Barbarians boys beat Kandos 36-24 in their first round encounter, Rudd was expecting a big performance from the red, white and blues in their final home game.
“We want to play ourselves into form and try and get back to our structures and play some good footy … it’s do or die after this week,” he said, the Barbarians men likely to finish fifth.
He added the recruitment of Ben Gosper as coach has been instrumental in getting the side into the New Era Cup top five for the first time.
“We’ve been targeting Benny Gosper for a few years as a coach. I’ve known him myself since I was a kid and he’s just got that temperament where he leads by his actions, and that’s what we need in a small club like ours. People follow him,” Rudd said.
Gates open at Wade Park from 12pm on Saturday, with the league tag girls starting at 1pm and the Cup boys kicking off at 2.30pm.