Emus staying in the moment ahead of crucial clash with surging, dangerous Eagles

STAY IN THE MOMENT: Nick Hughes-Clapp says his Emus side isn't looking any further ahead than Cowra, despite being able to potentially clinch the minor premiership this weekend. Photo: DON MOOR
STAY IN THE MOMENT: Nick Hughes-Clapp says his Emus side isn't looking any further ahead than Cowra, despite being able to potentially clinch the minor premiership this weekend. Photo: DON MOOR

Saturday will already be a huge day at Endeavour Oval with BrothersIVBrothers hosting an epic charity event in conjunction with Orange Emus’ Blowes Clothing Cup clash against Cowra, but there’s a chance it could get a whole bigger if things fall the greens’ way.

Winning the minor premiership and locking up a home semi-final tends to have that kind of effect.

While they are relying on Forbes to knock off Bathurst Bulldogs as well, there’s potential for the greens to claim the first piece of silverware in 2018 with a big win over the resurgent Cowra Eagles.

Thanks to last weekend’s get-out-of-jail, one-point win over Bulldogs, Emus are now seven points clear on top of the table and staring down the barrel of a third consecutive minor title.

A bonus point win and the Bathurst side losing with no bonus points of its own would gift the greens that, by pushing the side to an unassailable lead with two weeks remaining in the regular season.

Easier said than done though, in Emus vice-captain Nick Hughes-Clapp’s opinion.

“Cowra are third now, they beat us last time around and are really making a run of it lately, they’re as tough a team as we’ll face,” he said.

“It’d be silly for us to look as far ahead as a minor premiership or a home semi-final when we have plenty to improve on, we need to get past a side that’s already beaten us first, and we’d be relying on other results this weekend too.

“There’s no doubt we want that home semi-final but you take if, or when, it comes. I very much doubt anyone in our side has even given it a thought yet.”

In their 18-17 victory over Emus back in round eight, the Eagles’ superior work at the breakdown was the catalyst and that’s something Hughes-Clapp says his side has worked hard to right.

Although, the greens have to make sure they don’t fall asleep the way they did against Bathurst Bulldogs last weekend.

After shooting to a 26-3 just after half-time, the greens conceded 22 unanswered points in the second half, Bulldogs even had a kick to win the game on full-time.

“There’s things to work on from that, definitely, but we take a lot of confidence from what we did against a really good side for a lot of the game, and we did still get the points after all,” Hughes-Clapp said.

In terms of changes from the Bulldogs game, Matt Findlay comes back into the front row at hooker while Tom Goolagong is away, Kyran Bubb returns to the five-eighth role and Tom Green takes his customary place on the wing again.

Kick-off at Endeavour Oval is at 3.15pm, before the Emus Legends and Knox Old Boys Legends clash from about 5pm.

  • ORANGE EMUS: 1 Michael Graham, 2 Matt Findlay, 3 Nas Havealeta, 4 Sam McLean, 5 Nick Hughes-Clapp, 6 Jack Marchinton, 7 Jayden Norris, 8 Scott McLean, 9 TJ Cunynghame, 10 Kyran Bubb, 11 Tom Green, 12 Lachie Harris, 13 Levi Russell, 14 Harry Cummins, 15 Nigel Staniforth © 

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