Once upon a time, Orange CYMS and Lithgow Workies clashes were some of the fiercest in Group 10.
Playing in back-to-back grand finals in 2011 and 2012 and then again in 2015, it’s easy to see why there’s little love lost between the two clubs.
Throw the Van Veen boys, the likes of Mick Sullivan against Corey Willmott and a mastercoach like Graeme Osborne in the mix and it’s genuinely one of the best rivalries Group 10 has seen in the last 20 years.
And while CYMS sits fifth in 2018, and Workies out of the running for a place in the finals down in eighth position, green and golds’ backrower Robbie Mortimer is expecting Saturday’s trip to Lithgow to be one of the defending premiers’ toughest of the 2018 season.
The only game CYMS dropped throughout last year’s regular season was at Tony Luchetti Sportsground – Lithgow winning 32-22 on the back of some Jono Van Veen magic late in the season to spoil a potentially undefeated home-and-away campaign for the eventual champions – and the defending premiers are both keen to rectify that blemish and ensure their 2018 season remains alive with a crucial two competition points when they head east on Saturday.
“We’re always very wary of Lithgow no matter where we play them ... it’s been a great battle for the past decade,” Mortimer said.
“Mick has emphasised the importance of the first 15 minutes for us this weekend. Slow starts have been the theme of our season so I know if we start well, we will be able to play some expansive footy and get back to our best footy which we haven’t been able to do this season.”
CYMS dropped last week’s clash with Oberon and, the week before, also lost to Cowra – it’s the first time since the 2014 season the green and golds have lost consecutive games.
Battling an injury toll that’s removed Tom Satterthwaite, Kyle Frazer, Lachie Munro and Chris Grevsmuhl from their line-up, although the latter could be back next week, CYMS will travel to Lithgow under-strength but determined to hit back.
“No one is panicking at CYMS. We know our job for the remainder of the season,” Mortimer said.
And the final Willmott-Sullivan encounter?
“And, yes, I know Sully is looking forward to his last battle with Corey. I’m sure it will be one to remember,” Mortimer laughed.
League tag starts at 10.30am on Saturday, with premier league scheduled to kick-off at 2pm.