Mick Sullivan and Orange CYMS’ recent Group 10 premier league dynasty has been built on a few things, naturally one of those factors has always been making sure the side peaks at the right time.
Looks like they’re going to do it again in 2018 too.
The green and golds have won four games on the trot heading in Sunday’s final round clash with Bathurst St Pat’s, they’ve been scintillating with the ball and miserly without it in wins over Lithgow Workies (38-6), Bathurst Panthers (16-10), Orange Hawks (38-10) and Blayney (64-4).
That month-long stretch came after sporadic performances across the first two thirds of the season, in which they occupied all of the competition’s top five spots at one stage or another.
In fact the week prior to that win over Workies the green and golds were fifth and genuinely in danger of dropping out of the finals frame without a return to form.
Incredibly, in a show of how close the competition really is, Sullivan and his troops could now end up with the minor premiership if all falls in their favour this weekend.
All it would take is a big win over St Pat’s combined with Cowra and Hawks suffering defeats to Lithgow and Mudgee, respectively.
“I’m just looking to win it and guarantee ourselves two cracks which I’ve said all year is what we need,” Sullivan said.
“Hawks and Mudgee do play on Saturday so we will know where we’re at to an extent and what we need to do, and jumping up to second and getting the home semi-final would be big for the club, but I think a little bit too much has to go our way to win the minor.
“We had that freak ending in Bathurst when we played St Pat’s last time, that one got away, and looking back we’d probably be playing for that minor if we’d won that game, but we can’t really worry about that now I guess.”
There’s an inherent danger in St Pat’s coming to Wade Park too with nothing on the line too, Sullivan and CYMS know that all too well after last season’s penultimate round.
“Lithgow were outside the five, we went down there and they knocked us off,” Sullivan lamented, it was the only game the green and golds lost in 2017 too.
“So we have to make sure we don’t drop this one. Teams can play some pretty good footy when they’re just playing for a drink, throwing it around a bit. I think Hawks and Cowra will be aware of that too, I actually wouldn’t be surprised if there is an upset this weekend.
“I think if we stick to our systems and keep playing the footy we have been we should do our job, especially defensively. In the last four weeks we’ve kept sides below 10 points, we do that again and we should be fine.”
CYMS go into the clash largely unchanged from last weekend’s hammering of Blayney, but are boosted by Luke Petrie’s return.
He slots back into five-eighth with Dom Maley returning to centre, and Jerome Harrison dropping back to the bench.
Obviously there’s plenty on the line anyway, but Sunday is also the club’s Ladies’ Day and Old Boys’ Day as well and will act as a charity day and a farewell for Sullivan too, in his final regular-season game at Wade Park.
CYMS will be raising money to donate to Buy A Bale to aid NSW’s farmers but will also donate funds to two of the club’s near and dear families suffering through a battle with cancer.
They’ll do so through raffles, and one-off jerseys they’re wearing.
Sullivan’s designed the jerseys himself, which will be yellow with a green V and have the club’s 12 premierships stamped on the chest – for reference, they came in 1952, 53, 54, 58, 59, 87, 88 and 2010, 11, 13, 15 and 17.
“It should be a really good day, there’s the farewell aspect but it’ll be great paying tribute to those premiership sides, especially with the 1988 premireship side on hand,” Sullivan said.
“Then of course there’s the people within the club we’re raising money for. They’re very private people and a big part of the club, but they’re dealing with some pretty full-on stuff so it’s a very worthy cause.”
League tag kicks the day off at 10.30am, while the club’s Old Boys’ game will kick-off at 12.45pm before first division.
Premier league kicks off after that at 2.30pm.
- ORANGE CYMS: 1 Lachie Munro, 2 Travis Adelerhof, 3 Joe Lasagavibau, 4 Dom Maley, 5 Semisi Tupou, 6 Luke Petrie, 7 Mick Sullivan, 8 Joe Duffy, 9 Ryan Griffin, 10 Cam Jones, 11 Matt Penny, 12 Adam Stanford, 13 Chris Grevsmuhl; Bench: 14 Brock McGarity, 15 Kyle Fraser, 16 Jerome Harrison, 17 Robbie Mortimer