For a third grade contest this Saturday’s Blowes Clothing Cup grand final between Orange Emus and Bathurst Bulldogs will be overflowing with quality.
Veteran stars, experienced men and young blood all come together for a decider that – based on this year’s results – could come down to the wire.
Bulldogs went down in the first match with Emus this season but picked up two and five point victories in the next meetings.
There’s been nothing between them.
This Saturday they’ll get to kick start a run of three straight Emus-Bulldogs contests at Endeavour Oval, and co-coach Ash Goninan believes that will make for a special day’s play.
“It brings that bit of extra atmosphere to the day. It’s fair to say Bulldogs and Emus have been two of the strongest clubs in the region and it’s good to see that’s filtered down through other grades,” he said.
“The season’s been pretty lean for us, and in the sense of getting continuity nailed down it’s been hard, but there’s never been much in the game between ourselves and Emus.
“We’ve been lucky enough to win two of our games against Emus but there’s only been a combined seven points between us.
“You know you’re going to get a close, hard game against them.”
Bulldogs go into the game as minor premiers.
The Bulldogs forward pack could be the decisive factor in the game, led by experienced number Michael Weekes.
With names like Chris Plunkett, Izaak Breen, Lachlan Bull and Dane Fitzpatrick coming off the bench there’s plenty of depth to the Bulldogs lineup.
Third grade begins the bumper day of rugby at Endeavour Oval from 9.30am.
- BATHURST BULLDOGS: 1 Dale Norris, 2 Tim Booby, 3 Jake Mitchell, 4 Matthew Smith, 5 Henry Francis, 6 Jock Suttor, 7 Sam Maher, 8 Michael Weekes, 9 Sam Markwick, 10 Jack Gunther, 11 Reece Issa, 12 Josh Lee, 13 Brenton Gibson, 14 Toby Faraway, 15 Tyson Smith; Bench: 16 Chris Plunkett, 17 Jared Sheppeard, 18 Izaak Breen, 19 Robert Austin, 20 Lachlan Bull, 21 Brendan Robinson, 22 Dane Fitzpatrick, 23 William Barnett, 24 Tim Fagan, 25 Stephen Beath, 26 Patrick Crawford, 27 Charlie Sharwood
- ORANGE EMUS: 1 Steve Fergus, 2 Mark Grivas, 3 Paul Ringland, 4 Stu Brisbane, 5 Brenton Anthony, 6 Chris Bailey, 7 Tom MacSmith, 8 Tom Fenualelei, 9 Matt Ripps, 10 Nik Granger, 11 Derek Thompson, 12 Ki Williams, 13 Alex Low, 14 James Millner, 15 Claude Dennis; Bench: 16 Dave Ash, 17 Brandon Akerstrom, 18 Mark Kingham, 19 Peter Brus, 20 Matt Pierce, 21 Liam Finnane, 22 James Dellow, 23 Cam Porter, 24 Brendan Stuart, 25 Louis Carr, 26 Anthony Shortis