After a disappointing, winless three-week stretch Orange Emus coach Pete Bromley has made a number of changes to his side for Saturday's sixth round of the Blowes Clothing Cup, in the hope the greens might rediscover their mojo against Forbes.
Following losses to Cowra, Bathurst Bulldogs and a thrilling, 22-all, local derby draw, Bromley has brought Michael Graham and Matt Campbell into the starting side, while Simon Badgery, TJ Cunynghame and skipper Nigel Staniforth were all return after being unavailable for last weekend's nail-biting derby.
Graham and Campbell will start at tighthead prop and five-eighth respectively, while Badgery comes onto the side of the scrum, Cunynghame will start at halfback and Staniforth returns to the side at fullback.
It is just about trying to play a bit more direct and get some front-foot ball.Emus coach Pete Bromley on the changes he's made
Bromley explained he's hopeful the changes will help the embattled greens build some momentum by playing more direct, more effective rugby, and it also provides him the chance to continue his search for the right combinations moving forward.
"There's a few guys coming back who weren't available last weekend, and it is just about trying to play a bit more direct and get some front-foot ball, which we didn't have much of last weekend against Orange City," Bromley said.
"We've just been lacking punch in general really, we've been playing with a lot of back-foot ball and that's been compounded by discipline issues as well. At times we've looked really good and used the ball well it just hasn't happened as frequently as I, or the playing group, would like."
It's been some years since Emus went more than a fortnight without tasting victory and while that's naturally caused plenty of frustration, Bromley says it's "certainly not panic stations" at Endeavour Oval just yet.
Although, with five games gone and Emus now three points adrift of the top two, returning to the winners' circle sooner rather than later is pretty paramount.
"A large portion of this group won a premiership last year so we know the ability and the potential is there it's just about unlocking that, getting 15 blokes on the same page and doing the job they need to do to play the rugby we want to play and move forward," Bromley said.
Bromley's troops will have to do that, because there's little doubt Forbes will be landing at Endeavour Oval with nothing but victory on their minds.
The Jack Hammond and Jarrod Hall-coached Platypi have had struggles of their own in the opening five weeks and they sit a further three points back from Emus, but come into Saturday's encounter with confidence after taking down Dubbo Kangaroos last weekend.
They'll want to get one back from round one too, Forbes led by 10 points at half-time but sacrificed that as Emus went on to win 42-29.
"Round one was an interesting one, a bit of cat-and-mouse in the way we'd score, then they'd score," Bromley said.
"Forbes are always a dogged team, they're very committed and very hard at the breakdown so we're hoping we can combat that, win that battle and then be able to use the ball from there.
"The first 20 minutes will be important, but it's just as important for us to go on with it after that and not ruin the foundation we've laid, because then we'll be playing from the back foot again."
Kick-off at Endeavour Oval is at 3.15pm.
- ORANGE EMUS: 1 Matt Findlay, 2 Charlie Henley, 3 Michael Graham, 4 Nick Hughes-Clapp, 5 Sam McLean, 6 Simon Badgery, 7 Sam Greatbatch, 8 Scott McLean, 9 TJ Cunynghame, 10 Matt Campbell, 11 Tom Green, 12 Lachie Harris, 13 Tom Joseph, 14 Harry Cummins, 15 Nigel Staniforth (c)
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