Central West looks a genuine chance of claiming two NSW Country Rugby Union Championships on Sunday, after the Blue Bulls' Caldwell Cup and women's sides won through to their respective deciders.
The Blue Bulls will have their chance for senior men's top tier redemption against Illawarra, who they lost to in last year's final, after taking down the Mid North Coast Axemen on the back of a huge showing from Orange Emus' Lachie Harris at Tamworth's Scully Park.
The women on the other hand will take on Central Coast after knocking off hosts Central North (10-nil) and then reigning champions Illawarra (22-nil).
Harris was irresistible in the centres for Central West at Scully Park, scoring a double and pulling off some massive defensive efforts, including a try-saver in the first half, in the 32-17 win.
He crossed either side of half-time while five-eighth Jack O'Connor and second-rower Shaun McHugh, from Harden and Dubbo Kangaroos respectively, also crossed for five-pointers in the convincing win.
Harden fullback Ben Lenehan's boot played a massive role too, he nailed three of his four conversion attempts and kicked a couple of crucial penalty goals too.
At time of publication the Blue Bulls were waiting to see whether they'd earn another shot at reigning champions Illawarra, who they were beaten by in last year's decider, or Central Coast in the grand final.
"We ticked all the boxes really although 32-17 maybe flattered us because it was a physical, grinding contest," Central West head coach Dean Oxley said.
"We struggled last year with backing up so the focus is making sure we're ready."
While individually Harris was superb and his performance suggests he'll be NSW Country Cockatoos selectors' radars, the Blue Bulls were well-served by a handful of others as well.
Lenehan was excellent at the back and McHugh was outstanding, as were his Dubbo Roos teammates in winger Tim Beach and flanker Mark Baldwin, the latter also skippering the side.
Forbes' Charlie French and Cowra's Joe Dakuitoga absolutely monstered the Axemen's scrum in the opening half as well, which undeniably laid the foundation for Harris and co to star.
"Lachie had a good day, he was strong, sand Ben Lenehan deserves a mention he was superb. The scrum was great and we didn't back off either, the bench was very effective," Oxley said.
"Lachie did have an injury scare at the end of the game with his knee but it looks as though all is well there."
Harris came from the field after pulling up in a carry and immediately clutching at his left knee, but appeared to be fine as he walked off unaided.
Central West's colts play off for fifth after a victory over Central North (7-5) and then losses to Far North Coast (26-10) and Central Coast (25-10) on Saturday's opening day.
The women's decider kicks off at 10.50am and the Caldwell Cup final is at 2.20pm.
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