His side will "take it' if the Blowes Clothing Cup minor premiership falls in their lap, but Orange Emus stalwart Nick Hughes-Clapp said the greens' focus has somewhat shifted to ensuring they're properly prepared for a trip to Bathurst Bulldogs' Anne Ashwood Park kennel for the major semi-final.
Granted that's not for another month or so and the greens' trip there this weekend is the immediate focus, but the two sides are guaranteed to meet in the first-versus-second play-off, so it is beginning to float into the forefront of their minds'.
Bulldogs are six points clear of Emus and while those positions can reverse mathematically it's pretty unlikely considering the greens would need to win their two remaining games with bonus points and hope Bulldogs lose both without picking up any.
The next two weeks are about doing everything we can to improve where we can and where we need to.Emus' Nick Hughes-Clapp
"We're not getting caught up in all the 'what ifs', now we're locked into the top two we're just going to stay focused on the job at hand and make sure we're prepared for that major semi-final, regardless of where it is," Hughes-Clapp said.
"Don't get me wrong if everything fell our way, sure, we'd take it but the next two weeks are about doing everything we can to improve where we can and where we need to, so we can hit the ground running in the finals."
Saturday's trip is a timely one because it gives Emus one final look at their rivals before crunch time, although that can be said of Bathurst too of course.
Bulldogs have proven quite formidable at Ashwood Park in recent years too. While their Endeavour Oval drought is a well-known one, the greens haven't beaten Bulldogs at Bathurst for some time either.
"Bulldogs have been the benchmark all year and they're on top for a reason, they're a good side and being at Bathurst does make it a bit tougher," Hughes-Clapp said, that difficulty increased by the fact Saturday is also the Bathurst club's Memorial Day.
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"We're always confident of beating any side regardless of where it is but so we'll need to knuckle down and play well. It'll be a good gauge for us."
Bulldogs coach Dean Oxley shared a similar sentiment, saying his outfit will use the game to gauge their development since Emus won their last encounter 26-24 at Endeavour Oval.
"We'll be measuring our growth from this game. Getting beaten by Emus was a setback. It's a game we've reviewed and we've improved significantly since then," he said.
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"The test is whether on this Saturday we can produce that quality under pressure. Our game against Forbes last week was a game we really needed. Being down with 15 minutes to go hasn't been a part of our season.
"For us to be in that position, with Forbes playing some of the their best football I've seen in recent years, and for us to weather that storm ... helped us gain a lot from it."
Both sides will be without their NSW Country reps, with Lachie Harris missing from Emus' side and Josh Nash and Justin Mobbs away for Bulldogs.
Saturday's bumper clash kicks off at 3.15pm.
- ORANGE EMUS: 1 Nas Havealeta, 2 Charlie Henley, 3 Michael Graham, 4 Sam McLean, 5 Nick Hughes-Clapp, 6 Simon Badgery, 7 Sam Greatbatch, 8 Scott McLean, 9 TJ Cunynghame, 10 Jamil Khalfan, 11 Tom Green, 12 Levi Russell, 13 Tom Joseph, 14 Harry Cummins, 15 Nigel Staniforth (c)
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