While he loves winning as much as the next bloke Emus boom recruit Charlie Henley admits he only really joined the club this season to "make a few new mates" after moving to Orange from Sydney earlier this year.
He's ticked that box at what he called a "very welcoming" club, but in the 11 games he's played since linking with the club a third of the way into 2019 he's also taken the Blowes Clothing Cup by storm.
They're not his words, of course, but there's no denying the bullocking hooker's been a serious addition to the side, despite missing the opening month of the season he's equal atop Emus' top grade try-scoring list with Lachie Harris with 14.
We did feel like we left a lot of points out there last time we played them in Bathurst and we think we've got a lot more to give.Emus hooker Charlie Henley
He landed at Endeavour Oval at the right time too, the week after former Central West hooker Tom Goolagong broke his finger, and with the latter back on deck the duo will form a pretty lethal rotation in the greens' finals campaign.
They kick that campaign off against minor premiers Bulldogs in Saturday's major semi-final at Bathurst's Anne Ashwood Park, where they'll be chasing hosting rights for the decider in a fortnight.
If they succeed, it'll be the fifth straight grand final at Endeavour Oval.
"I've loved it here so far, there's still a long way to go obviously but it's been a good first season. I just came down to meet some people and make a few new mates, everyone was very welcoming, they're all really good blokes," Henley said.
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While he admitted he didn't give any thought to potentially making a grand final appearance in his maiden season when he joined the club, Henley said that's obviously a massive drawcard ahead of Emus' fourth showdown with Bulldogs in 2019.
The Bathurst side has come out on top in two of the three so far, in a potentially telling twist both of the minor premiers' wins have come at Ashwood Park, the most recent being a 20-17 victory in the penultimate round of the regular season.
"They got us down there both times this year so they'll be confident I imagine, but we did feel like we left a lot of points out there last time we played them in Bathurst and we think we've got a lot more to give than we showed in that game," Henley said.
WATCH: Charlie Henley burrows over for one of the 14 tries he's scored in 2019...
"Emus have obviously had a lot of success recently and whenever you've got a chance to host a grand final there's always a lot of motivation."
Although some suggest the general bye last weekend could be a motivation-stifling break it's obviously necessary for Central West to stagger their three tiers' grand finals, and Henley said his side's looking at it in a positive fashion.
"I know a few boys didn't like it but I think the week off was good for us, there was a few guys carrying little niggles that got a few extra days off," he explained.
"We did train last Saturday and that was good too, just keep the legs ticking over and stay fresh, we're looking forward to this weekend now."
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Emus coach Pete Bromley has made just two changes from the side that hammered Orange City in the last round of the season.
Having recovered from a hamstring complaint Harry Cummins slots back onto the wing in place of Carter Hirini, while Jack Marchinton comes into the back row in place of Sam Greatbatch.
Greatbatch, a former NSW Country Colt, is unavailable for the grand final qualifier, but Henley said having a premiership-winning flanker take his spot is a nod to the club's depth.
Marchinton returned to the club midway through the season after a stint in the US playing with Atlanta, and Henley said he's not missed a beat in slotting straight back into the club.
"I didn't know Marcho before this year obviously but the boys raved about the footy he played last year and he's come back in pretty seamlessly, it's good to have that kind of depth," Henley said.
Kick-off in the Saturday's major semi-final is at 3.15pm, at Anne Ashwood Park.
- ORANGE EMUS: 1 Nas Havealta, 2 Charlie Henley. 3 Michael Graham, 4 Sam McLean, 5 Nick Hughes-Clapp, 6 Simon Badgery, 7 Jack Marchinton, 8 Scott McLean, 9 TJ Cunyghame, 10 Jamil Khalfan, 11Tom Green, 12 Lachie Harris, 13 Tom Joseph, 14 Harry Cummins, 15 Nigel Staniforth (c)
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