All year they were the fiercest of rivals but when Orange Emus' skipper Pat Toberty and his Orange City counterpart Gus Tremain stepped onto Bathurst's Anne Ashwood Park on Saturday, they did so as a united force.
After facing off in the Central West Junior Rugby Union under-13 grand final just weeks beforehand the two clubs combined last weekend, facing Bathurst Bulldogs in the curtain-raiser to the Central West Schoolboys' showdown with Samoa.
As you'd expect considering their powerhouse status as individual sides the combined Orange outfit was a red-hot one, even without the likes of the unavailable Lily Bone and Harrison Kukla.
Even so it was the hosts who opened the scoring early, but Henry Cooney and Josh Kerby quickly brought the Bathurst side down to earth with some bone-crunching defence.
That went a long to keeping the hosts scoreless for the rest of the first half, as did Brody Duncan's tough carries, Trixie Ward's presence over the ball and Thomas O'Brien's support play.
Hayden Buesnel and Jack Garlick proved slippery and tough to pin down as they weaved their way through Bulldogs' defence with every possession, before Charlie Poole started an attacking movement that led to Orange's first points.
He shifted wide to Daniel Vaotangi who sliced through to make a break before flicking the ball to Ollie Chandler-Sullivan, who flew over the stripe for Orange's first five-pointer.
Toberty diffused a Bulldogs kick with aplomb shortly after and Chandler-Sullivan worked his magic to stay in touch despite plenty of attention, which helped set up Zac Mason's runaway try just before the break, with gave Orange a 10-7 lead at half-time.
Bulldogs hit back directly after the restart but on the back of Tremain's astute kicking game Orange began wrestling back momentum.
A bulldozing carry from Harry Wood gave Toberty, Tremain and Vaotangi the chance to link and then unleash Levi Poihakena-Jackson, who crossed the line before adding the extras by converting his own try.
Spoiled for choice in the front-row with the likes of Alex O'Brien, Cooney, Kerby and Wood, the Orange side used their strength and power against a big Bathurst pack, giving Jimmy Walker room to move.
He seemed to slip through the Bulldogs' legs before Mason found space again, dishing off to Toberty who found Lachlan Newman, who finished well before Poihakena-Jackson converted the try.
Jamie Adams and Dom Segger both proved elusive on the wing and made threatening runs and offloaded well, before Toberty produced a pilfer, found space and dived over to score Orange's final try.
It was a timely one too, considering Bathurst had kept themselves in the game well, and secured the Orange side's 29-22 victory, one that came after just an hour of training together.
Both sides remained on the field after the clash, which was played in the best of spirits, for the national anthems and the Samoan Schoolboys siva tau too, relishing the experience.
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