28/5/2016 - City down, now on to Forbes: Orange Emus preparing for toughest test of season

ORANGE Emus coach Paul Ringland predicted this Saturday’s trip to Grinsted Oval to take on the resurgent Forbes Platypi will be the biggest test of their 2016 Blowes Clothing Cup season so far for his side, which is undefeated atop the standings.

Forbes, third, are smarting after their first loss of the season to the Cowra Eagles last weekend and Ringland said his side are anticipating a Playtpi unit desperate to redeem themselves, and firmly stamp themselves as title contenders.

An upset win over Ringland and his troops, reigning champions, would certainly do both those things.

“With the Orange City game out of the way, it is our biggest test,” Ringland said.

“Grinsted Oval is always a tough place to go over and play regardless of where Forbes are coming on the ladder, but with them doing so well it’ll be even harder.

“They’ll be fired up (after losing to Cowra), maybe they got a bit carried away with their start, but that will probably be a bit of a wake-up call for them.

“We’re looking forward to answering the challenge.”

The Platypi took the scalps of Mudgee, Parkes, CSU Bathurst, Dubbo Rhinos and Orange City before last weekend’s loss, with a bye thrown in the mix too.

In a potentially crucial factor, there was one common denominator in all five of those wins who wasn’t present in the 11-point loss to the Eagles – halfback Mahe Fangupo.

He won’t play this weekend either, he’s on NSW Country Cockatoos duty again.

“I’m sure they’ll miss him but look, they wouldn’t have gone undefeated through six rounds without having a good side around him,” Ringland said, shutting down suggestions the Platypi will struggle without their mercurial No.9.

“We’re expecting a really tough game of rugby (whether Fangupo’s there or not). Our pack probably hasn’t come up against anything as tough as we’ll face against Forbes … it’ll be about winning that battle.”

In Emus’ only two changes, Nick Hughes-Clapp returns to the second-row in place of Mitch Lockley while Andrew Cosgrove takes his place at flanker, at the expense of Alo Finau.

Emus and Forbes will kick off at 3.15pm.

ORANGE EMUS: 1 Steve Fergus, 2 Tom Goolagong, 3 Nas Havealeta, 4 Sam McLean, 5 Nick Hughes-Clapp, 6 Andrew Cosgrove, 7 Simon Badgery, 8 Scott McLean, 9 Sam Green, 10 Todd Freedman, 11 Tom Green, 12 Zac White, 13 Nigel Staniforth, 14 Lachie Harris, 15 AJ Sykes; Interchange: 16 Alo Finau14101590_1077570922325901_526842026_n

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