05/9/2015 - Emus prevail in classic derby to win right to host grand final

GREAT TO BE GREEN: Orange Emus defeated arch-rivals Orange City Lions 30-12 in Saturday's Blowes Clothing Cup major semi-final at Pride Park. Photo: STEVE GOSCH




DETERMINATION has helped Orange Emus grab the first place in this year’s Blowes Clothing Cup grand final.

In an all-Orange major semi-final at Pride Park on Saturday, Emus toppled Orange City 30-12 in a bruising encounter.

The win was Emus’ first over the Lions this season and ensured this year’s grand finals would be played at Endeavour Oval.

“We’re just very proud of the effort of the boys,” Emus co-coach Paul Ringland said after the win.

“We were just saying it’s one of the first times in the year against good teams where we’ve stuck at it the full 80. Things didn’t always go our way but we just got back, kept ripping in and stuck to our plans that we’d set. I couldn’t be prouder.”

It was Orange City who had the better start, dominating possession early before second rower Chris Barrett scored 10 minutes in.

The hosts looked to have the upper hand before Emus winger Josh Ellice-Flint made a barnstorming run down the right light, stepping out of tackles before diving over in the corner 20 minutes in.

Nigel Staniforth added the extras for Emus to take the lead and that’s where they stayed for the rest of the game.

Staniforth took the points that were on offer five minutes later when Emus were awarded a penalty and his conversion pushed the lead out to 10-5.

It was 15-5 three minutes before half-time when some good passes put Emus winger Tom Green over in the right corner.

Emus enjoyed a better start to the second half when Staniforth kicked a penalty goal just two minutes in.

Not long after, it was 25-5 when big prop Nas Havealeta, on the back of repeat phases, burrowed his way over and Staniforth added the extras.

The Lions pride themselves on their fitness and they certainly didn’t give up with hooker Chris Senior making the most of an overlap to score with 18 minutes left in the game.

Jake Davis’ conversion closed the gap to 25-12 and there was still time for the Lions to hit back.

However, Emus didn’t let them.

The men in green dominated possession and field position and sealed the 18-point win with a try to Rob Thorburn with less than five minutes in the game.

After winning the minor premiership, Orange City co-coach Steve Hamson could only describe his side’s loss as disappointing.

“We never held onto the ball for long enough periods to do much with it,” Hamson said.

“We started well, out first 20 was ok, and then we went away from how we’ve been playing.

To their (Emus’) credit, they held onto the ball well, they recycled it well and they caused us trouble, we were too busy tackling the ball most of the time instead of getting them on the ground.”

Ringland said Ellice-Flint’s try was a turning point for Emus and he was impressed with the way the players made the most of their opportunities.

“It was a good, physical game, we had a lot of possession. It’s hard to keep getting off the ground and keep going but we kept going forward,” he said.

“Josh Ellice-Flint was great on the wing. Simon Badgery did a really good job in shutting down Tafu (Na’aniumotu) and other runners. The scrum in general, our scrum was really dominant.”

Emus will have next weekend off as they wait to see who they will meet in the grand final.

Ringland said his players won’t be taking it easy.

“It’s important not to rest, we’ve got to keep working,” he said.

“(Graydon Staniforth, Emus co-coach) and I will sit down and we’ll plan our couple of weeks and we won’t relax.”

You can guarantee Lions won’t be resting either as they regroup for the preliminary final.

“You’d expect disappointment out of that effort but they’ve lost in the past and, as a group, they’ll need to work through it, but we won’t dwell on this now at training,” Hamson said of the loss.

“It doesn’t do any good to reference it, we’ll be able to learn a couple of things out of it but we’ll now just move on and focus all towards next week.”

Orange City will host the preliminary finals next weekend at Pride Park.

ORANGE EMUS 30 (Josh Ellice-Flint, Tom Green, Nas Havealeta, Rob Thorburn tries; Nigel Staniforth 2 conv, 2 pen goals) def ORANGE CITY 12 (Chris Barrett, Chris Senior tries; Jake Davis conv).

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