19/9/2015 - Emus surge past Lions to claim 2015 first grade premiership

  • FIRST GRADE: Orange Emus are the 2015 Blowes Clothing Cup first grade champions are defeating Orange City Lions 31-15 in Saturday's grand final. Photo: JUDE KEOGH 

2015 Blowes Clothing Cup first grade grand finalAll of our photos from Saturday’s grand final at Endeavour Oval, Orange

TWO late tries helped Orange Emus to lift the Blowes Clothing Cup premiership trophy after a tough grand final derby on Saturday.

In a see-sawing match, Emus came out on top over minor premiers Orange City 31-15 in front of a passionate crowd at Endeavour Oval.

Emus were up 19-15 with 18 minutes left on the clock before tries to winger Tom Green and flanker Simon Badgery in the last eight minutes handed the hosts the win.

“I think everyone’s just exhausted and relieved,” Emus player-coach Graydon Staniforth said after the win.

“For me being out there, I didn’t think it was a great game, both teams were pretty tense. I don’t think we played our best rugby, both of us, and that’s what it is in derbies and a final. There’s a lot of pressure for everyone.”

The pressure was on just five minutes in when Nigel Staniforth nailed a penalty goal for Emus.

The hosts were under the pump four minutes later when scrumhalf TJ Cunynghame was given a yellow card for a professional foul.

The Lions made the most of the extra man and two minutes later fullback, and excitement machine, Joey Lasagavibau was handed the ball, he stepped one defender, took on another and managed to reach out and score.

City’s 5-3 lead lasted less than five minutes as Staniforth slotted over another penalty goal for Emus.

Emus fly-half Adam Perri and City centre Sam Dywer both spent 10 minutes on the sideline, two minutes apart, for indiscretions.

With four minutes left in the half, Emus sent the ball left and Graydon Staniforth ran in a try which brother Nigel converted.

However, Emus were only up 13-12 at the break after Dwyer pounced on a loose ball and scored in the left corner. Jake Davis’ conversion his the cross-bar and went over.

Emus were first on the board in the second half thanks to a Nigel Staniforth penalty goal, but City replied 10 minutes later to close the gap to 16-15.

Another penalty to Emus and Staniforth edged their lead out to 19-15 before both sides continued to apply pressure when it possession.

Then, with less than nine minutes to go, Emus sent the ball left and drew in the defender before Green took off into space and dived over in the corner. Staniforth booted a beautiful conversion from the left line to take Emus’ lead out to 26-15.

Minutes later, the ball popped up for Badgery who turned on a great show of speed to power over 30 metres and score.

With three minutes left in the game City hooker Chris Senior was given a yellow card and could only look on as time wound down and Emus won.

“I’m feeling very sorry for the blokes,” departing Lions co-coach Mick Gray said.

“We just didn’t have the ball for long enough periods of time and that was the telling factor. If we had the ball for a bit longer we might have turned that into points, which we weren’t able to do.

“Congratulations to Emus, they deserved the win at the end of the day.”

Graydon Staniforth said the key to his side’s victory was their forwards.

“I thought we just started to try and hold the ball…and I think the forwards definitely won us the game,” he said.

ORANGE EMUS 31 (Graydon Staniforth, Tom Green, Simon Badgery tries; Nigel Staniforth 2 conv, 4 pen goal) def ORANGE CITY LIONS 15 (Joey Lasagavibau, Sam Dwyer tries; Jake Davis conv, pen goal).

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