20/5/2016 - ‘Everyone goes to another level’: local derby to bring out best in both teams

BOTH skippers know it, there is bugger all between Orange City and Orange Emus leading into this weekend’s round seven all-Orange derby at Endeavour Oval, the first time the two teams have met since the greens triumphed 31-15 in last year’s grand final.

And for both sides, this isn’t just another game of rugby.

For Emus, unbeaten on top of the Blowes Clothing Cup table through six rounds, it’s a chance to continue building on what they achieved in 2015, along with their start to this season, while also maintaining bragging rights over their cross-city counterparts.

For Orange City, still licking the festering wounds from last year’s decider, it’s an opportunity to avenge that loss by hitting their straps for the first time this season and kick-start their run to the 2016 finals in the process.

“Local derbies are whole different ball games, everyone goes to another level,” Orange City stand-in captain John Colgan said.

“Definitely, these games are very different to any others,” Emus skipper Nigel Staniforth agreed.

“The two sides have been reasonably evenly matched over the last few years, although Emus are the benchmark side so far this year so we’ll need to improve dramatically,” Colgan said.

“I’m confident of doing that though.”

“I actually don’t think either side has really hit their straps, for various reasons,” Staniforth added.

“We’re definitely expecting Orange City to do that in this one though, I’d say they’d be expecting the same of us.”

While the skippers predict a tough, thrilling encounter, recent statistics suggest just one thing – it will be close.

In the last two years – after the Lions’ dominance of all who came before them – the two sides have clashed eight times, twice in the regular season and twice in the finals in both 2014 and 2015.

Emus have won four of those games, while the Lions have triumphed thrice. The other result was a miserly 8-8 draw at Endeavour Oval.

Incredibly, the two sides have only been separated by 11 points in those games combined. The greens have scored 188 points while Orange City have piled on 177.

So far, 2016 isn’t much different.

On averages, Emus are the best side in the competition in attack and defensively. They’ve scored 44.16 points and conceded just 10.66 per game, on average.

Orange City is second in both those categories, crossing for an average of 36.6 points a game and conceding 11.

“With both sides doing well already it’s great for the sport in Orange, and it should be a great game because of that,” Staniforth said.

“I think it will be another close one, I hope so anyway, they’re always great games,” Colgan said.

“The whole city gets behind local derbies whether it’s rugby league or rugby union. The crowd gets into it, we love it as players. We’re looking forward to it.”

Emus and Orange City lock horns from 3.15pm on Saturday at Endeavour Oval


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