13/8/2016 - Forbes wins war of attrition to stun Orange Emus

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That’s one of very few words capable of accurately describing the feeling at Endeavour Oval – among players, spectators and coaches alike – following Orange Emus’ 28-12 loss to Forbes in Saturday’s top-of-the-table Blowes Clothing Cup blockbuster.

Outside the Platypi camp of course, they were over the moon.

Although they were on the better end of a lopsided penalty count the second-placed Platypi outclassed the competition-leading Emus, particularly at the breakdown.

In a game with all the hallmarks of a potential grand final preview, the Platypi ran in three tries to two to hand Emus their second loss of the season.

The only real positive to come from the game for Emus was Forbes’ lack of a bonus point, which means the greens now have an unassailable lead at the top and are guaranteed the 2016 minor title and a week off in the first round of the finals.

“We got out-enthused, simple as that,” Emus coach Paul Ringland said.

“It’s not such a bad time for that kind of thing to happen,” assistant coach Andrew Logan added.

“Forbes should get plenty of credit, they deserved the win. We’ll soak up the sting and try and make sure it doesn’t happen again.”

For Forbes, the victory reaffirmed their status as title contenders and in the context of past results, provided another signal of just how far the side has come in 12 months.

In last year’s corresponding game, Emus won 71-7.

“I remember that, it’s a good sign. We’ve come from being beaten [convincingly] to winning over here,” a jubilent Jack Hammond, Forbes’ skipper, said.

“We’re very happy with the win. It’s another stepping stone for us (toward the finals), we were confident coming in but even more so now. We wanted to come over here and show we can be competitive with these sides, we did that.

“Our scrum wasn’t as strong as we would’ve liked, but we still won most our own ball and the boys were very good across the paddock.”

Neither side truly got the better of the opening exchanges, which were punctuated by a number of massive hits in a brutal battle for ascendancy between the two sides’ forward packs.

Emus edged ahead in terms of momentum on the back of their wildly dominant set-piece though, particularly their scrum, and opened the scoring midway through the first half.

After a number of forward phases on Forbes’ line halfback Sam Green put five-eighth AJ Sykes through a gaping hole two-off the ruck, and Nigel Staniforth added the extras to give the reigning champions a 7-0 lead.

Forbes looked likely to erase that within minutes when fullback Josh Coulthurst found space before chipping over Emus fullback Todd Freedman.

It wasn’t him who won the race to the ball though, it was Platypi winger Nathaniel Langilangi, who toed it ahead again. It was too deep though, going into touch in goal.

Forbes’ attacking pressure didn’t subside with that missed chance though and five-eighth Matt Kilgore pounced not long after to open his side’s account, adding the extras himself before kicking a penalty goal as well to shoot the Platypi to a 10-7 lead.

Forbes held that lead until half-time, but not long after the break Emus inched back in front when Carter Hirini dived over in the right corner. Staniforth’s conversion attempt was waved away.

That try sparked a massive lift in intensity from Forbes which Emus, simply, couldn’t match. The Platypi proceeded to run in 15 unanswered points in the back end of the game.

First NSW Country Cockatoo and halfback Mahe Fangupo dived over before Sykes was shown a yellow card for a tip tackle.

That and a string of penalties inside their own half forced Emus onto the back foot, eventually Forbes took advantage again when No.8 Matt Cole barged over from a quick-tap to push the Platypi’s lead out to 22-12.

Kilgore slotted another penalty goal minutes later, to all but kill off any hope of a remarkable Emus’ comeback.

FORBES PLATYPI 25 (Matt Kilgore, Mahe Fangupo, Matt Cole tries; Kilgore conversion, 2 penalty goals) def ORANGE EMUS 12 (AJ Sykes, Carter Hirini tries; Nigel Staniforth conversion)

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