19/9/2015 - Lions ecstasy and Emus agony in second grade grand final


ORANGE City has held on to claim the 2015 Blowes Clothing Cup second grade title, knocking off Emus 18-16 in a heart-stopping decider.

Right on full-time after a brilliant Luke Ginns run drew a penalty, Greens five-eighth Seb Backhouse had the chance win the grand final for Emus.

It’s the stuff dreams are made of.

He lined it up, 22 metres out virtually right on the Endeavour Oval eastern touchline, moved in and connected with the right boot.

It missed, unfortunately for Emus.

And after a momentum-shifting grand final, it was the Lions who were savouring the two-point triumph.

“I was nearly in tears,” victorious City captain-coach Anthony Kent said.

“I thought he would have kicked it … but I’m glad he shanked it.”

Emus coach Mitch Dansey was a dejected figure following the loss.

“Poor bugger,” Dansey said looking at Backhouse.

“I didn’t envy him at all. I said to Harty (Jack Hart) on the sideline ‘I don’t want to watch this’. Whether or not we deserved to have that shot, we got it and it didn’t come off.

“You always hope your season doesn’t come down to a kick like that. It’s not the end of the world, the boys should be proud.”

Starting well, City scored after six minutes and then again after 25 through bustling lock Chris Scoins and damaging No.8 Feleti Wolfgramm respectively.

The two tries book-ended Backhouse’s initial penalty goal, and with Joe Alexander nailing the second of the Lions’ conversion attempts City led 12-3 after 25 minutes.

It was shortly after 12-6 when Backhouse slotted another penalty goal, while Alexander replied with a three-pointer of his own to end the half with a 15-6 advantage.

Second halves have been Emus’ best all year.

And on Saturday in the decider, that was again the case.

Emus lifted a gear, physically and in fluidity, and it netted Andrew Selwood a try after just two minutes of the second stanza.

Backhouse’s goal made it 15-13.

For the first time in the game, Emus then led 16-15 when Backhouse again slotted a penalty goal – City’s discipline costing the Lions any momentum in the second half.

But with eight minutes to go in an enthralling final term, City earned a penalty right in front and five metres out.

Alexander didn’t miss, and at 18-16 the Lions managed to hold on, despite the side’s discipline still waning as the game wore on.

“The boys dug deep, the biggest drama we had was giving away silly penalties in our half. It got them in the game,” Kent added.

“They only scored one try and the rest were penalties.

“It’s one of those things that happened. It was a heart-starter at the end, and I was nearly in tears on the ground.”

Kent said his side’s brilliant start to the clash ensured Orange City was hard to run down.

“That probably got us over the line. We started tough and belted them, but to their credit they came back and kept getting into our half,” he said.

“I thought the momentum had shifted,”Dansey said.

“Things were going well it just got away from us. That’s part of it, unfortunately somebody has to lose and we were on the wrong end of it.”

For the Lions, Wolfgramm was a handful and inside centre Paul Sligar destructive through the midfield.

The Emus’ pack was sound, and the impact of the Greens’ bench was monumental, with Scott Udy and Al Hattersley strong.

ORANGE CITY 18 (Feleti Wolfgramm, Chris Scoins tries; Joe Alexander conv; Joe Alexander 2 pen goals) def ORANGE EMUS 16 (Andrew Selwood try; Seb Backhouse conv; Seb Backhouse 3 pen goals)

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