23/6/2016 - Oh captain, my captain: McLean and White take Emus’ reins for ‘Roos road trip

UNDEFEATED, 11 points clear on top of the table and burdened with a wealth of unavailability, Orange Emus coach Paul Ringland said now’s the time to try a few different things.

The greens will be without skipper Nigel Staniforth, vice-captain Nick Hughes-Clapp, five-eighth Todd Freedman and back-rower Mitch Lockley for Saturday’s round 11 Blowes Clothing Cup road trip to Dubbo to take on the Kangaroos.

As a result, Ringland’s reshuffled his side, dramatically.

The biggest change though is the leadership with No.8-come-second-rower Scott McLean and centre-come-fullback Zac White to share the captaincy.

“It took us both by suprise. I hadn’t even thought about who’d do it with [Staniforth] and [Hughes-Clapp] both being out,” McLean enthused.

”It won’t change the way we play much. We’ll just play our roles and try to lead by example, we both chat plenty on the field anyway so that’s not an issue.”

Emus face the intriguing position of potentially being stripped of a win should they trump Dubbo, thanks to Central West Rugby Union’s 2016 draw.

The greens, along with Parkes and CSU Bathurst, play one extra game and as such their worst result from the first 11 rounds will not be counted toward the competition standings.

WHITE HOT: Zac White will assume even more of a leadership role against Dubbo this weekend, as one of two stand-in co-captains. Photo: MATT FINDLAY

WHITE HOT: Zac White will assume even more of a leadership role against Dubbo this weekend, as one of two stand-in co-captains. Photo: MATT FINDLAY

If they beat Dubbo that worst result will be their smallest victory, right now that’s their eight-point win over Orange City.

“We haven’t spoken about that as a side, it’s still a game we’re going out to win. Every game is important,” McLean said.

“Plus, we’ve had two byes in a row … we’re itching to get out there and get the result.

“Dubbo in Dubbo are always tough. Defensively we’ll need to be strong to shut down their attacking weapons and with ball in hand, we need to get into the grind again, back our set pieces and work for those structures and patterns that have worked so well for us so far this season.”

In Emus’ other changes, regular fullback AJ Sykes will play No.10, Andrew Selwood comes into flanker, Lachie Harris shifts in to centre and Ed Morrish makes his run-on debut on the wing.

With Dubbo City Council having doubts over the surface of No. 1 Oval after the recent rain there is a chance the match could be moved to DCL Park.

No official decision on the location has been made yet.

Kick off is at 3.15pm.

ORANGE EMUS: 1 Nas Havealeta, 2 Tom Goolagong, 3 Steve Fergus, 4 Sam McLean, 5 Scott McLean, 6 Andrew Cosgrove, 7 Andrew Selwood, 8 Alo Finau, 9 Sam Green, 10 AJ Sykes, 11 Tom Green, 12 Simon Badgery, 13 Lachie Harris, 14 Ed Morrish, 15 Zac White.


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