22/8/2015 - Orange City Lions topple ‘flat’ Orange Emus in derby battle

FIRST GRADE: Orange City Lions prevailed in the day's main fixture, defeating Orange Emus 34-26. Photo: STEVE GOSCH


A DOMINANT opening half from Orange City helped them to a 34-26 Blowes Clothing Cup win over Orange Emus on Saturday.

The local derby and top-of-the-table clash attracted a plethora of passionate supporters but it was only the Lions fans cheering at the end of the 80 minutes.

Orange City was guaranteed the minor premiership and Emus second place regardless of the derby’s result.

A solid first half allowed City to enjoy a 27-7 lead at half-time and, even though Emus came back in the second period, the Lions held on for the victory.

Emus co-coach Graydon Staniforth conceded his side was not on its game.

“We were, I think, the flattest we’ve been all year in the first half,” Staniforth said.

“We’re making no excuses but I just had a weird feeling today. We’ve got semis coming up, next week’s a big week for us. They (Lions) were the better side today but I think our minds weren’t where they should be today.

“Their execution wasn’t there. We really didn’t do anything in that first half, we didn’t throw any threats or throw shots at them.”

At the other end of the field Lions captain Tatafu Na’aniumotu was beaming.

“The boys are so excited after the game. I could see everyone smiling and laughing and happy,” Na’aniumotu grinned.

“It was a pretty hard game compared to the score on the board. The last 40 minutes was hard. I know we put a couple of tries on, but at the same time it was a pretty hard game.”

The Lions took a 15-0 lead after 20 minutes thanks to a try to Sam Dwyer, and a five pointer, conversion and penalty goal to Jake Davis.

Emus were able to get on the board when they were awarded a penalty five metres out from City’s line and hooker Keith Howarth burrowed his way over.

Nigel Staniforth’s conversion closed the gap to 15-7 but City enjoyed a 20-point buffer at the break after Taylor Smith and Duncan Young scored and Davis kicked a conversion.

Emus still weren’t at their best in the second half but enjoyed more possession¬†and were awarded a penalty try just five minutes in, which Staniforth converted.

The Lions were able to respond four minutes later when Joey Lasagavibau scored and Davis’s conversion was City’s last points for the day.

It only took minutes for Emus to hit back, this time Staniforth scoring next to the posts and his conversion made it 34-21 with 25 minutes left in the game.

The City defence was repeatedly tested and Emus dominated possession, but the Lions also made it tough for themselves by giving away penalties.

Staniforth was finally able to break through for his second try of the game with less than five minutes left on the clock.

It reduced the margin to eight points but neither side could change it.

“The boys did a good job today in defence and attack,” Na’aniumotu said.

“Joe (Lasagavibau) had the best game today. On defence, he put 100 per cent in defence, on attack, he put 100 per cent into attack. That’s why I think he was the best player today.”

Orange City will have a rest during the first week of semi-finals, while Emus will prepare to take on Bathurst Bulldogs at Endeavour Oval in the qualifying semi-final.

A priority for Emus will be making sure injured players Andrew Cosgrove (ankle) and Isaac White (neck) will be fit to play after having to come off during the derby.

ORANGE CITY 34 (Sam Dwyer, Jake Davis, Taylor Smith, Duncan Young, Joey Lasagavibau tries; Jake Davis 3 conv, pen goal) def ORANGE EMUS 26 (Nigel Staniforth 2, Keith Howarth tries; penalty try; Nigel Staniforth 3 conv).

taken from http://www.centralwesterndaily.com.au/story/3298778/gallery-video-orange-city-lions-topple-flat-orange-emus-in-derby-battle/?cs=104

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