06/9/2014 - Orange Emus defeat Orange City Lions to move into Blowes Clothing Cup grand final

FITTING FINALE: Orange Emus' Rob Thorburn palms Orange City Lions' Chris Barrett. Photo: JUDE KEOGH
Orange Emus v Orange City, preliminary finalALl the action from Saturday’s Blowes Clothing Cup game at Pride Park
NIGEL Staniforth kicked the winning penalty for Orange Emus in a dramatic finish to the Blowes Clothing Cup first grade preliminary final.

Orange Emus were leading cross-town rivals 18-9 at the break at Pride Park before the two-time defending premiers clawed their way back to 18-16.

A Mesui Lemoto penalty goal with two minutes left on the clock had the Lions up 19-18 and looking set to feature in a third consecutive grand final.

However, referee Nathan Pearce awarded Emus a penalty just before full-time when Staniforth was tackled high.

Staniforth lined up his kick in front of a raucous crowd and nailed it to give Emus a 21-19 win and send them into next week’s grand final against Dubbo Kangaroos.

A relieved Emus coach Andrew Logan said his team had spoken during the lead up to Saturday’s game about giving themselves a chance to win and book a place in the decider.

“I said to the boys during the week, we just have to make sure we’re there at the end with an opportunity, and I said some strange things can happen in rugby and sometimes they’ll happen to you and they did,” Logan smiled.

“We were behind, looked for all money like we were gone and Nigel just slotted a pressure goal, which he’s starting to get a name for. Wow, what a game.”

Orange City co-coach Mick Gray was disappointed in the result but still happy with his team’s determination.

“Another cliff-hanger, but unfortunately it wasn’t the result that we wanted,” Gray said.

“We had to come back from a nine-point deficit at half-time. We fought our way back into it and we thought we’d got out of jail with a last-minute penalty, but unfortunately we got penalised ourselves and they managed to kick that goal.”

It was a tough encounter from the outset and Emus were first to earn points when Staniforth kicked a penalty six minutes in.

It was 3-all after 12 minutes thanks to a Mesui Lemoto penalty conversion for the Lions.

There were only three tries scored in the match and Emus were the first to get one when fly-half Adam Perri crossed the line 19 minutes in for his side to lead 8-3.

Lemoto closed the gap again to 8-6 with his second penalty kick in the 27th minute.

Emus looked dangerous with ball in hand and showed what they were capable of when they were awarded a penalty 45 metres out from the City line.

They took the tap, sent the ball right and found and fleet-footed Carter Hirini on the wing who sprinted down the line to score.

Staniforth’s boot pushed the score out to 15-6.

A penalty goal each to Lemoto and Staniforth had the scores at 18-9 at the break.

The second half was an arm wrestle for the first 20 minutes.

As City started to earn a little more possession they applied pressure and in the 61st minute prop Darcy Garlick palmed a would-be tackler, charged at the line and muscled his way over to score.

Lemoto’s conversion reduced the margin to 18-16.

The arm wrestle continued before Hirini looked to have scored in the 74th minute, only to be called back for a knock on.

From there City used the possession, earned a penalty and Lemoto coolly kicked the conversion to give his side the lead for the first time in the game.

But it was only brief as Emus earned the penalty, Staniforth kicked the conversion and sent his team into the grand final.

“It was a good performance,” Gray said of his men.

“They (Emus) were in it and we were in it. There were some aspects we didn’t do well at times because of pressure. I always thought it was going to be a tight game.

“We thought we were still good enough to win the competition. Unfortunately you need to get into the grand final to do that and we haven’t done that.”

Logan said he was impressed with his entire team.

“I just couldn’t single anyone out,” he said.

“We talked before the game about just playing for each other and feeling the guys under your arm next to you and making sure you work as hard for everyone in the team as you can. I think everybody did that.

“There’s nobody out there who slacked off. They just gave it everything they had.”

Logan added he was impressed with the spirit in which the game was played.

“Historically there’s been a bit of bad feeling between the two sides,” he said.

“This year the standard of rugby between Orange City and Emus, and the standard of the camaraderie between the players has been outstanding. City showed why they have been the champs for the last two years.”

ORANGE EMUS 21 (Adam Perri, Carter Hirini tries; Nigel Staniforth conv, 3 pen goals) def ORANGE CITY 19 (Darcy Garlick try; Mesui Lemoto conv, 4 pen goals)

taken from http://www.centralwesterndaily.com.au/story/2541347/staniforth-the-hero-as-emus-book-grand-final-berth-and-break-lions-hearts-gallery-video/?cs=104

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