01/5/2016 - Second half blitz gives Orange Emus a fifth straight win

GREEN MACHINE: Orange Emus scored their fifth straight Blowes Clothing Cup win, although it was unconvincing, over CSU Bathurst on Saturday. Photos: STEVE GOSCH





AFTER trailing at half-time to the motivated, enthusiastic students, Orange Emus piled on 24 unanswered points in the second period to eventually down CSU Bathurst 39-17 at Endeavour Oval on Saturday afternoon.

The students – constantly showing promising signs but still unable to close out games – caught the reigning Blowes Clothing Cup champions with their pants down in the opening stages of the contest, taking control of the match to lead 17-15 at the break.

But with a boilover victory in their grasp CSU fell away a little bit, allowing Emus to hit top gear and run in four tries to none in the second stanza and steal an unconvincing win – their fifth straight, which keeps them on top of the table.

“We’re pretty pleased to escape with a win, CSU played really, really well,” Emus assistant coach Andrew Logan said.

“For the first 30 minutes we were all over the shop and that was mainly due to the pressure CSU put on us. They put plenty of pressure on in that first half and we didn’t deal with it very well.

“We were trying to play all of our patterns and just playing too much lateral rugby, you can’t go side-to-side unless you’ve gone forward first.

“We’re lucky we have plenty of guys willing to run hard and straight and get us over the advantage line, once we figured out that’s where our strength was we ran away with it a bit but for 50 minutes of that game, CSU were probably on top.”

Emus outscored CSU – tries wise – three to two in the opening half, but thanks to skipper Cam Backhouse’s reliable boot the students took a two-point lead at half-time. Trailing 15-14, Backhouse nailed a penalty goal on the bell to push his side in front.

For the first 10 minutes of the second period CSU remained well in control, but as Logan said, Emus finally reverted to the style of play which led them to year’s title, helping them run in four unanswered tries.

“We came into this game knowing Emus are a good side, but also knowing we could win, that’s why it is very frustrating to let the game go a bit,” Backhouse said.

“Our first half, this week and last week, was brilliant. But it was a bit of Emus lifting a gear and a bit of us dropping off in the second half.

“They really picked up their execution at the set-piece, that impacted us. It went through into our phase play and when we did get the ball we panicked a bit.”

Logan was unequivocally complimentary of the students after the game, lauding the Bathurst club not just for their performance on Saturday but also their improvement from season’s past.

“They played to their strengths really, really well. They’re a much better side than last year, or the last couple of years,” Logan said.

“It’s probably the best side they’ve fielded in quite a while. They’re a strong side and they’ll shock some teams this year.”

ORANGE EMUS 39 (Tom Green 2, Lachie Harris, AJ Sykes, Nick Hughes-Clapp, Scott McLean, Sam Green tries; Harris 2 conversions) def CSU BATHURST 17 (Tom Pegler, Lachie Robinson tries; Cam Backhouse 2 conversions, penalty goal)

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