14/5/2016 - ‘We haven’t hit our straps’: returning Staniforth determined to help Orange Emus click

UNDEFEATED Blowes Clothing Cup leaders Orange Emus will receive a titanic boost this weekend, with skipper Nigel Staniforth returning from injury for their round six road trip to Dubbo’s Caltex Oval to take on the Rhinos.

Staniforth returns to the No.13 jersey on Saturday after missing Emus’ wins over Parkes and CSU Bathurst thanks to a hamstring complaint, in a fixture he says the greens are using to fine-tune several aspects of their game before a tough three-week period leading into the second general bye.

“It was only a minor thing, I’ve had a few weeks off so I’m keen to get back out there,” Staniforth said.

“We haven’t really been following Rhinos results all that closely but they’ve had a pretty tough run, it’s still the first half of the year so we’re more focused on ourselves than anything.

“We’ve got a reasonably tough draw leading into that second general bye, after Rhinos we play Orange City, Forbes and Cowra in consecutive weeks, they’re all top five sides at the moment.

“With that in mind we’ve started working on a few things we want to put in place in the next few games, to get us where we need to be in the back half of the year.”

That doesn’t mean the greens are taking the winless Rhinos lightly though, Staniforth said, a victory over the returning side is paramount to his side’s short-term plans.

“Rhinos will definitely be stronger at home than when they’re on the road so we will certainly be mindful of that,” he said.

“Coming off the bye, although we had several guys play for Central West so they didn’t miss any footy, we want to be maintaining the momentum we’ve earned so far this year so a win’s important for that.”

Staniforth also said, somewhat ominously for the remainder of the competition, the greens are still far from their best.

“We haven’t really hit our straps yet, particularly not in the backs,” he said.

“Plenty of that comes from consistency in terms of our team. We’re missing Tom Green and Josh Ellice-Flint this weekend, who both played Central West, and I don’t think there’s been a game yet where we haven’t had two or three changes.

“So Saturday is a good chance to keep building up.”

Emus and Rhinos lock horns from 3.15pm.

ORANGE EMUS: 1 Nas Havealeta, 2 Tom Goolagong, 3 Steve Fergus, 4 Nick Hughes-Clapp, 5 Mitch Lockley, 6 Andrew Cosgrove, 7 Alo Finau, 8 Scott McLean, 9 Sam Green, 10 Todd Freedman, 11 AJ Sykes, 12 Simon Badgery, 13 Nigel Staniforth, 14 Lachie Harris, 15 Zac White

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