Orange City secured its place in the Blowes Clothing Cup post-season on Saturday afternoon, taking down Parkes in a tight affair, on the road, to maintain its grip on fifth place.
After holding a narrow lead at the half-time break Orange City lifted in the second period to ultimately claim a 29-12 victory over the battling Boars and in doing so, the Lions set up a rematch of last year’s elimination semi-final against Bathurst Bulldogs in the coming weekend’s corresponding fixture.
Few have forgotten what happened at Anne Ashwood Park that day, least of all the Lions.
Orange City led 27-0 at half-time in last year’s sudden-death, fourth-versus-fifth play-off before Bulldogs stormed home to secure a remarkable 39-34 victory in extra-time.
That, and the fact they’ve beaten the Lions twice already this year, gives the Bulldogs a fair psychological advantage but as Orange City skipper Logan Brockman said just after full-time on Saturday, anything can happen in the finals.
“It’s finals footy, everyone switches on and takes it to the next level. These young blokes we’ve got, they play with a lot of passion and a lot of emotion so you just never know what could happen,” he said.
“As a club we’ve had such a good track record recently that we are quite hard on ourselves, but in the middle of the year we weren’t looking like we’d make the finals so to do that with the amount of young guys we have is a real achievement.”
Orange City led 15-5 at the break, before Parkes fought back to trail by just three points.
In past games in 2017, that’s the period when Orange City has somewhat broken, at times releasing the pressure on their opposition and allowing them to run away with games.
Not on Saturday.
Knowing their finals hopes were in their own hands, the Lions lifted and scored another two unanswered tries to secure the 29-12 victory.
“We always knew they would come hard, Parkes are always tough at home,” Brockmann said.
“We were a little bit sloppy in some stages where I think we should’ve been a bit better considering we’re coming into finals, but we’ve come away with a win and that gives us plenty to work on coming into Bulldogs next week.
“Generally this season we haven’t been great after half-time but we stepped it up this time, we had to, so I was pleased with that”
Keith Lawson, Sam Coote and Sam Dwyer were among Orange City’s best, Coote scoring one of the side’s four tries.
Keegan Harding scored an absolute ripper, while Cam Logan and Lachie Lingley grabbed the other two.
Harding also nailed three of four conversion attempts and kicked a penalty goal too, finidhing with a personal tally of 14 points.
- ORANGE CITY LIONS 29 (Keegan Harding, Sam Coote, Cam Logan, Lachie Lingley tries; Harding 3 conversions, penalty goal) def PARKES BOARS 12 (Johnny Rathbone, Joe Nash tries; Ben Powlay conversion)