On the back of a three-try performance from five-eighth Mitch Evers Orange Emus put Mudgee to the sword at Endeavour Oval on Saturday afternoon, routing the visitors 79-0.
Evers crossed thrice in the victory, barely getting touched as he jinked through the Wombats’ defence for the third of those tries, and his side laid on another 13 five-pointers in the dominant, bonus point win – Emus’ 12th from 13 starts.
The greens did leave a handful of points out there too, or rather, skipper and goalkicker Nigel Staniforth did.
He didn’t have the greatest of afternoons with the boot, kicking at just 50 per cent.
“We’ve said it before, but we’ll take any win we can get no matter the circumstances,” Emus vice-captain Nick Hughes-Clapp said.
“Probably the most pleasing thing to come from it was keeping Mudgee to zero, we had a few new faces and it can take time to come together defensively, but that was a real strong point for most of the game.
“There’s plenty we can improve on, you have to be able to take something out of every game. We were probably a little bit passive at the breakdown. Mudgee did well to spoil our ball though.
“They did the first time we played them too and we knew they would again, but we didn't adapt quick enough.
“Outside that, we were strong. Set piece was great, we were superb in broken play and we stuck to our structure.
“That’s all very positive leading into the local derby against Orange City next weekend.”
Hughes-Clapp credited the Wombats too.
“They were tough and physical,” he said.
“They played really good rugby in the opening half and I think it was just fitness that got them in the end.
“They had a few tired boys, they were short of players with the Mudgee Field Days being on and a few guys played more than one grade to make sure they fielded teams, which is big effort.”
The half-time scorelines backs up Hughes-Clapp’s sentiments.
Although Emus were clearly the classier of the two sides the greens only led 29-0 at the break, piling on another 50 in the second half as the Wombats ran out of gas.
The win was built on a dominant set-piece.
Emus’ lineout was as crisp as ever despite Matt Findlay playing hooker in place of injured stars Tom Goolagong and Keith Howarth, and at scrum time the greens were simply a class above.
No wonder, the side’s starting front row – Findlay was joined by Michael Graham and Nas Havealeta – weighed in at a whopping 397kg.
“Our scrums were very, very good, we won quite a few against the head and we could really play off that,” Hughes-Clapp said.
Outside Evers and Staniforth, Havealeta and AJ Sykes grabbed braces as well while Tom Green, Sam Green, Carter Hirini and Lachie Harris found the stripe as well.
Emus’ victory, and Orange City’s 60-0 romp against Dubbo Rhinos, makes for a mouth-watering local derby next weekend.
- ORANGE EMUS 79 (Mitch Evers 3, Nas Havealeta 2, AJ Sykes 2, Nigel Staniforth 2, Tom Green, Sam Green, Carter Hirini, Lachie Harris tries; Staniforth 7 conversions) def MUDGEE WOMBATS 0