No fear, no inhibitions – that is how Bathurst Bulldogs coach Dean Oxley wants his men to play in this Saturday’s major semi-final against Orange Emus.
If they can do that, then Oxley believes they can win at Endeavour Oval for the first time this year and earn hosting right rights for the 2018 Blowes Clothing Cup grand final.
While Bulldogs beat Emus at Ashwood Park earlier this season, prevailing 39-35, twice they have returned from Endeavour empty-handed.
“It would be nice to say we are able to beat Emus at Emus, it has been a long while since we’ve done that,” Oxley said, in fact the last time his side beat Emus at Endeavour Oval was a 28-17 win in round 10 of 2010.
“It’s not really about records or anything like that, but we need to demonstrate that we can beat every team at every location and that’s the only one that is still waiting for us.”
Oxley’s team for the semi-final features plenty of speed in the back line with the likes of Harry Webber and Will Oldham, Blowes Clothing Cup player of the year Brad Glasson to steer them around from flyhalf and NSW Country representative Peter Fitzsimmons at number 8.
On top of that, his bench includes another speedster in Riley Hanrahan and the experienced heads of Scott Johnston, Phil Tonkin and Adam Dwyer.
But no matter who is on the paddock at any given time, Oxley wants them to showcase the skills which earned them a place in major semi-final. He wants them to show confidence.
“Nothing has to change, so what we do well is what I’m professing at the moment,” he said.
“We will go up there and play without fear, which is what I want from the boys. I’m requiring them to be able to do things with an increasing intensity, but with the same processes that we’ve had all year.”
Emus captain Nigel Staniforth hopes the huge amount of experience in his side comes to the fore against a youthful Bulldogs outfit.
“We’ve been at this stage and won before so I don’t think we’ll get overawed at all, but sometimes not having that experience let’s you just go out and play.”
Kick-off is 3.15pm.