In last year’s Blowes Clothing Cup colts grand final Orange City led 11-5 with just seconds remaining but, as history shows, the Lions had their hearts broken by a last-gasp try from Bathurst Bulldogs’ Josh Carter.
Reckon that serves as motivation for those Lions suiting up again in Saturday’s decider against Dubbo Kangaroos?
“Oh God, yes, it does,” Lions gun Lachie Lingley said.
“We just couldn’t get the job done last year so for myself and the others who were there and played in that one, we’re really hoping we can finish this one off, get the win.
“For us older guys it’s about helping the younger ones through as well, making sure they’re ready for this kind of game. Training was good on Tuesday and I think we’re pretty ready for it.”
The Lions take on Roos in a rematch of the major semi-final a fortnight ago, which the Dubbo side claimed 32-14 despite having nowhere near an even share of possession.
The Lions didn’t execute that day and Lingley said his side has learned its lesson after being bested by the “more determined” Roos.
“We just didn’t turn up. Dubbo came out and played like it was a grand final but we sort of just played it like a normal game,” he admitted.
“Kick-returns and first-up tackles, they’re the big things we need to improve on from that game. I think we’ve learned our lessons.”
Lingley is one of a number of young Lions that have been handed a bucketload of top grade experience this year, and last year, although Roos have that in abundance too.
Nonetheless Lingley says it will serve his side well, and he also happens to be the Lions’ preliminary final hero.
With cross-city rivals Orange Emus leading 24-21 in the dying stages last weekend, Lingley pulled a Carter and scored in the final seconds to break the greens’ hearts and earn his side another crack at Dubbo.
“It was a good feeling because I’d had a shocker, we all did really, it was a pretty scrappy sort of game from both sides,” Lingley said of the preliminary final, before touching on that top grade experience.
“It’s good, mainly because, as I said, we do have a lot of younger guys in this side who look up to the older guys, like Darcy Holmes, Liam Hanley and Nick Smith and even myself I guess. It helps us to [lead from the front].”
Lingley’s bang on when he says the Lions have a number of youngsters, before the major semi-final the side’s coach Fletcher Niven explained just how many, with all but “four or five” stepping up from under 17s last year.
He admitted he’s been “absolutely blown away” by their progress this year, development they’ll need to continue this weekend in their bid to down the powerhouse Roos.
There’s reason for confidence though.
Although the major semi-final didn’t go to plan and Roos also bested Orange City in rounds three and eight, the Lions proved they can do more than mix it with the Dubbo side in round 13, knocking them off 27-20.
The colts decider kicks off at 11am, at Endeavour Oval.