Orange Emus’ flanker Jack Marchinton and Bathurst Bulldogs’ centre Harry Webber have a long, long rivalry, one that will once again be reignited in Saturday’s epic Blowes Clothing Cup decider at Endeavour Oval.
It’s a friendly rivalry, of course, because they’re actually great mates, which probably only serves to make it more fierce.
The pair have played against each other since they were knee-high to a grasshopper in Wallas, clashing again at school as part of their respective Kinross and All Saints’ sides too.
“We used to play a trial against them every year before the season started, we always used to win which was nice,” Marchinton laughed.
“I actually used to hate playing against Buzz (Webber), he was that little, fast, blonde kid that was just really good. Nothing’s changed really, he’s just a bit bigger and his hairline isn’t as strong.”
“Yeah, well, Marcho’s got large teeth, he probably won’t have any left by Saturday night though,” Webber added with a laugh.
“We sort of became pretty good mates around 2010 and then went on a gap year at the same time after school, we did a bit of travelling together as well,” Marchinton continued.
“We’ve always stayed mates, and then obviously started playing against other again last year, once he landed back at Bulldogs.”
Although Emus hold bragging rights leading in, the greens have won three of the two sides’ four encounters this season, it all goes back on the line at Endeavour Oval this weekend.
“He’d hate that I’ve got the upper hand on him at the moment. I rubbed it in a bit when we won the major semi-final and got the home grand final, but I’ll rub it in even more if we win,” Marchinton laughed.
“He’s never been one to be graceful in victory, Marcho, but hopefully he’s eating some humble pie come Saturday night,” Webber laughed.
“It’ll be good fun and there is a bit of rivalry between us, there’s been a bit of banter too, but at the end of the day we’re just two players out on the field so it’s about doing the job for the team.
“It would be the cherry on top getting bragging rights over him though.”
Adding a little bit of extra spark to the pair’s rivalry, they were both in the top five for the competition’s player of the year award, eventually won by Webber’s teammate and five-eighth Brad Glasson.
“I hate to admit it but I actually think Buzz has probably been the best player all season, even though he didn’t win that award,” Marchinton said, with a grimace.
“He’s a real go-to for them out in the backs, so shutting him down even a little bit will be a big goal for us on Saturday.”
As Marchinton said, Emus won through to the grand final by downing Bulldogs in the major semi a fortnight ago, while the Bathurst side earned its place with a 27-nil hammering of Cowra in last weekend’s preliminary play-off.
It was wet for a lot of last weekend’s clash too and is expected to be again this weekend, and Webber said doing a job on Cowra in those conditions puts his side in good stead should Endeavour Oval become a quagmire.
“We take a lot of confidence from that result last weekend and I have noticed it’s supposed to be wet, but even so, we fell one point short of Emus in the wet earlier this season and we probably only played for three quarters of that game,” Webber explained.
“It’s just about the 80-minute performance, we’ve been building towards it all season and hopefully it comes this weekend. We’ve forgotten about any past results, it’s just about this weekend.”
“Buzz is right, those past results probably don’t count for much,” Marchinton said.
“I mean, it gives us a lot of confidence knowing they haven’t beaten us at Endeavour Oval but I’m sure they’ll throw something different at us on Saturday.
“We’ve trained well, we’ve really ramped it up in the last two weeks and everyone’s really excited for it, we just need to take that out onto the field now.”
Saturday’s massive decider, which rekindles the two clubs’ rivalry from the turn of the century, kicks off at 3.30pm at Endeavour Oval.
- ORANGE EMUS: 1 Matt Findlay, 2 Tom Goolagong, 3 Nas Havealeta, 4 Sam McLean, 5 Nick Hughes-Clapp, 6 Jack Marchinton, 7 Jayden Norris, 8 Scott McLean, 9 Matt Clark, 10 Kyran Bubb, 11 Tom Green, 12 Lachie Harris, 13 Levi Russell, 14 Harry Cummins, 15 Nigel Staniforth ©; Bench:16 Rob Thorburn, 17 Michael Graham, 18 Simon Badgery, 19 TJ Cunynghame, 20 Harry Hamilton, 21 Sam Greatbatch, 22 AJ Sykes, 23 Aidan Baker, 24 Matt Campbell
- BATHURST BULLDOGS: 1 Aaron Booby, 2 Sean Fogarty, 3 Joel Harper, 4 Mark Donnelly, 5 Justin Mobbs, 6 Harry Peacock, 7 Alex Weal, 8 Peter Fitzsimmons ©, 9 Josh Oxley, 10 Brad Glasson, 11 Ben Sheppeard, 12 Adam Miles, 13 Harry Webber, 14 Will Oldham, 15 Josh Weekes; Bench: 16 Liam Berry, 17 Dylan Carter, 18 Travis Gibson, 19 Adam Dwyer, 20 Kurt Weekes, 21 Scott Johnston, 22 Adam Powell, 23 Phil Tonkin, 24 Riley Hanrahan