There’s a sense of ‘David versus Goliath’ to this Sunday’s Group 10 premier league meeting between St Pat’s and Orange CYMS.
A plucky Pat’s outfit aiming to keep in touch with the top five will have to get through an undefeated green machine who romped home by 42 points over the Saints in round one.
Pat’s have had two weeks to recover after a heavy loss to the Orange Hawks, their third defeat in four games.
There’s clearly a lot to turn around if Pat’s want to become giant slayers at the Sportsground this weekend.
However, Saints coach Kurt Hancock believes it can happen if his team stick close to the new values he’s set for his side going into the second half of the season.
“Training was the first time we’d touched the ball in a week but they all looked really good,” he said.
“We’ve reset some goals … and we have started to focus not on how we go about winning a game, but making sure stick to the team values we’ve set. Those are the values we want to carry over heading to the new facility in 2018.
“The boys are keen to turn things around and they trained really well on Tuesday. We had a great team bonding session.
“We’ve been starting to go against what we are as a football team and we’ve got to change that.”
Hancock has enjoyed matches against CYMS throughout his time with Pat’s.
He’s determined to keep his winning record against the Orange club intact.
“We’ve played seven times since 2014 and we have a 4-3 record against them. We’ve kept that record up even when we’ve been struggling at times,” Hancock said.
We’ve been starting to go against what we are as a football team and we’ve got to change that.
“CYMS haven’t lost a game and they’ve got Chris Bamford leading the way, who is one of the best front rowers the Western region has seen for some time. Then there’s another 10 or so guys who have been involved in the rep footy system.
“We have a really healthy rivalry with CYMS and both clubs get along pretty well. It’s always a good day of footy.”
The Pat’s squad could be bolstered by the return of Jack Mackey to the bench. The foward has been out since the pre-season with an injury.
Hudson White returns to the team to take the starting hooker position.
It’s brings Pat’s close to a full strength team.
The timing couldn’t have been better considering their run of upcoming games.
“We must take something out of this season. The next month is a tough one with CYMS, Dragons and Panthers ... but in saying that we were in those games for some period of time earlier in the year,” Hancock said.
“We’re in a position now that we haven’t been in for a long time. I’ve been coaching for 13 years now and as a coach I’ve never missed a semi-final. I don’t want that to change now.
“If we want that to happen then we’ve got to stick together and keep to those values.”
Pat’s sit just two points behind fifth placed Cowra Magpies, but a poor point difference for the Saints makes this rest of the year and uphill battle.
Sunday’s Kick-off at the Sportsground is 2.15pm.