Orange CYMS require the luck of the Gods
ARRIVING at Lithgow last Sunday for the Group 10 grand final, amongst the sun, lower grade action and sea of fans entering Tony Luchetti Sportsground, you got the feeling it wasn’t going to be Orange CYMS’ day.
Conditions were perfectly suited to the green and golds’ slick backline, more so than Lithgow’s behemoth pack.
But no one could have predicted what would happen next.
Least of all its impact.
CYMS - rightly or wrongly - turned their backs on the capacity crowd in Lithgow’s grand stand as well as the hundreds of spectators layered back from the fence for the national anthem before the decider kick-off.
The move was an innocent one given CYMS simply turned to face their own spectators who’d made the 90 minute trip and sat themselves on the opposite side of the ground.
But the Workies faithful didn’t care.
It sent them into a frenzy.
It was the turning point before a whistle had even been blown.
Fuelled by the hurt of losing the last four grand finals they’ve contested as well as the incessant cheering from the crowd, Workies were as brutally dominant any Group 10 premier league side has been in a long time.
Big men Chris Rhodes and Matt Mizzi were relentless in attack and defence while Jono and Brendon Van Veen were at their best, with the former brother’s renowned niggle the catalyst for a game-winning half of footy.
It rattled CYMS.
The then two-time defending premiers had the wind at their backs in the opening 40 minutes but seemed legless.
Boasting a 22-0 advantage at half-time Lithgow had one hand on the trophy.
The hosts then cruised out to a 40-6 lead before late consolation tries brought the final margin to 40-14.
Lithgow defeated CYMS like no other side in the competition has been able to over the last three years.
Effectively, Lithgow bullied them. And it dented CYMS’ mettle.
For one reason or another, whether it was because of Lithgow’s sheer brutality in the middle of the ruck or the age old adage of defending one premiership, let alone two, is always harder than winning one finally caught up with them, CYMS simply weren’t themselves.
“I wouldn’t say they got in our heads,” Sullivan said.
“If you look at the year, we both had two wins and a draw. But like I said, credit to them they got it when it counts at the back end of the year.”
Sullivan is forever full of praise for his players.
Not last Sunday.
“I don’t think we had a good player,” he later added.
“I don’t think anyone can take credit for having a good game.”
Just how his side performs the next time they come up against Lithgow, though, will be the interesting point.
Let’s hope the rugby league Gods are smiling.