Game changer: 2016 Group 10 local derby pushed back to round seven
By MATT FINDLAY
FOR the first time since 2011, Orange CYMS and Orange Hawks will not kick off the Group 10 Rugby League season with a first round local derby at Wade Park.
An Orange local derby in round one has been an undeniably successful fixture of the Group 10 draw for the past four seasons - with CYMS triumphing thrice and Hawks once - but in 2016 the two clubs won’t face off until round seven.
“It’ll be different (not having a local derby in round one),” CYMS player-coach Mick Sullivan said.
“I don’t really know (if the guys are disappointed), I think the later local derby will definitely be a better gauge of how the two sides are going though, and it could end up being a good thing, there could be a really big build up to it in round seven.
“Hopefully at that time of year both sides are coming into the game with a bit of form.”
Group 10 released its 2016 fixtures list early this week, and instead of an opening round grudge match, defending premiers CYMS will travel to Oberon to take on the Tigers while Hawks will host Bathurst Panthers in round one.
“All the talk is that Oberon have [done well] recruitment wise and will have a good year,” Sullivan said.
“But it’s good for us to get that road trip out of the way early when the weather will be a bit warmer.”
CYMS and Hawks boast enviable schedules, with both sides enjoying four home and away games in each half of the draw.
Thanks to the local derbies being late in the draw, round seven and 16, both sides will have the luxury of playing at least half of their final four games in Orange.
However, based on the 2015 season and player movements, the two sides have arguably the toughest runs home of any team - outside of Bathurst St Pat’s, who face three of last year’s top five in the last month of the season.
The two blues are scheduled to play Oberon, CYMS, Lithgow Workies and the seemingly inevitably resurgent Cowra Magpies in the final four rounds of the season, while CYMS will clash with Mudgee, Hawks, Blayney and St Pat’s.