‘An amazing effort’: Orange claims Junior State Cup bronze
Story by Matt Findlay - Central Western Daily
Months of preparation went into City of Orange Touch Association’s (COTA) Junior State Cup campaign at Port Macquarie last weekend but all the hard work paid off, with one side claiming bronze and three more finishing inside the top 16 in NSW.
COTA’s under-10 girls’ side, coached by Lauren Williams and Daryl Cole, dominated its division to claim the bronze medal while the under-18 boys’, under-14 boys’ and under-14 girls’ sides all made the round of 16 before bowing out.
Cole said he’d expected the side, brimming with talent, to do well.
A semi-final showing well and truly exceeded those expectations though.
“It was crazy, honestly I’d have been disappointed if the girls hadn’t made it through to the final eight but to then go on and make it to the top four as well was amazing,” Cole enthused.
“I’ve been coaching (the under-10 girls’ side) for the last three years and it’s the best result I’ve been a part of, the girls did an incredible job.”
After finishing second in pool C with four wins, a loss and a draw, Orange faced the Central Coast Dolphins in the round of 16.
The Thunder dominated.
Cole and Williams’ troops stunned the Dolphins, producing a marvellous performance to win 7-0. Then, they faced perennial heavyweights Manly in the quarter-finals.
“We won that one 4-3, it was a pretty big scalp for the girls to get,” Cole explained.
To put in perspective how big a scalp, the Sea Eagles played in six of the 10 divisions’ grand finals, winning three. They also claimed the overall club championship, by 39 points from Northern Beaches.
That pushed Orange into the semi-finals, where it was downed 5-0 by eventual runners-up Singleton.
“It’s a different scoring system (in finals) though. The first try is worth three, every other is worth two so it was really only 2-0,” Cole explained.
“We hung in there with Singleton for a while, but I think after such a tough semi-final the girls were a bit burnt out. You could probably say we played our grand final in the quarter-final.
“It’s still an amazing effort though and the girls were all very excited.
“I’m not really sure what made the difference (for Orange compared to others), the girls really played for each other though and just had a red-hot crack.”
Cole said there’s every chance the group could win a state title in future years, should they stay together.
“I think so. There’s a of talent there and Loz (Williams) is continuing as coach I think,” Cole said.