GALLERY, VIDEO: Lasagavibau shines in Lions preliminary final win over Roos

HE'S been the focal point of their attack all season, and an electrifying Joe Lasagavibau has rocketed Orange City into this year's Blowes Clothing Cup grand final courtesy of a 33-15 win over defending premiers Dubbo Roos.

The Fijian fullback tore the Roos to shreds, breaking the line on four occasions as well as laying on two of City's five tries, the first for Sam Coote and then later for Cameron Cole in the Pride Park preliminary final.

It's the sort of form that will have Orange Emus on Joey-watch come kick-off in next Saturday's decider at Endeavour Oval, but stopping the elusive custodian in the first all-Orange Central West Rugby Union first grade grand final since 1991, on Saturday's evidence at least, may well be an impossible task.

Deflecting most of the attention on to his forwards, Lasagavibau had a somewhat ominous warning for Emus ahead of next weekend's blockbuster too.

The Lions can get better.

"People might say we clicked," Lasagavibau said.

"But for us boys, week in week out, we've got to improve. We have to improve today into the last match of the year.

"I'm sure we're confident. We'll work hard during the week and come Saturday we'll give it our very best."

VIDEO: Orange City Lions Joey Lasagavibau talks after Saturday's win:

Orange City started the better of the two finals combatants in a blistering opening five minutes, but it was Dubbo who seriously threatened for first points.

The visitors entrenched themselves in Lions' territory for the first 10 minutes, peppering Orange City's line repeatedly.

But, in a telling blow, Dubbo was denied each time.

And after deflecting a throng of Roos' attacking raids, City earned one of their own at the 15-minute mark, and Lasagavibau made it count.

Skipping around his opposite, Lasagavibau then found space, drew the fullback and produced a stunning inside pass for Sam Coote to touchdown, posting the game's first five-pointer to take the hosts' lead to 5-nil.

It was, however, a short lived advantage.

A clear stand-out for Roos all game, Elias Kinscher pounced on a lose City pass to score Dubbo's first points, with the boot of Hena Tuatea edging the visitors out to a 7-5 lead.

at the 25-minute mark Sam Dwyer scored a strong centre's try, Jake Davis' conversion putting the Lions up 12-7 before a successful Tuatea penalty goal pinned that margin back to just two points by the half-time break.

City started well in the second period, Tatafu Na'aniumotu scoring a rampaging try that, along with the Davis conversion, shot City out to a 19-10 lead nine minutes into the term before Dubbo, again, turned things in their favour.

Buoyed by another stint of territory and possession, Roos had every opportunity to make a game of the preliminary final.

Execution was the difference though.

Where Lasagavibau shone, Roos shot themselves in the foot, twice throwing forward passes in the lead-up to certain tries when the margin was just nine points.

Not prepared to keep Dubbo's faint grand final hope alive any longer, Lasagavibau shot Cameron Cole through a gaping hole on the half-way line, the classy five-eighth's speed doing the rest in a stunning try.

Davis nailed the sideline conversion to bump the Lions out to 26-10.

VIDEO: Dubbo Kangaroos Shaun McHugh talks after Saturday's loss:

With 20 minutes to go, that was effectively it.

Orange City compiled a brilliant length-of-the-field, counter-attack try to Tom Fisher - the lead up work between Lasagavibau and Davis brilliant - before Tuatea scored a late consolation try for the visitors in the 33-15 result.

Visibly disappointed in the outcome, Roos skipper Shaun McHugh said execution cost the defending premiers a shot at consecutive titles.

"Simple as that," he said.

"I think we missed too many one-up tackles and against a backline like that you can't do it. 

"Disappointing, but halfway through the first round of footy I don't think anyone would have thought Dubbo Roos would be here against City.

"We're pleased with the season, but up until today we were defending premiers."

Lasagavibau praised his side's mettle when faced with an early Roos barrage. 

"We talked about defence last week," he said.

"Today we came together, worked together as a unit. Defence was the key today.

"I reckon for every team, defence wins game.

"Emus at their home ground will come at us full 100 per cent ... we've got to be ready."

ORANGE CITY LIONS 33 (Tatafu Na'aniumotu, Cameron Cole, Tom Fisher, Sam Coote, Sam Dwyer tries; Jake Davis 4 conv) def DUBBO ROOS 15 (Elias Kinscher, Hena Tuatea tries; Hena Tuatea conv, pen goal).

This story GALLERY, VIDEO: Lasagavibau shines in Lions preliminary final win over Roos first appeared on Central Western Daily.


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