James Donato primed for Beasties’ showdown with Two Blues in Orange

Eastern Suburbs’ annual Beach to Bush Round in Orange is an event James Donato circles in the calendar every year, but this weekend’s trip west is slightly more momentous for the burly back-rower.

Although it’s Easts’ fourth trip to Orange, Saturday’s round five showdown with Western Sydney at Wade Park will be the 23-year-old’s first Shute Shield appearance in his hometown.

The Orange City Lions junior has primarily plied his trade in the Beasties’ lower grades in recent years, along with earning sporadic top flight starts and making regular appearances off the bench.