Bulls bring decider home

BullsvBoarsThe Northern Daily Leader; Aug. 16, 2015, 8:30 p.m.

MOREE survived a second half surge from Narrabri to get the win and this time the prize they were after too.

After missing out by just a point on the minor premiership, the Bulls got their revenge at Dangar Park on Saturday outlasting the defending premiers 31-27 to secure a home grand final.

It was another epic between the long-time rivals, and as in their earlier encounters went right down to the wire.

The last was just a fortnight ago, and Saturday had a lot of the hallmarks of that game.

The Bulls dominated the better part of the first half, pulling out to a 21-3 lead after half an hour.

But just as they did a fortnight ago the Blue Boars clawed their way back into it, and after scoring in the couple of minutes either

side of half-time got back to within one with just over 11 minutes to play. It was dejavu for the Bulls with the Blue Boars

dragging themselves back to within one point two weeks ago.

Then they kicked a late penalty to seal the win.

On Saturday it again fell to Ben Carrigan to kick them to safety with the five-eighth landing a penalty from just inside their half after the buzzer.

Skipper Ben Colley had earned the penalty, getting over the top of the ball and forcing the Blue Boars to hold on.

It was one of a few inspirational efforts in those closing minutes.

Heath Riggs provided another, scampering back in cover and saving the day after Adam O’Neile had spilled the ball and Blue Boars skipper Matt Schwager chipped through into open space.

Bulls co-coach Simon Hall was certainly never comfortable until the final whistle.

Even that last kick, things could have gone awry.

“It was a bit of dejavu, getting in front and then just lapsing and letting them back in the game,” he said.

“It was good to nut it out get the win.”

The tone of the first half was set virtually from the kick-off with the Blue Boars knocking on after four or five phases.

From the scrum the Bulls spread it wide, Carrigan holding up the pass for Jordan Cosh who steamed straight through.

Schwager got the home side on the board minutes later but from there the Bulls took a stranglehold with Matt Wannan and Sam Bacigalupo crossing to put them 18 up with just under 10 minutes to go in the first half.

The Blue Boars needed a spark and found it through Henry Curtin, Schwager adding the extras to make it 20-10 at the break.

Curtin closed the gap further minutes into the second half after the Bulls had scrambled back to somehow prevent Tom Lynch from scoring.

A penalty try gave the Bulls a bit of a reprieve after the Blue Boars were adjudged to have pulled down the maul.

To add insult they also lost Beau Brummell to the bin for 10.

They immediately hit back though with hooker Luke Findley, lurking outwide, selling the dummy and going straight through to make it 28-20 with 30 to go.

It stayed that until replacement backrower Todd Farrer crashed over to set it up for a thrilling finish.

Not surprisingly Blue Boars coach Hunter Harley pointed to the start as what cost them.

“We made too many errors early on in that first 25,” Harley said.

“Moree we know they started well. They are a big physical side, and any side with that size is going to get a roll on when they’ve got a full head of steam.”

They knew they could finish the stronger but let themselves too much work to do.