Moree Bulls need to fix fadeouts before grand final

UNDOUBTEDLY high on the list of things to fix before the grand final for Moree will be the lapses that saw them almost

squander an 18-point lead in Saturday’s major semi-final and miss the chance to host another grand final.
The Bulls got there in the end 31-27 but not without a scare, with the Blue Boars closing to within a point with just over 10 minutes to go.

It was an all too familiar scenario for Bulls co-coach Simon Hall after the same happened when they played the Blue Boars two weeks ago.

Only this time he was confined to the sidelines after suffering a broken arm in that last game against the Blue Boars.

Saturday was, similar to then, a game of two halves.

“The first half was good,” Hall said.

Even the Blue Boars’ late try he wasn’t too perturbed about.

He was almost resigned to it, with the Blue Boars camped on their line for a good few minutes.

“We were pretty happy at half-time,” he said.

“We talked about coming out and going again in the second half.”
But that didn’t happen.

“We were a bit flat,” Hall said.

It’s been a problem in a few games – they just drop off.

“It’s something we’ve been trying to put our finger on for a few weeks,” Hall said.

It started from the kick-off with the ball bouncing into touch but the Blue Boars winning it back at the lineout.

The Blue Boars scored from that to close to within six.

The Bulls had the chance to hit straight back but, after a 20m driving maul, knocked on going wide.

They got good value from the maul and the Blue Boars attempting to pull one down earned them a penalty try to kick back out

to a 13-point lead with half an hour to go.

“The rolling was really pleasing,” Hall said.

“That’s something we’ve been working on.”

Another pleasing aspect was their scrambling defence.

Any breaks Narrabri made they scrambled well to get back and cover.

And they had to do some covering, especially when they were reduced to 14 for 10 minutes with winger Sam Bacigalupo yellow-carded.

Hall said they were confident that if they could control the field position and control possession they could hold on, but that was the problem.

That said, they did close the game out pretty well.

“The last 10 was pretty pleasing,” Hall said.

“We did step up there.

“We put it in behind Narrabri and backed our defence to come up with the goods.”

“A few of the boys also came off with some big plays, big turnovers.”

None more so than skipper Ben Colley, who forced the final-minute penalty that got the Bulls home.

The Blue Boars had held the ball for six or seven phases and were making some ground.

Prop Dan Taunton also pulled off a good pilfer at the end.