MOREE has all season prided itself on its defence, and it came to the fore on Saturday.
It was one of the critical factors as the Bulls got their hands back on the silverware they held eight times between 1998 and 2007.
On Saturday they showed why they were the team to beat all season, piling on 28 unanswered points to thwart Narrabri’s title hopes 41-15.
The first half was an absorbing contest, with the lead changing hands several times and neither side never more than a try ahead, until the final few minutes that is.
In that last three minutes the game changed dramatically, with the Bulls crossing twice, and, from looking at a two-point deficit, they went into the break 25-15 ahead.
Man of the match Damiem Meppem scored the first, slicing through a hole and then stepping around Narrabri fullback Michael Cain to score his second try of the game.
Then with 30 seconds to go, Narrabri five-eighth Brenton Cochrane coughed the ball up virtually straight into Meppem’s arms.
He then sent the ball out to winger Joe Henderson, who had too much pace for the fractured Blue Boar defence and scooted down the right touch to score.
Meppem then pushed their advantage out to 13 points early in the second half and from there the Bulls took charge.
“We upped the ante in the second half,” Bulls captain Ben Colley said.
It was something they spoke about at half-time and the Blue Boars seemed to have no answer.
“We weren’t that happy with the first half,” Bulls coach Damien Kelly said.
“I thought we could have played a lot better, which we did in the second half.”
He thought they were pretty lucky to have a 10-point lead.
“That was a bit of a bonus. We weren’t playing like we had a 10-point lead,” he said.
Still, it was a lead, and in a grand final that’s where you want to be.
“In finals football it doesn’t take much of a lead to be able to hold it,” Colley said.
Both he and Kelly alluded to their defence, and how good it was.
“Our defence was second to none,” Colley said.
“We knew we had points in us, we just had to shut them down, and we did.”
He said in the last few games they had probably been a bit flat in defence and sides had been finding a few holes.
That wasn’t the case on Saturday.
“I thought we defended very well,” Kelly said.
“Twice we kept them out from scrums 5m out.”
When he was referring to was mid-way through the second half.
After managing to scramble back and deny winger Henri Knight only metres out from the line, they then had to contend with the Blue Boars on their line for about five minutes.
But there was no way through for the Blue Boars who eventually knocked on.
It was a bit of a pivotal moment, Kelly thought.
They were only 13 up at the time and a try would have got the Blue Boars within a try.
As it was, the Bulls scored nine minutes later through winger Sam Bacigalupo.
That really took the sting out of the Blue Boars and, when Meppem landed his fourth penalty a couple of minutes later, Kelly started to breathe a bit easier.
“We were only winning by 13 for a long time,” he said.
“When we got 21 out we started to have a bit of fun.”