IF it was a finale, then Saturday was a perfect one for Moree coach Damien Kelly.
Kelly has battled with a neck injury this season and had hinted before Saturday’s grand final it might be his last game in a Bullsjersey.
He couldn’t have asked for a much better send-off – if it was – with the Bulls claiming their first premiership in six years, beating arch-rivals Narrabri to do it, and Kelly scoring the try to take them to 41-15.
Even if he didn’t know it himself.
“I thought I was on the five metre line,” he said.
“I didn’t even know I’d scored.”
The crowd did, with a huge cheer erupting.
One of the Bulls’ favourite sons, Kelly is a bit of a cult figure around the club.
Every time he touched the ball on Saturday the chant of go “Recko” went up.
It got louder as the game wore on and they edged closer to victory.
Kelly’s try came at the tail of a strong second half from the Bulls.
They scored 16 unanswered points to turn a 10-point half-time lead into an emphatic victory.
“To put that many points on Narrabri in a final is fantastic,” Kelly said.
He couldn’t remember doing that too many times before.
It was hot out there and Kelly admitted he was doing it tough for a little while, but he wasn’t leaving the field.
“They would have had to drag me off that field today,” he said.
Saturday was the second grand final he’d been involved in with the Bulls since coming back from Scotland mid-way through 2011.
He played in a few before he left and was part of the last three of the Bulls’ historic four straight between 1998 and 2001.
Back then he admits he probably didn’t know how much work it took to win a premiership.
He does now.
“We started out here in January,” he said.
When he took over the coaching reins, with Peter Copeman, he wasn’t sure what their side would look like.
The forward pack was quite similar.
“But in the backs we didn’t know what side we were going to have,” he said.
It turned out a pretty good one, with the arrival of the likes of Damiem Meppem, Henry Noble, Sam Bacigalupo and Angus Boileau.
“Those four blokes turning up have been one of the big differences between this year and last year,” Kelly said.
“Having that bit of extra pace in the backs.”
Skipper Ben Colley alluded to that too.
“We’ve got some real finishers and it showed today,” Colley said.
Colley was one of three survivors from the side that won in 2007.
Heath Riggs and Matt Wannan also started that day.
All three played in different positions to what they did Saturday.
Back then, Wannan wore the six, and Colley and Riggs paired up in the centres.
On Saturday, Colley was at seven, Wannan eight and Riggs at fullback.