GUNNEDAH tore Quirindi apart in the second half to jump back into the top five.
The Red Devils remedied their last-round disappointment against Pirates in emphatic fashion, thrashing the Lions 64-nil.
Moree and Pirates had to fight harder for their wins.
Both were missing a handful of key players but got the job done, with Moree accounting for Inverell 26-12 at Inverell and Pirates kicking away in the second half to post a 25-9 win at Walcha.
The Rams took it up to them and into the second half it was only 6-3.
But Pirates got their game together in the last 30 minutes to run away with a 16-point win.
The Bulls scored the bulk of their points in the first half and went into halftime with a 19-point lead.
At Gunnedah, the home side totally blitzed the Lions in the second half.
They weren’t quite on their game in the first half and were only 19-nil up at halftime.
“We probably rushed things a bit too much,” co-coach Nik Hannaford said.
The forwards’ tight work was quite good but their ball control “wasn’t great”.
“A few stray passes, a few dropped balls and things like that,” Hannaford said.
“Once we got that sorted out in the second half it opened up pretty well.”
Their first-half tries all came from driving mauls.
That turned that around in the second half, with the majority of their tries coming from the backs – after they had consolidated in the forwards.
They got back the rhythm that was missing against Pirates last week.
“We found a bit of rhythm and momentum in the backs,” Hannaford said.
Despite that, the forwards dominated the points, with hooker Matt Hannay picking up the three and players’ player, prop Cameron Kesby, the two and number eight Joe Gardner the one.
In the backs, Dave Heyman, James Perrett and Scott Mitchell all had particularly strong games.
It was a great turnaround for the Red Devils after failing to score a point against Pirates.
Another positive was they didn’t sustain any serious injuries.
They have had a pretty poor run.
The win took them to level with the Highlanders on points and on the cusp of the five.
The Bulls remain on top with a one-point advantage over Narrari.