Narrabri outpoints Brumbies on the flanks

NARRABRI was unhampered by the cold and wet conditions as it outgunned Scone in their minor semi-final replay at Dangar Park on Saturday. 

The Blue Boars had too much strikepower for the Brumbies out wide and chalked up a 55-7 win.

But as good as it looks on the scoreboard, the Blue Boars weren’t satisfied with elements of the performance.

“It was the worst game we’ve played all year,” co-coach Tom Cullen said.

That stemmed from their inability to control the breakdown.

“Scone really spoiled our ball at the breakdown, slowed our ball down,” Cullen said. 

“That really broke down our tempo.”

As a consequence, “we didn’t look very structured in our phase play”.

But they were too good out wide.

With the Brumbies committing a lot of numbers to the breakdown, there was space out wide, and the Blue Boars exploited it.

“We were getting shut down around the ruck so after three or four phases we went bang out wide,” Cullen said.

“Our attack was very sharp in spurts.” 

They ran in nine tries, with prop Henry Curtin and fullback Brenton Cochrane both crossing for doubles.

The Brumbies found things a lot harder and could only manage the one try.

“Our defence was definitely one of the best parts of our game,” Cullen said.

“We only conceded seven points.” 

That followed five the week before, and none the game before that.

Cochrane was dynamic at fullback and hard to go past for the three points.

“He had one of his strongest games of the season,” Cullen said. 

Breakaway Tim O’Brien got the two and got a lot of turnover ball. 

Winger Michael Cain and second-rower Josh Cameron shared the one.

The Brumbies mirrored a lot of what Cullen said and didn’t feel the scoreline told the story of the game.

“I thought we dominated them at the breakdown,” co-coach Ben McRae said.

Their aggression there was fantastic, he said.

“We spoiled (Matt) Schwager well at half-back,” he said.

“We knew disrupting him would be the key.” 

McRae thought their defence in the forwards and the set pieces were also both good.

“Unfortunately we were four or five players short from last week,” he said.

They were tied up with work commitments, and more so in the backs it hurt them.

“We were caught short in the backline,” McRae said.

“Cochrane came into his own out wide.” 

He  caused them a bit of grief in the first half. They did better on him in the second half, and will, McRae said, take a lot of positives out of the game – despite the loss.

Hooker Lourens Le-Grange, number eight Murray Wilkinson and prop Kurt Pickett, who came in for Country triallist Ryan Jackson, were the Brumbies’ best.

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