NORMALLY at this point of the season they would be tuning up for the finals but the fact that they’re not won’t take anything away from the contest when Narrabri and Moree meet at Dangar Park today.
The rivalry runs deep between the two and, with both looking to put some shine to their finals disappointments, the scene is set for a typical tough stoush.
The Bulls are still a mathematical chance of sneaking into the finals but need a few things to go their way.
They not only need to beat the Blue Boars with maximum points but Barraba to pull off the upset of the season and topple Pirates.
It is a slim hope and the Bulls aren’t really thinking finals.
They’re just wanting to finish the season off on a good note and what better way than knocking-off their long-time foes.
“It’s always a good grudge match,” Bulls coach Jamie Hardman said.
He said it won’t matter that neither side made the finals – for what would be the first time in a long while.
“It’ll be as tough as ever,” he said.
They were in finals contention for most of the season.
It only really unravelled a couple of weeks ago, and Hardman said beating the Blue Boars would make their season a lot better than it might otherwise be.
Last week they employed a no-kicking policy and they’ll be looking to play a similar type of game today.
“We want to try to run the ball,” Hardman said.
How well they do that will depend on how they fare in the forward battle.
“We’re expecting them to be tough in the forwards,” Hardman said.
“If we dominate them in the forwards, that will be the big area – that will let our backs have a go.”
They took the points back in the first round but Hardman acknowledged the Blue Boars were struggling a bit for numbers then.
“We’ll be looking for an 80-minute performance and will be trying to dominate early,” he said.
Scone will also be looking for a big final performance and has Walcha in its sights.
The Brumbies have troubled the top sides at home and would love to claim a finals-bound scalp, and the Rams know they’ll have to be at the top of their game.
“We’ve got to go down fully committed otherwise we’ll get done,” Rams coach Barry Hoy said.
They know the repercussions if they do.
It could cost them second spot. After working hard to get that second chance they don’t want to fall at the final hurdle.
They know they’re in for a physical battle.
“They’re a very physical side,” Hoy said.
“You’ve got to be smart with how you take them on.”
It’s a matter of playing to their strength, which is their speed out wide.
Last time that was where they did the damage against the Brumbies.
In other games, Tamworth hosts Quirindi.