MOREE has chalked up some big wins this season but Saturday’s over Pirates will go down as one of the Bulls’ best.
They really had to dig deep after being reduced to 14 for the second half and last six minutes of the first half.
That itself is a huge effort but against a side the calibre of Pirates, and at home, adds that bit more gloss to the 28-11 result.
It was an important win too.
“We didn’t get a result at Narrabri,” coach Damien Kelly said.
“If we lost today we would have dropped further away from the top.”
He had said leading in that they had to play a lot smarter than they did their earlier unsuccessful visit, and felt they did that.
They played the territory game a lot better in the second half.
That became even more imperative when breakaway Ben Colley was red-carded.
With only 14 they couldn’t afford to be pinned in their half.
“It’s never easy losing a player,” Kelly said.
“Losing a player of Ben’s calibre made a huge difference.”
Not that it really seemed to show, with Kelly commenting that they played like they still had 15 out there.
The Bulls fancied their chances in the forwards, particularly the scrum, and asserted their dominance early.
That helped them tie Pirates down in their half, but, as was the case in their earlier meeting, they couldn’t turn their territory dominance into points.
“Too much ball for not enough reward,” Kelly said.
“We were in their 22 for probably 20 minutes. To not score points was annoying.”
They looked like they were over a couple of times.
Once they got pulled up for truck and trailer. Another time they knocked on over the line.
Eventually they did manage to break Pirates’ defence.
It didn’t come from the pushover scrum or pick and drive that looked likely but through the backs.
They probably should have looked to spread it more often.
“We just probably went one too many pick and drives,” Kelly said.
“We probably got a bit greedy.
“We probably only needed to go two or three and then go wide.”
Fortunately, their lack of points didn’t cost them this time, although it was looking a bit dicey when Pirates scored in the opening minutes of the second half.
It did put them behind but probably worked out to be a good thing.
“That woke us up a bit,” Kelly said.
“At half-time all we heard was positives.
“We probably patted ourselves on the backs too much.”
Ciaran O’Gorman has been excellent for them every week and was again.
He really stepped up in Colley’s absence.
Ben Carrigan and Simon Hall were also good.
It doesn’t get any easier for the Bulls with a re-match with the Blue Boars this weekend.