MOREE was brought crashing back down from the high of its heroics against Pirates with the old enemy striking again at Weebolla Oval on Saturday.
As it did in the corresponding game last season, Narrabri burst the Bulls bubble, rolling them 31-23.
The win sees the Blue Boars push six points clear at the top with a late penalty denying the Bulls a bonus point.
It was a relatively tight round in the top tier with Gunnedah just getting home 32-27 over Inverell in their clash in Gunnedah.
The Highlanders were desperate for the win and threw everything they had at the Red Devils but the home side had just a bit too much muscle in the forwards.
Up at Moree it was the opposite story with the Blue Boars backs proving the difference.
“Our forwards were pretty evenly matched,” Blue Boars co-coach Tom Cullen said.
“In the backs we had it over them.”
With the set pieces working well and providing good front-foot ball for the backs, they made some good inroads through their backline channels.
It wasn’t generally one of their better performances, but they got the win, which was the important thing.
Cullen said the game wasn’t as fierce and physical as their stalemate two weeks ago.
Neither was it as defensive-orientated with both sides showing a willingness to throw the ball around.
Last time both teams were a bit scared to do that, Cullen thought.
It worked for the Blue Boars, with Brenton Cochrane playing the conductor role well.
He had the backs running well off him.
“The guys were running really good lines,” Cullen said.
That said they couldn’t really get into “good attacking zones”.
Most of their tries were scored from distance.
“Only one was scored within the 22, the others were runaway tries,” Cullen said.
He said their first half was poor, even though they went into the break four up.
“We weren’t very enthusiastic,” he said.
They did pick that up in the second half.
Cochrane was their best and got the three points.
Second rower Henry Curtin got the two with Todd Farrer and Michael Cain sharing the one.
Bulls coach Damien Kelly said it was a very lethargic effort from his side.
“We were pretty dreadful, very flat,” Kelly said.
“There was no enthusiasm.”
“How we’ve only got beaten by eight points I don’t know. Narrabri should have beaten us by 30.”
Even in the forwards, which has been their strength, they were standoffish.
They didn’t really impose themselves on the game at all.
Defensively too they were off their game.
“Defensively as a team we didn’t get off the line,” Kelly said.
“It was very disappointing considering, who we were playing and what we have been doing.”
Heath Riggs was adjudged their best at fullback, followed by number eight Matt Wannan and second rower Nick Gelling.