ARMIDALE stretched its gap at the top with a good win over Guyra on Saturday but the order of the chasing pack reshuffled, with Barbarians the big movers.
They jumped from the bottom of the table to third with their 20-13 win over Robb College.
It also pushed the Ghosts down to the tail, albeit only by a point, after they went down to the competition leaders 32-19.
The Blues weren’t at the top of their game but still produced the result.
“To win by 13 points and not play that flash is pretty good,” Blues co-coach Anthony McMillan said.
It wasn’t really until late in the game that they were comfortable.
“10 minutes into the second half it could have gone either way,” he said.
That said, he always felt they were on top.
They just couldn’t really put it together.
“Nothing sort of gelled for us,” McMillan said.
“Probably 70 per cent of the game we struggled to put anything together.
“Once we got it right we looked really good.”
They struggled to stick to their structures and were shifting the ball sideways and running sideways in the backs.
“Guyra, to their credit, outenthused us most of the game,” McMillan said.
He thought their physicality was a big factor.
“I think their physicality might have slowed up our boys,” McMillan said.
After playing the uni-based sides the last few weeks, it took them a while to absorb it.
John Roberts was outstanding at fullback and got the three points.
Richard Cummings picked up the two and Jack Hodges the one.
Ghosts coach Don Carruthers was disappointed with the result but happy with the way they played, especially with the patched-up backline they had.
“We just lacked a bit of cohesion,” he said.
They had three or four changes to the backs, and found it a little bit difficult.
The other key point was the rucks.
“We allowed them to control the rucks,” he said.
“We weren’t coming in as we did against Robb.”
Vernon Horne scored two tries and probably could have had three, and topped the points, followed by Jim Super and Ray Ika and Rob Ivey.