Moree and Pirates into grand finals

MOREE will have the chance to push for back to back second grade titles after charging into the grand final with a 37-20 win over Pirates in the Tier 1 major semi-final at Narrabri on Saturday.

Pirates’ colts’ sides fared better, with both beating cross-town rivals Tamworth to win through to their respective deciders.

The 16s held on to get home by four.

After leading 19-10 at half-time, they were kept scoreless in the second half but were able to stop the Magpies getting any closer than 19-15.

The 18s were a bit more convincing, turning a 29-nil half-time lead into a 40-12 win.

It set up a rematch with the Bulls while the 16s will tackle Quirindi.

Gunnedah also secured a grand final berth, beating Inverell 27-19 in a hard-fought Tier 2 major semi-final on Sunday.

There was little in it all game, with the Red Devils up by only five at half-time, and only able to stretch it to eight by the final whistle.

At Narrabri on Saturday, the Bulls were on top – on the scoreboard at least – for a lot of the game but weren’t really able to shake Pirates off until late.

The scoring seemed to to and fro in the second half.

Pirates got as close as three with just under 15 minutes remaining, with second-rower Jack Shelton crashing over for his third try of the game after the Bulls had lost a player to the bin.

But the Bulls hit back minutes later through Ben Day after chancing their luck from a penalty.

They initially went for the line and looked to have scored from the lineout but were ruled to be held up.

From the scrum though, Day went over.

Nathan Holland converted from the sideline to push them out to 10 points with about 10 to go.

Adam O’Neile then chimed in from the wing and, cutting back towards goal, stepped around the defence to seal it for the Bulls.

Bulls co-coach Josh Connell credited a lot of the win to the forwards.

“I think the forwards went pretty well,” Connell said.

“The likes of Ben Day, Ben Jackman and Byron Birch had fantastic games.”

He thought they also showed good composure.

“The good thing about that side is they have the patience,” he said.

“They always know their strength is the last 20 and don’t panic.

“They know the opportunities will come and don’t lose heart.”

They didn’t and they(opportunities) did.

Pirates will now face Narrabri on Saturday for the right to meet the Bulls again.

Meanwhile, in the Tier 2 final, the Inverell Highlanders will tackle Scone.

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