HE joined a growing list of players to taste both New England and Central North premiership success and, tomorrow, Moree winger Sam Bacigalupo will be hoping to earn a shot at a second Central North title.
The Bulls’ title defence will go on the line against Pirates, with the victor to meet Narrabri in the grand final.
Last year was the Bulls’ first premiership in six years and was, in part, attributed to the arrival of a few new faces.
They brought a fresh outlook to training and, in Bacigalupo’s case, a bit of extra pace out wide.
It was something they had been missing, and made a huge difference.
The 27-year old moved to Moree for work after being based down in Cooma since he completed his university studies at Armidale.
“An opportunity came up to come up here (Moree) where I had a few mates from uni,” he said.
Some of whom he now finds himself either playing against or with, with several of his St Albert’s vintage now running around with various Central North clubs.
It was both an enjoyable and successful few years, with Bacigalupo winning three titles with them.
He was predominantly a fullback then but, with Heath Riggs seemingly having a mortgage on the 15 jersey at the Bulls, he shifted out to the wing when he joined them.
After last season not losing a game until the final round, the Bulls have been comparatively up and down this season.
“At the start we might have had a premiership hangover,” Bacigalupo said.
“It’s only in the last couple of weeks we’ve started to click.”
He’ll be hoping to see a bit more ball tomorrow after not getting a lot of opportunities in the minor semi-final against Gunnedah.
That was a consequence of the Bulls not having a lot of the ball.
A lot of that changing will rest on the forwards.
As Bacigalupo somewhat begrudgingly – as a back – conceded, most games in the country are won in the forwards.
They need to get the ball going forward.
Then they can go wide after that.
He said it would be good to make another grand final but knows it’s not going to be easy.
“It’ll be tough down there,” he said.
Although they did get the points their previous visit and with 14 players for a lot of the game.
“That was a good win with 14 players,” Bacigalupo said.
Many of the Bulls – Bacigalupo included – made the trip down to Narrabri last week to watch the major semi-final.
“We might keep it in the forwards,” he suggested.
It certainly was a successful recipe for the Blue Boars.
Another thing he noted was their defence.
“I thought they were really organised in defence,” he said.
There wasn’t a lot of space for the Blue Boars to work.
One thing is for sure for the Bulls – they will have to play better than they did against the Red Devils.
Bacigalupo pointed to their communication and defence as two of the areas they need to improve.
“Getting set in defence and making our first-up tackles,” he said.
They can’t afford to let the likes of Conrad Starr, Josh Stewart and Jake Douglas slip tackles.