THE backs might have provided most of the points but Walcha’s forwards were arguably the heroes of the Rams’ 31-30 major semi-final win over Inverell on Saturday.
They were the battered rams as the Highlanders launched drive after drive at them and the line in the second half.
The backs were called on to do some of the defensive duties but for a lot of time the Highlanders’ attack was aimed at the forwards.
“Our piggies were amazing. They just kept tackling them,” Rams skipper Jason Latham said.
“Four or five times they held them up.”
It was just as tough as Latham remembered from three years ago – the last time the Rams made the finals.
He even had the beginnings of a nice bruise on his shoulder for his troubles but wasn’t feeling too much pain.
Winning will do that for you, especially through to your first grand final.
“It’s massive for the town, and a big effort to get two grades in,” Latham said.
They had plenty of support travel up to Inverell, with one side of the field virtually a sea of red.
There wasn’t too much for them to cheer about in attack but there was their defence.
“They were big boys and we knew they would keep on coming at us,” Latham said.
“But we kept on knocking them down.
“In the end that’s what won us the game.”
He said games like that – finals – come down to moments.
Both sides had theirs.
For the Rams, the defining moment was the second-half onslaught they withstood.
“The middle of the second half they were attacking our line for five or10 minutes,” Latham said.
“But we kept holding them out. From there we knew we could win it.
“We’re only a small team but we’ve got plenty of ticker.”
They showed that throughout the game, and would have spent barely half the time the Highlanders did inside their 22.
Particularly in the first half they didn’t have a lot of ball and it wasn’t really a game they were able to get their outside backs involved as much as they would have liked.
But they were able to make a few inroads “up the guts”, Latham said, and force the Highlanders to infringe, from which Simon Newton duly obliged with his boot to keep them in the game.