Josh Walker pursed his second successive double as Moree kept themselves in the hunt for a top two finish.
The Bulls are at worst guaranteed third after pushing 14 points clear of Scone courtesy of a 39-13 win over the Brumbies in an at times firey affair at Scone on Saturday.
“We really needed that one coming into Pirates next week,” Bulls skipper Will Carrigan said.
They set the win up in the first half, taking a 27-13 advantage into the break, and some of the wind out of the Brumbies’ sails.
“More the last 10-15 minutes. Just the defence and the attitude not to let them in,” Carrigan said.
The Brumbies threw a lot at them, but the Bulls kept repelling them, Walker eventually snaffling an intercept and racing away to score.
The cornerstone of the defensive effort was their line pressure. They got up on the Brumbies players quickly, Carrigan said, so they had nowhere to go.
The ball running from the forwards was also a feature in the first half. They ran well off half-back Adam O’Neile, and their set plays worked well.
O’Neile was one of a few changes, with Nick Smith moving to the side of the scrum, and picked up the one behind Carrigan and Sam Callow, who snared the three.
The 19-year old has been outstanding in recent weeks.
One of his best virtues, Carrigan said, is his willingness to run the ball.
He’s always an option to throw the ball to and doesn’t shirk away from taking on the defence.
Quirindi also enjoyed a good win, converting a 28-7 half-time lead into a 41-19 away win over Barraba in their Tier 2 clash.
Having let the points slip away against Narrabri the previous week, co-coach Toby Simkin said it was good to go on with it this time.
“The biggest thing this week was when they hit back on us we came back stronger,” Simkin said.
The Lions were quick to pounce, laying on two early tries. From Simkin’s recollection they got out to a 21-nil lead at one stage, with the backs carving them up.
“The backs were going through them on the back of good forward play,” he said, highlighting their support play as a strong aspect of the performance.
Their man on man defence was also a lot better than against the Blue Boars.
“Our man on man defence was pretty ordinary against Narrabri,” Simkin said.
The other big issue they had in the second half against the Blue Boars was their set pieces fell apart, which made it hard for them to get possession. That wasn’t an issue on Saturday.
There were some scrappy parts of the game, Simkin said, but that was to be expected on a “wet track”.
Five-eighth Tom Tanner and outside centre Elliot Tourle shared their three points. Both were tryscorers, Tourle adding 16 points off the boot for a 21-point haul.
Will Pearce also had a strong game at number eight and was the players player.
Moving back into the centres, Luke Smith scored two of the Rams’ three tries, skipper Will Robinson bagging the other.