Central North Rugby: Moree to host arch-rivals Narrabri in first elimination final

RUGBY RIVALS: Moree's Cameron Ledingham charges into the Narrabri defence during their round win over the Blue Boars in May. The two will clash on Saturday in the first elimination final. Photo: Sophie Harris
RUGBY RIVALS: Moree's Cameron Ledingham charges into the Narrabri defence during their round win over the Blue Boars in May. The two will clash on Saturday in the first elimination final. Photo: Sophie Harris

There is something special and compelling about a Moree and Narrabri final.

The archives are littered with epic battles between the long-time rivals. 

Last year the Blue Boars hung on for a one-point win to earn a spot in the grand final after the Bulls missed a penalty kick after the bell.

At Weebolla Oval on Saturday they’ll reignite their rivalry in the first elimination final.

The Bulls earned the hosting rights by finishing third, while the Blue Boars topped Tier 2 to earn the remaining finals berth.

They enter the finals in contrasting form, with the Bulls hammered by Walcha and the Blue Boars thrashing Barraba.

Arguably underdogs, Blue Boars coach Dylan Duncan believes they have “a massive chance”.

“They (Bulls) should definitely be worried,” he warned.

One of the most encouraging things from his perspective is that they have been finishing off games well. Finals are often won and lost in the latter stages. 

In saying that they need to start well.

That was their undoing when they played the Bulls earlier in the season.

Then they “gave them a 20 point head start” and were never able to come back from it.

Aside from that lesson, Duncan isn’t really taking anything out that game, pointing out that they are a different side to what they were then, and playing better football.

He is expecting the Bulls to try and run over them in the middle of the field through their forwards, but is confident his forwards are more than up to the task.

That is where the experience lies with the likes of Daniel Kahl, Mitch Wheaton, Jack Maunder, Jack Sharp and Matt McDonnell seasoned finals campaigners.

It is a bit of a different story in the backs, with only Jake Packer - if he plays - Jydon Hill and Jacob Booby boasting any substantial first grade finals experience.

Hill has been pencilled in at five-eighth with Packer only arriving back in the country on Saturday morning from his Tatts cricket club’s tour of Vanuatu.

Duncan has faith Hill can do the job, rating him one of their best performers this season. Will Morley is another and will partner Hill in the halves, with Linton Grumley slated to start at fullback.

They are indicative of the youth and speed that Duncan was excited about at the start of the season and has really started to come to fruition towards the end of the season, and he is confident that if the forwards can lay the platform, his side “can score the points”.

The question will be can they stop the Bulls scoring points.