SIMON Hall stood up as captain of Moree but neither captain could inspire their troops to a victory as a tough game resulted in an 8-8 draw at Collins Park, Narrabri.
The top-of-the-table clash was a masterclass in defence from both sides, although ironically dropped them both down the table.
Moree put it through the hands early and Mitch Grant crossed in the corner in the first ten minutes.
Narrabri hit back with a similar try of their own and evened the scores later in the half.
A penalty each later, they went into the sheds at 8-8 and the second half would be scoreless.
Both sides tackled themselves to a standstill in the second half.
Other than one missed penalty shot from in front from Narrabri, neither side offered up many chances.
Narrabri was set up for a Brenton Cochrane field goal in the closing minutes but was pulled up for an accidental off- side to close out the game.
Moree captain Damien Kelly said it was another normal Moree-Narrabri clash, with a bit of niggle.
“We have had a few big wins lately so it was good to get into some tough footy again,” Kelly said.
“We had a few chances and overlaps but the wrong decisions were made.
Hall was handed the captaincy for the weekend and didn’t let the side down, leading the loose three on a rampage around the breakdowns.
Matt Wannan played like a man enjoying his last day of freedom, massive in defence and some storming attacking runs to take the two points.
The number eight was married yesterday, with most of the Bulls in attendance.
Kelly said that while the team was playing well, it still has a lot of work to do to defend the title it won over Narrabri last season.
“Last year we would have won that game,” Kelly said.
“Although it was still one of our better games for the season.”
Narrabri coach Tom Cullen said the game was so evenly matched the draw was probably the right outcome, despite a few missed opportunities from both sides.
“There was 50 minutes of scoreless rugby with all 15 of both sides involved,” Cullen said.
“It was great to watch.”
The Blue Boars’ injury crisis in the backs didn’t get any better, with both wingers, Matt Nott and Simon Grest, concussed in separate incidents.
Under the new laws it is likely they will have to sit out at least a week.
Narrabri remains undefeated but is now second on the table.
Pirates and the Blue Boars both sit on 39 points, although Pirates have a points differential of 317, eight ahead of Narrabri.
Moree is one point behind in third place on 38 points, but has a differential of 354.
“We have had a few wins lately with no bonus points which has cost us the lead,” Cullen said.
Following the CNRU’s decision to carry on with the new tier system, it doesn’t get any easier for Moree.
The Bulls will take on the Pirates next Saturday while Narrabri will host Gunnedah.