Group 19 rugby league: Moree Boomerangs turn to finals after downing local rivals

PRIMED FOR FINALS: The Moree Boomerangs are looking forward to playing the major semi-final against the Inverell Hawks on August 19.
PRIMED FOR FINALS: The Moree Boomerangs are looking forward to playing the major semi-final against the Inverell Hawks on August 19.

The Moree Boomerangs saluted the final round of the Group 19 season with a local derby triumph over the Boars. 

A week after grinding out a win in Glen Innes thanks to a tenacious second-half, the Rangs A graders didn’t pull together the opening 40 minutes against the Boars they would have liked. 

Poor ball control saw the hosts down on the scoreboard 16-12 heading into the break. 

“Again our first-half effort wasn't good enough, we only completed four out of 12 sets so we have got to be better than that and we know we can be better than that,” Rangs coach Chris Binge said. 

“We were disappointed going into the half-time break, I think it was 16-12 and they were leading. 

“We knew in the sheds what we had to fix, we needed possession and we needed to manage that better. 

“It wasn't ill-discipline because the penalty wasn't bad for either side at half-time, I think there was only two or three penalties each so basically it came down to ball control for us in that first-half.

“And probably playing a bit more direct, we played a bit too much sideways footy in that first-half.”

While the Boars claimed the first points of the second stanza, the rest of the match went the way of the Boomerangs who surged home to win 28-22. 

The Boomerangs now turn their focus to hosting the major semi-final on August 19 against the Inverell Hawks.

Binge said his team are primed and ready for the finals and will be out to claim the first spot in the grand final on September 2. 

“The way we finished the season where we actually played every side in the top four and then having victories in all those games,” he said. 

“They were all tough games and were all close and played with that semi-final intensity. 

“For us it was a good lead-in and the best prep going into a major semi that anyone could probably want.”

The Rangs met the Hawks in Inverell in round 11 and escaped with a one-point win. 

Binge is hoping his team can lift on their home turf when they face them again.

“We want to be able to be in the best possible position to give ourselves that home gf if we can but we still know there is still a lot of ahead of us,” he said. 

“We are not thinking too far ahead other than we know we have a tough game against Inverell in two weeks time at home.”

While they finished two wins clear of second-placed Inverell to secure the minor premiership Binge’s side still has plenty to work on if they want to secure the grand final trophy. 

“When we are good with ball in hand, completing sets and getting to our kicks, we are tough to beat and I think that is going to be the key to anything moving forward,” he said.

“Being patient and taking our opportunities when we are in a good position.

“We just need to have more control with the pill and once we do that, we know we can counter anything that any other side throws at us. 

“Defensively, our record defensively in the last three or four weeks has been great so we know we have that and it is an area of our game we pride ourselves in but our ball control is what is going to be crucial into the weeks moving forward.”

This Sunday will see the first of the Group 19 semi-finals played with third-placed Glen Innes facing the fourth-placed Boars in the minor semi-final in Glen. 

With his team sidelined for the first week, Binge gave his outlook on the coming clash. 

“To be honest, it will be a close game,” he said. 

“I think both teams have a bit of punch.

“Mepo [Guy Mepham], if he is on his game and the Glen Innes forward pack gets a roll, on the back of that roll Mepo will ice it.

“They just have a grittiness about them that even when the chips are down, they can still grind it out.”

Earlier in the day, the first match in the league tag went the way of the Boars who beat the Rangs girls 16-6. 

The Boomerangs then took a 22-6 win in the under 18s followed by a 26-22 triumph in the reserve grade.