BARRABA almost repeated their 2013 heroics, while Inverell accounted for Quirindi and Moree and Narrabri continued on their merry ways in an absorbing round of Central North action onSaturday.
It did little to make the top five picture any clearer though.
All it did was probably secure Pirates third, although it was a close call for them at Barraba.
They “got out of jail”, as coach Andrew Verrell put it, sneaking home 21-16 after trailing 13-nil at one stage.
They have struggled at Barraba in recent years, with the Rams famously upsetting them 20-15 two years ago.
At Inverell, it finally started to click for the Highlanders as they outgunned Quirindi 46-7.
The first half was where they set it up, laying on 36 unanswered points.
The Blue Boars rolled the Rams 31-17.
They led 17-7 at the break, with the Rams scoring a runaway try late in the half to give them a sniff.
The home side then kicked away in the first half of the second half but had to withstand a late charge from the visitors.
At Scone, Moree’s defence was again impenetrable, with the Bulls accounting for the Brumbies 64-nil.
It was the competition leader’s third shut-out in as many games and, with the Blue Boars’ win, ensures a mouth-watering finale to the first round next week.
Both teams will head in undefeated.
“The boys played pretty well. They controlled the ball and got it wide, and the backs carved up,” Bulls co-coach Peter Copeman said.
Heath Riggs led the onslaught with three and was the only multiple tryscorer.
They set the tone early, running away to a 17-nil lead after about 20 minutes.
“They (Scone) had their moments but never really looked like threatening,” Copeman said.
He’d spoken leading in about just looking for more of the same and they delivered on that, with the core of the win again their defence.
“The defence was excellent once again,” he said.
They got off the line and put a lot of pressure on the Brumbies.
He said Jordan Cosh was strong at five-eighth.
Skipper Ben Colley was the pick of the forwards at breakaway, along with Fraser Brown and number eight MattWannan.
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