Moree was bucked out of the premiership race at Weebolla Oval on Saturday after Narrabri snatched victory from their grasp.
Illdiscipline and ball control cruelled the Bulls, as the Blue Boars overturned an eight-point deficit early in the second half to trample their title hopes 22-18.
Coach Dave Silversides was in no doubt their perceived illdiscipline was a substantial factor in the result, with three players sin-binned over the course of the match.
“Finals football everything has to go right for you,” Silversides said.
Playing for almost half of the game a man down is the antithesis of that.
“You can’t have 30 minutes of players off the field,” he said.
Not only does it put extra stress on the players on the field, but also disrupts your rhythm.
“It’s just difficult to get any continuity when you have players coming off the field,” Silversides said.
“(But) Full credit to Narrabri. You take advantage of what comes your way and they did that today.”
They controlled possession at the right end of the field, he said, and capitalised on the Bulls illdiscipline well.
In what was another titanic and brutal tussle between the arch rivals, the Bulls posted first points through the boot of Ben Legg.
Will Morley levelled the scores a few minutes later, but after exerting sustained pressure on the Blue Boars line, the Bulls reclaimed the lead, with prop Maciu Latabua squeezing through the Narrabri ruck defence.
They extended their lead with just over seven minutes to go in the first half, winger Josh Walker flying through on a short side play from a scrum about 10m out.
Enjoying the better of the possession and territory in the first half, but guilty of forcing the pass a few times, which then led to turnovers, the Bulls found their advantage cut back to five in the shades of half-time.
It was the start of a shift in momentum with the Blue Boars dominating the second half and the Bulls only able to muster a penalty.
Silversides couldn’t go past number eight Sam Callow as their best.
“He’s been exceptional all year,” he said.
So to has skipper Will Carrigan. He has been “inspirational”, playing nearly every minute of the season.
Pushing his disappointment aside, Silversides was upbeat about the future.
“There’s some good signs there for the coming seasons,” he said.
This year was always going to be a rebuilding year as the club transitions from “old to new” and welcomed a lot of new young faces.
The Bulls’ U19’s fared better thrashing Narrabri 57-29 on the back of four tries to winger Brandon Humphries.
More photos here.