Goondiwindi Emus have once again proven their dominance on the rugby field after defeating their cross-border counterparts, Moree Weebolla Bulls, during their annual trial match.
A large crowd filled Weebolla Oval on Friday night to watch the visitors defeat the home side 28-12 in what was a high-intensity four-quarter match.
Despite the loss, Bulls first grade co-coach Damien Kelly said it was a "perfect" trial match.
"It was good, it was pretty pleasing," he said.
"For a trial game, it was very high intensity. Goondiwindi have a good squad of players. They played a high tempo game and, under pressure in defence, the boys handled it really well.
"It was a perfect trial match - it was high intensity and put our guys under pressure. I was pleased to see the guys defending for the majority of the game."
With a mixture of first and second grade players making up the squads for both sides, the trial provided an opportunity for the coaches to test out a few different player combinations and identify what needs work ahead of the 2019 season.
Kelly said they'll need to do a bit more work on their set-pieces, scrums and line-outs, particularly for some of the new players.
"I'll have to catch up with some of the boys to see how their lungs were after the quick-paced game," he said.
Meanwhile Emus first grade coach Luke Fritz said Moree were tough competition as usual.
"In the second quarter they really pummelled us, scoring two tries to none," he said.
"We thought we were going alright in the first quarter, but got a scare in the second."
It's one of the toughest games they'll play all year.Damien Kelly, Bulls first grade co-coach
With both sides usually among the top teams in their respective competitions each year - last year Moree first grade finished third and Goondiwindi won their competition - the annual trial is always a tough, but highly competitive match.
"It's always a really good trial game," Kelly said.
"It's one of the toughest games they'll play all year.
"I can't replicate that at training."
"Both clubs are pretty competitive in their respective competitions," Fritz added.
"It's always a good indication of where we're at ahead of the season."
The match was Moree's first trial of the season, and the first game played under the new lights at Weebolla Oval.
At this stage, the trial is the only one the Bulls have lined up, besides the Classic Wallabies gala day on March 23. Kelly said they'd like to get in one more trial before the first round of the Central North competition kicks off on April 6.