Central North Rugby Round 5: Moree prevail in top of the table clash 30-29

Matt Wannan and Nick Smith were standouts for the Bulls against Walcha on Saturday.
Matt Wannan and Nick Smith were standouts for the Bulls against Walcha on Saturday.

Jono Spain was a last minute hero as Moree snatched the points from Walcha in their top-of-the-table clash at Weebolla Oval on Saturday.

The Bulls prevailed 30-29 in an enthralling contest after kicking a penalty with only seconds remaining.

Bulls co-coach Damien Kelly said there was about 25 seconds on the clock when the Rams kicked off after the penalty.

New to the club this season Spain only got a late call-up after fullback Dan Sweeney was ruled out with injury, but took on the kicking duties and with aplomb. He converted all three of the Bulls' tries, and kicked three penalties.

"I was very happy to get the win, although there are things out of the game we want to improve on," Kelly said.

"[But] To win it on the bell everyone was excited."

The game had been on a bit of a knife's edge, the momentum swinging between the two sides for much of the game.


"We started well. For the first 20-30 minutes we played well," Kelly said.

But after establishing an early lead they dropped off a bit went into the break down 21-20.

Defence is a big focus for Kelly, and from that perspective he was a bit disappointed, although they did keep the Rams to their lowest score of the season.

"Walcha probably made the most line breaks. That was disappointing in that sense but they are a good side so that is going to happen," he said.

The only still unbeaten side, he was pretty happy for his side "to play in a game like that".

"They held their nerve the last 10 minutes," he said.

"You can't train for that."

"The young guys will be better for that."

He said Nick Smith played well at half-back as did Spain on the wing while prop John Adams and number eight Matt Wannan were good up front in what was a real grinding team effort.

Rams co-coach Barry Hoy said it was probably "the little things" that cost them the game the Bulls, as Kelly eluded to, on top early.

"We didn't play that well to start with," he said.

"They got 13 points up on us before we started."

The polish they've shown in recent games wasn't quite there. While they didn't have a lot of possession in the first 25 minutes when they did get the ball they'd turn it back over.

"I was happy that the boys were able to claw their way back. To be leading at half-time was a big effort," he said.

Their first loss for the season he said it was good to be tested and they will take a lot out of it.

They have a clearer picture of where they are at.

And they didn't leave empty handed picking up two bonus points - one for scoring four tries and one for finishing within seven.

Hoy thought their best were number eight Lachlan Brown, skipper Simon Newton, outside centre Ed Cordingley and winger Jacob Sherrin. The latter pursed a double.

Elsewhere Jackson Sharpe and Wesley Rooney scored doubles as Pirates snapped their three-game losing run with a 49-24 win over Scone, while Narrabri brushed aside Barraba 50-12, prop Will Turner and centre Jake Packer both crossing twice.