Moree Bulls defeat Inverell Highlanders in round 10 of Central North rugby union competition

ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT: Moree Bulls came back from a poor first half performance to defeat the Inverell Highlanders at Weebolla Oval on Saturday. Photo: file
ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT: Moree Bulls came back from a poor first half performance to defeat the Inverell Highlanders at Weebolla Oval on Saturday. Photo: file

Moree Bulls managed to improve on a poor first half performance to take the win against the Inverell Highlanders on Saturday, but first grade co-coach Damien Kelly said they need to step up their game if they want to have a chance against the likes of Tamworth Pirates this weekend.

"If we play like we did in the first half, we'll be in a lot of trouble," Kelly said.

It was a game of two halves for the Bulls, who lacked patience in the first half and ended up going into the second half a try apiece with Inverell. The Bulls came back in the second half and scored four tries, to bring the final score to 35-12 against the visitors.

Kelly said he was pleased with the result, but not the performance again.

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"The first half was disappointing," he said.

"In the first half there were a lot of handling errors, more than we'd like. We rushed everywhere; we didn't show much patience and probably didn't give Inverell the respect they deserved. We tried to score off every phase.

"We just weren't there in the first half.

"The second half was a lot better."

Kelly said Inverell were a much better side than they played in round one, which perhaps the Bulls weren't expecting.

"Maybe we'd taken them a little bit lightly," he said.

"Maybe we thought [the win] was just going to happen. Turns out we have to actually play well to beat teams.

"But we still got the win."

The Bulls' eight subs each got a run on Saturday, giving the coaches a look at some other players, which Kelly said was a positive from the day.

"It was pleasing to see some of those guys come on and make an impact," he said.

Matt Wannan was the standout for the Bulls "by a country mile".

"He was the best player on the field," Kelly said.

"If he doesn't play, we don't win."

Dan Sweeney at fullback also played well, along with the two centres, Damien Meppem and Jono Spain, while Nathan Goodworth had a good game off the bench.

There was no second grade match played on Saturday, as Inverell were unable to field a team. However the Highlanders dominated the women's sevens matches, winning 27-0 and 39-0.

The Bulls, who are now back at the top of the ladder in first grade after Walcha went down to Narrabri, will travel to Tamworth to take on the Pirates, who are sitting in fourth spot.

Kelly said the reigning premiers are not to be taken lightly, however, especially at home.

"Pirates in Tamworth is a tough of a challenge as you'll get in Central North," he said.