Moree Boars annihilate Gunnedah Bernie Briggs-style

MOREE Boars converted a 34-point half-time lead into a 68-18 thrashing of the Gunnedah Bulldogs in the WEG Toohey’s Group 4 first grade clash at Boughton Oval on Sunday, reports Geoff Newling.

The win was a magnificent way to celebrate Bernie Briggs Day, a memorial to a former great Boar who passed away way too soon.

His family was on hand to honour his great service and wonderful skills for the club over a number of years.

He would have been thrilled by the today’s performance, which sees the Boars unbeaten after 10 rounds, amassing an imposing 522 points while allowing 181 scored against them.

The Boars are the best attacking side with 140 points more than Dungowan and the best defensive side, 12 better than the Cowboys.

The win also earned the Boars a six-point buffer over (equal second) Dungowan and Werris Creek with four more games before the Saturday, August 5 major semi-final.

While the Boars head the statistics teamwise they also dominate on the individual tables.

Centre William Baker’s quartet of tries against Gunnedah took him to an outright lead in the G4 first grade try-scoring with 22 this season.

Team-mate Adrian Smith is second with 20 after he crossed for two four-pointers on Sunday and centre-winger Jake Tighe is fifth with 10.

Five-eighth Jamie Sampson and lock Brenton Cochrane are seven apiece giving the Boars five players in the top 15.

Brilliant little fullback Adrian Smith also zoomed further in front in the point-scoring department.

He followed his 40-point haul against Narrabri the previous week with a 28-point reward (two tries and 10 goals) taking him past the 200-point barrier.

He now has 218 points (from 20 tries and 69 goals) to be 117 points in front of second highest point-scorer, Dungowan’s Trent Taylor, who breached the century mark on Saturday with six goals for a total of 101 points for the season.

He overtook Boggabri’s Robert Doolan on the weekend with Doolan just two shy of his 100 for the season.

But it is the Boars who have excited their fans and opponents alike with their brilliant attacking football and uncompromising defence.

Moree captain-coach Michael Watton said his side started slowly “again”.

“That’s been an issue for us,” he told G4 Media after the game.

“Once we put back-to-back sets together though and built up pressure we turn the notch up a bit.

“We played some pretty decent footy after that. I was really pleased with the second 20 minutes of the first half after that atrocious start. The second 20 minutes we were brilliant, played some good attacking footy and then started well in the second half too.”

What pleased him the most was “we got back to our structures”.

“And scored some great tries off the back of that and off really good shape. The boys also ran with intent and tackled hard.”

He thought four-try centre William Baker “had a cracker” and played some “outstanding footy”.

“Joe Wade had some really good carries too.”

He also marvelled at the continued good point-scoring form by fullback Adrian Smith and the collective effort from the Moree pack repeating an old saying.

“Forwards wins matches and backs just determine by how much,” he repeated.

MOREE 68 (William Baker 4, Adrian Smith 2, Jake Tighe 2, Jamie Sampson 2, Joe Wade, Jack Mitchell tries, Smith 10gls) d GUNNEDAH 18 (Lincon Smith, Aidan Davis, Reece Dixon tries, Dylan O’Brien 3gls).

WEG TOOHEYS G4 FIRST GRADE LADDER: Moree 20 (522-181), Dungowan 14 (382-193), Werris Creek 14 (337-240), North Tamworth 12 (278-204), Kootingal 10 (298-268), Boggabri 8 (268-340), Gunnedah 2 (172-420), Narrabri 0 (188-590). 

Words: Geoff Newling (G4 Media)

Images: Michael Andersen