Referee Bill Turner addresses the teams in Moranbah.
Referee Bill Turner addresses the teams in Moranbah.

Hard yards ahead for final footy hopes

AS THE Emerald Rams and Capella Cattledogs battle it out at the top of the Central Highlands Rugby Union ladder, two teams are quietly building their own semi-final preparations not too far behind.

Clermont Bushpigs and Moranbah Bulls are both steadying their ships ahead of this season’s finals.

The Bushpigs showed form when they easily overcame Rolleston Roos 48-0 in Clermont and third-placed Moranbah Bulls came within a sniff of victory at home against the Cattledogs.

The Capella side also ran home 12-7 winners for the inaugural Marcus Burke Memorial Trophy in Moranbah.

Marcus, a former player with the Bulls rugby club, died last year.

In tribute, club president Kristian Paul said the final home game of every season would be played in his memory.

The weekend also raised $5000 for depression awareness organisation beyondblue.

Tactically, the Moranbah lineout was a little “disappointing”, Paul said, with the Bulls struggling to win a single line-out.

There was still a light at the end of the tunnel with an overall solid performance by Moranbah inspiring the team with plenty of confidence for their run into the finals contest.

“We were stoked to finish as close as we did - both teams were pretty much at full-strength,” Paul said.

Playing without the services of the of their regular fly-half, who for so long has been part of the team’s framework, didn’t help their cause.

“We’ve built our last couple of wins around him so I think it kind of made a bit of a difference to the way we played,” Paul said.

In Clermont, the Bushpigs were too good for an under strength Roos’ pack, which was still able to show plenty of attacking prowess despite lack of fitness.

“Our attack was good and the cover in the defence was outstanding,” Clermont coach Josh Scott said. “We probably gave away a few too many penalties, mainly because of our fitness.”

An injury to Clermont number 8 Alex Holgarth, who broke his collarbone 20 minutes into the Rolleston match-up, was the only negative to an otherwise firm start to Clermont’s finals’ campaign.

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