Shepparton Bulls have put in a fine performance to storm home late in the game to draw with Northern at Vibert Reserve.OLIVER CAFFREY May 21, 2014 3:15am
After a week of soul-searching, Shepparton Bulls produced one of their best performances of the second division A-grade rugby season.
While the Bulls couldn’t break the deadlock for their second win of the season, coach Warren Johnston said Saturday’s game at Vibert Reserve was a massive turnaround.
Johnston was scathing of his team’s commitment to the round five Geelong road trip, but a strong discussion during the week resulted in an improved effort against Northern.
‘‘It was a vastly improved effort and it really couldn’t have been any worse than the week before,’’ Johnston said.
‘‘On the Monday night after the Geelong game we had a big talk about things and from there it was really positive for the whole week.
‘‘We had to change everything around and start playing real rugby and the boys’ attitude had been really good at training.
‘‘On game day we played some really good defensive rugby and we’re moving towards playing like a Melbourne team now.’’
The Bulls had several chances to win the contest after a late charge in the last few minutes.
The Bulls were down by nine points with only five minutes to go and worked their way back through a converted try.
A missed penalty in the final minute left the scores dramatically tied at 27-all at full-time.
‘‘I was happy with the way we played and through that effort I thought we could’ve beaten them, the boys went to sleep for a bit, but we picked ourselves up again in the last few minutes and nearly got there,’’ Johnston said.
Star fullback Lee-Roy Huthmann-Grace was again a dominant force, scoring a try, a penalty and two conversions.
Pat Iopu crossed the line for a try, while Moronae Silaga put in another good display.
Newcomer Kevu impressed at left-flank, but Johnston said it was the overall team effort that pleased him the most.
‘‘The whole team played as a team instead of individuals and that was great to see,’’ Johnston said.
‘‘The good thing is my job is going to get harder to select a team because so many guys are starting to put their hand up.
‘‘We had a pretty good crowd down there and I was pretty happy we could put on a good show for them.’’
The Bulls will go into this Saturday’s match against Kiwi Hawthorn at Boroondara full of confidence after defeating their opponents at Shepparton in round two.
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