GUNNEDAH might have lost 62-14 to Moree in their fifth round clash at Boughton Oval, Moree on Saturday but Bulldogs coach Mick Schmiedel took plenty of positives from the 48-point mauling.
The wily coach gave full credit to the undefeated ladder leaders, who were spearheaded by Brenton Cochrane's four-try onslaught.
"They are a good side, the best we've played so far," the Gunnedah coach said.
"But we can take plenty of positives out of that (performance). We only had 27 players to take up for the two grades and it meant I didn't have fresh reserves.
"Moree are playing good footy and they went up a gear in the second half and we couldn't match them."
The Bulldogs had four first grade forwards missing, as well as halfback Dylan Lake.
Schmiedel's bench had also played full second grade games and so he "ran out of fresh legs" in the second half, he said.
His side had given as good as it got in the first 40 minutes with the Boars leading 18-8 at half-time.
"If anything, I thought we were the better side in the first half too," he said.
"They scored two tries from intercepts and a third from a dropped ball from us.
"There were good positive signs for us. We had a game plan and we stuck to it in the first half.
"We went hit for hit and set for set with them. It was only when we became impatient (that) we got away from the plan and gave up those two intercepts from cut-out passes."
Schmiedel thought young captain Zak Turnbull had a big game for the Bulldogs and earned his players' players award.
"Tommy Randall came from the wing to lock and played the whole first 40 minutes in the middle," he added.
MOREE 62 (Brenton Cochrane 4, Thomas Ryan 2, Jamie Sampson, Wyatt Roberts, Ben Williams, Adrian Smith, Luke Hetherington tries; Adrian Smith 9 goals) d GUNNEDAH 14 (Aaron Donnelly, Zak Turnbull tries; Dylan O'Brien 3 goals) Group 4 best and fairest: 3 Brenton Cochrane (M), 2 Luke Hetherington (M), 1 Aaron Robinson (M).
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