The last time that Kaylan Murray had played a Group 4 Rugby League match against the Narrabri Blues, he lined up in the halves with Josh Trindall for Boggabri Kangaroos at Collins Park in June last year and he produced a gun performance that included a hat-trick as the visitors returned home from the round 10 fixture with the two points.
Fast-forward to round five of the 2023 season on Sunday, the maestro went one better as he ran riot against Trindall’s Blues at Jubilee Oval.
The Narrabri captain-coach missed the game against his former club as a result of a hamstring injury and he watched on from the bench as his friend and former teammate crossed for four tries in a 46-22 Boggabri win.
Having played most of the season at centre, Murray lined up at lock in the Jubilee Oval clash in the absence of Shaun Donnan.
He was given a license to roam and show his creative flair by his coach Shane Rampling, and he did exactly that as he crossed for two tries either side of the half-time break and earned three Group 4 best and fairest points for a standout performance.
Rampling told the Gunnedah Times that the lock forward’ was sensational on the day.
“Putting him in at lock, I said to him just roam and pop up wherever you feel like it,” Rampling said.
“That freedom allowed him to take the line on and support play.
“He got the benefits from it. He had a whirl of a game.
“He’s one of those players that can create something out of nothing.”
Murray’s second try of the day was scored as the half-time bell sounded and brought a frantic first 40 minutes to an end.
The first half had a bit of everything as both sides had two players sent to the sin bin each, and they combined to score seven tries between them.
The Kangaroos scored four of those and led 20-16 at the break, however, the second stanza was more one-way traffic as far as the scoreboard was concerned as the Roos outscored the Narrabri Blues 26-6 to win the match 46-22.
Rob Doolan, who scored Boggabri’s first try of the day, bagged a double and also kicked five goals as he ended the match with 18 points.
His teammates Dylan Lake, Niall Blewitt and Thomas Bruce all scored a try each for the Kangaroos, and Kalab McMillan, Jeff Harvey and Jed Smith scored the Blues’ first half tries before their teammate Bailey Toomey went over for Narrabri in the second stanza.
Rampling was pleased with the win, which snapped a three-game losing streak that started in round two after a brilliant round one win against North Tamworth, but said his side still had a lot of work to do.
“We’re a long way off from where we need to be, but that win was a step in the right direction,” he said.
“I thought that our attitude was a lot better this week than last week.
“But we created opportunities for Narrabri with dropped ball and silly penalties.
“The second half, I thought we were good defensively. I was quite happy with that.
“We still have a lot of improvement in us though.
“We are still learning to play with each other, I think. There are a few new players in there.
“I’m still not even convinced on my strongest side yet.
“But all in all, I was happy with the result. It keeps us in touch with the top four.”
Other round five winners were the Werris Creek Magpies, Kootingal-Moonbi Roosters and Moree Boars.
The Magpies welcomed the North Tamworth Bears to David Taylor Oval and scored a 22-14 victory.
The Werris Creek men went into the match locked on six competition points with Norths and Dungowan and went two clear of them both as the Cowboys lost 26-25 against Moree Boars at the Dungowan Recreation Ground.
Moree’s victory was their fifth in a row and saw them remain a win clear of the Magpies as they stayed undefeated and became the first team to have accumulated 10 competition points in 2023.
The Roosters joined Norths and Dungowan on six points after they beat Gunnedah Bulldogs 46-6 at the Kootingal Sports Ground.
Boggabri is a win behind those three sides in sixth place on four points, while Narrabri and Gunnedah are at the bottom with no points.
The Blues and Bulldogs will have a chance to score their first wins of the year this Sunday when they meet at Kitchener Park. The Kangaroos play that day as well when they travel to Boughton Oval looking to become the first team to knock off Moree.
The other round six fixtures will be played on Saturday when Norths host Dungowan in a grand final rematch and Werris Creek hosts the Kootingal-