The clock was Shepparton Bulls’ enemy on Saturday.
Geelong was barely hanging onto a lead, but the Bulls left themselves too much work to do in the second half to mount a serious comeback and went down 48-36.
It was a crunch Victorian Rugby second division game at Vibert Reserve, with both sides having two wins from their opening three matches.
But it was the visitors who made all the early running, scoring a try in the opening seconds after catching the Bulls’ full-back and winger off guard.
Geelong would score again quickly after that before the Bulls kicked into action, running across the line via some brilliant play from Patrick Young.
‘‘We weren’t communicating well at the back and they scored two quick tries and that gave them a head start,’’ Bulls coach Muliaga ‘‘Stony’’ Scanlan said.
‘‘To our boys’ credit we fired back and 10 minutes later we had scored ourselves and were right back in the contest.’’
Shepparton trailed by 17 points at half-time, but outplayed Geelong after the main break and were well in the contest late.
Fili Fili scored, while Young crossed for a second time, as did Laitia Vuniwaqa.
Sione Fangatua and Jacob Veitarogi had standout games and kept Shepparton in with a fighting chance of victory.
The Bulls’ next assignment is a trip to Melton on Saturday in another tough game, with the home side also sitting at 2-2 going into round five.
Meanwhile, the Bulls’ under-18 game at Vibert Reserve against Powerhouse was called off at half-time after a number of injuries to local players.
The decision was a difficult one for Bulls’ hierarchy, but wanted to ensure the safety of their players for coming games.