There is a good mix of youth and experience on both sides of the 2019 Grafton Invitational draw, and that should result in some quality matchups.
Don’t forget to check out my PBR Australia Monster Energy Tour Event Preview and for more in-depth matchup analysis, keep your eye out on Saturday morning for the ‘The Morning Line’.
Let’s breakdown the daysheet:
The round begins with what is set to be a great matchup between Brady Fielder, who has won his last two events, and TnR Bucking Bulls’ The Donald (8-3, PBRA) who has bucked off his last four riders.
We continue a run of TnR bulls with Terms & Conditions (0-1, PBRA) out against Cliff Richardson, while Jono Couling will try to become the fourth rider to receive a score aboard Bad Apple (8-3, PBRA) who averages a 41.64-point bull score.
Bailey Woodard will try to keep put the cowboys ahead against Posting Bail (2-2, PBRA) while Josh Cavanagh will look to become the fourth straight rider to receive a score aboard Spokane (0-3, PBRA).
Kiwi Merv Church finishes off the run of TnR bulls aboard Battle Jack (1-0, PBRA).
We move into a string of Hall Rodeo Company stock and see Mick Knight matchups up against Pop Star (1-0, PBRA) who was marked 41.5 points in his debut performance at Burnett Heads.
2015 PBR Australian National Champion Fraser Babbington will be next to ride against Gold Jacket (0-1, PBRA) with Jay Borghero following aboard Brindelbelly Jam (0-1, PBRA).
Gee Whiz (3-1, PBRA) and Big Bang Theory (3-1, PBRA) both possess good records against the PBR bull riders and they will take on Matt Pfingst and Robert Hicks respectively to round out the first section. Grafton bull rider Hicks has ridden two of his last four.
Maynes Bucking Bulls brings us three straight bulls who all made their PBR debut in Cunnamulla starting with Sin Bin (1-0, PBRA) who takes on Troy Cross.
Lachlan Richardson will be next to ride against Midnight Hour (0-1, PBRA) with JC Davis following up on California Gold (1-0, PBRA).
Eidsvold’s Sam Woodard faces the impressive Bud Buster (2-1, PBRA) from Kasper Bucking Bulls and JD Bucking Bulls who carried Ethan Watts to the win at Burnett Heads and 88 points.
Ethan Watts has won or placed second in three of his past four rounds, and he will look to continue to stay hot when he takes on Bud Buster’s penmate Choctop (0-1, PBRA) in the next out.
The experienced SweetPro’s Chemical Weapon (11-8, PBRA) from the Kasper Bucking Bulls herd has a mouthwatering matchup with Aaron Kleier who has a personal 2-for-2 record against the bull.
Wayne Crisp will take on Thomas Cook’s Raven (0-0, PBRA) in the bulls PBR debut for the Kaspers, while Lane Mellers will face off against Dan Klabe’s Cherry Ripe (1-2, PBRA), who we last saw covered at Newcastle in 2018 by Cliff Richardson for 83 points.
Hunter Valley bull riders Oscar Leake and Justin Robards will close out the round against the Klabe pair of Wildside (0-0, PBRA) and Little Bit Cool (0-0, PBRA), who will both make their debuts in Grafton.
The run of Klabe buckers continues when Sam Woodard opens the second round against Monstrous Nightmare (0-1, PBRA).
Black Jack (0-0, PBRA) will make his PBR debut against Oscar Leake with Josh Cavanagh out next riding Outlaw (2-1, PBRA).
Singleton’s Jono Couling looks to have a favourable draw in Jack Frost (7-3, PBRA) even though the bulls has bucked off his last five riders.
Im Cool (0-0, PBRA) will debut in Grafton against Lane Mellers, as will Matt Black (0-0, PBRA), who kicks off a string of TnR buckers against Brady Fielder.
Bailey Woodard has booked a rematch with the unridden Ooh Kit Carson (8-0, PBRA). Their previous matchup went to the bull in 3.7 seconds with a 42.5-point bullscore at Dubbo in 2018.
Tamworth cowboy Ethan Watts goes up against Broken Halo (9-2, PBRA) for the first time with Lachlan Richardson next to ride aboard Wild Paint (7-3, PBRA).
Full Noise (1-0, PBRA) was impressive in his debut performance at Cunnamulla last week and has drawn Troy Cross as he looks to make it back to back buck offs.
Matt Pfingst will complete the section and the run of TnR bulls with a tough matchup against Feel The Fire (11-2, PBRA).
Cliff Richardson gets the final section underway against Maynes’ Twisted X (3-2, PBRA). The pair have met previously, and that was back at Bendigo in 2018 where the Gresford cowboy took the round win with 85.5 points.
The next out is also a rematch. This one is from last weekend in Cunnamulla where Hazmat (4-2, PBRA) defeated Robert Hicks in 1.25 seconds with a 42.5-point performance.
Merv Church will take on the unridden Walking Wounded (3-0, PBRA) before we move into a string of Kasper Bucking Bulls where Fraser Babbington will get his shot at Wrangler’s Volatile (8-3, PBRA).
Wrangler’s Geronimo (1-2, PBRA) has been covered twice for 84-point scores in his short career, and Wayne Crisp gets his chance to add his name to the list alongside Lane Mellers and Lachlan Richardson.
Aaron Kleier gets another great matchup in Round 2. He faces SweetPro’s Mystery (1-4, PBRA). These two went head to head at Newcastle last month where the reigning Aussie Champion emerged victorious with 86.5 points.
Veteran TnR bucker OOH Night Hawk (16-4, PBRA) looks an excellent challenge for Jay Borghero with Mick Knight next to ride against Aces & Eights (6-1, PBRA).
We finish off the round with a couple of the best up and coming bulls in the country. Both Hammer McKenzie (6-0, PBRA) and Crackalackin (3-0, PBRA) are unridden with outstanding average bull scores for TnR. JC Davis and Justin Robards will have their work cut out to hear the whistle aboard these two rookie bulls.
Here is the full 2019 Grafton Invitational Daysheet.
It looks tough to go past Aaron Kleier this weekend. The 20-year-old has drawn a couple of very nice bulls, and he has a positive history with both Chemical Weapon and Mystery.
Fraser Babbington has also drawn well in both rounds. The kiwi bull rider won’t be too far away in the aggregate.
Cliff Richardson looks well placed to finish with multiple scores on the board and Brady Fielder is riding too well to leave out of my top-4.
Don’t forget to check out The Morning Line on the PBR Australia website tomorrow morning and as always, I will be providing updates in the Ride the Rage Score Center from 7 pm AEST on Saturday.
Come back on Sunday for my wrap-up of the 2019 Grafton Invitational.