The run to the 2019 PBR Australia Grand Finals is now at full speed, and the pressure is on the best bull riders in the country as the race for the gold buckle hots up. No one wants to be left behind.
Here are tonight’s must-see matchups:
Round 1 Matchups
Lachlan Richardson on Train Wreck (Throsby & Russell Bucking Bulls):
Train Wreck is far from the smoothest draw in the round because he possesses a hop-skipping action which disrupts the riders’ rhythm. He has bucked off his last five opponents with Brady Fielder falling victim in the previous two outs. In his past few performances Train Wreck has opted to turn back to the left, but he can go either way. The Gresford cowboy comes into this matchup in good form after riding three of his last four bulls and finishing runner up at Mackay last weekend. I think Richardson’s experience will get him by here.
Bailey Woodard on Red Man (Throsby & Russell Bucking Bulls):
Woodard put together a great ride in the second round at Mackay, and he should be primed to make it two in a row against this veteran bull that he has drawn multiple times. Way back in 2017, the Dingo bull rider and Red Man teamed up for an 83-point ride. In the Steel City this season they met again and the trip lasted 6.63-seconds, but the bull was judged to have committed a foul leaving the chute. Red Man has been ridden a lot, and while he may mix up the pattern, he has outstanding tempo, and that gives all cowboys a great chance at making the whistle.
Lawson Nobbs on Ransom 2 (John Gill & Sons):
Ransom 2 gets ridden 50% of the time on tour, and while he doesn’t appear to be that difficult, he does throw his head around a lot and possesses plenty of tricks. Of the six qualified rides, four of those have been for round wins with Lane Mellers the latest to finish on top in Newcastle with a ride score of 85.5 points. Interestingly, Nobbs will be the first left-handed rider to climb aboard Ransom 2 in PBR competition. The Moura talent was unlucky not to finish with two scores on the board last week in Mackay, and I think he can go one better here.
Josh Cavanagh on Stir Crazy (John Gill & Sons):
We have not seen Stir Crazy covered for eight seconds since the PBR Global Cup in 2018 where he was ridden on both days. Since then he has bucked off five straight riders and averaged a bull score of 43-points. Stir Crazy produces a consistent trip around to the right and he doesn’t stray too far from the chute. Mackay was a rough event for Cavanagh who took on two extremely tough bulls that like to go left. The Rockhampton young-gun should be much more comfortable in this right-handed matchup against Stir Crazy.
Round 2 Matchups
Cliff Richardson on Matt Black (Throsby & Russell Bucking Bulls):
Richardson looked excellent in the opening round at Mackay last weekend before coming up empty-handed against a good bull in the final out of the night. We have only watched Matt Black buck once on tour, and he was ridden for 84.5 points and the round win by Brady Fielder in Round 2 at Grafton. The bull wasted no time turning sharply back to the right with plenty of pace, and that should suit Richardson. The Gresford bull rider picked up the win at Grafton last month and he looks to be hitting his straps at the right time of the season.
Lawson Nobbs on Coors Light (John Gill & Sons):
It has been a while since a rider with the talent of Nobbs has set his rope on Coors Light. The last of the eight qualified rides recorded on this bull was for 86 points by Lucas Divino at the 2018 Iron Cowboy in Tamworth. Since then, he has bucked off six straight riders. The bull prefers a left-handed spin and likes to throw in some off-tempo steps. He has been known to try to fake the rider out and go right occasionally. Either way, Nobbs should be able to handle just about anything the bull throws at him. This matchup should be a great battle.
Oscar Leake on Hazmat (Maynes Bucking Bulls):
Hazmat looks a nice challenge for Leake who has put together some very nice rides into his hand at his previous two events. The bull bucks with plenty of intensity and likes to take a couple of leaps to clear the chutes and then gets down to business; to the right and fast. The Dungog cowboy got a good look at this bull from the back of the chutes last month at Grafton. Right-handed riders have looked more comfortable aboard Hazmat, and that should give Leake the confidence to go out and give the bull his best.
Brady Fielder on oOh! Kit Carson (Throsby & Russell Bucking Bulls):
Kit Carson is unridden in nine PBR performances, but it has been quite a while since we saw a top-ranked rider climb aboard. His last four opponents have been left-handed cowboys. Kit Carson is consistently outstanding, but he may have met his match here with the right-handed Fielder. Fielder has covered eleven of his past thirteen bulls and picked up the buckle last weekend in Mackay courtesy of an 89-point ride aboard POA Fully Locked & Loaded. The Clermont sensation should be able to cut Kit Carson off at the sharp turn back and stick with him to the whistle.
Lachlan Richardson on On Point (Throsby & Russell Bucking Bulls):
On Point is a veteran bull who has been ridden eleven times in his twenty-nine out PBR career. Right-handed riders hold an outstanding success rate across the past two Australian seasons aboard this bull. The only thing that seems to change in each of his trips is the distance he drifts from the chutes. On Point gets loads of airtime, has great rhythm and I think we will see Richardson open up with his outside leg and gain some extra points.
Aaron Kleier on Maximum Rat (George Hempenstall):
These two have met previously on the Monster Energy Tour with Kleier getting the nod for 86-points at Newcastle in his Championship Season. Four of the five qualified rides aboard Maximum Rat have resulted in round wins with the average score coming in at just over 86-points. The bull turns back to the left more often than not and displays lovely timing. Kleier has struggled to draw bulls capable of carrying him to 85+ point rides over the past month or two of competition, so I am expecting to take full advantage in this matchup. Expect the pair to do battle into the reigning Australian Champion’s hand.