Pirates back on top

PIRATES wrested the Central North premiership from Narrabri's grasp in emphatic and scintillating fashion at Ken Chillingworth Oval on Saturday.

Like they were in the major semi-final, and as the final 66-19 scoreline intimates, Pirates were simply superior.

The scrum was dominant, defensively they were almost impenetrable and in attack they were sublime, with skipper Conrad Starr bagging a hat-trick and Damian Reti and Andrew Mepham both getting across for doubles.

Pirates coach Mat Kelly had two weeks ago had little to fault, and had even less on Saturday as they blew the two-times defending champions off the park.

“All the boys have put in all year. It's been a privilege to be involved,” Kelly said.

The Blue Boars struck first through skipper Matt Schwager, but Pirates responded with four tries in 12 minutes to scamper out a 26-5 lead with still 20 minutes to play in the first half.

By half-time that was out to 40-12, and Pirates looked on their way to their first premiership since 2012.

Starr, Bart Leach, Amos Ioasa, Brendan Rixon and Jake Hartmann were all part of that side. Kelly was too but was consigned to the sidelines for the grand final through injury, and said it was “fantastic” to be back on top.

“It's just great reward for the effort the boys put in,” he said.

And the club as a whole, Kelly remarking about the support they'd had. That was evident on Saturday with the black and gold army turning up in their droves.

They were hoping to be celebrating three premierships but that wasn't to be with their 18s and second grade sides both going down.

Seconds were over-run by minor premiers Moree 29-15 after leading 15-7 at half-time, while the 18s were outclassed by Barraba 43-19.

The Rams did the junior double with the 16s holding out a strong-finishing Tamworth to get home 15-14.