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Central North Rugby: Pirates turn on the razzle dazzle


Pirates coach Mat Kelly has been waiting for them to put it together for 80 minutes, and on Saturday they finally did.

They were clinical and relentless as they walloped two-times defending champions Narrabri 66-19.

It was the most dominant grand final display for years, and likened to watching the All Blacks and Wallabies.

“The scrum was fantastic, the lineouts were great. All over the park I can't fault a single one of them,” Kelly said.

It was a stark contrast to their last premiership in 2012 when they trailed for the majority of the game and just snuck home with a late try.

The writing was well and truly on the wall on Saturday by half-time.

“I was pretty happy at half-time being 40-12 up,” Kelly said.

That was the same scoreline as the final scoreline in the major semi-final, and even with the Blue Boars penchant for comebacks, with the way Pirates were playing they looked unlikely to be running that down.

They attacked with precision and power, and were defensively superb, cramping the Blue Boars for room and continually forcing them backwards. And importantly their discipline was good.

The game started brightly for the Blue Boars with skipper Matt Schwager, after six or seven phases punching one off the ruck, sneaking over just two and a half minutes in.

“They started with a bang and likewise in the second half,” Kelly said.

“We knew it was always going to happen.”

That said, it probably was a bit of a wake-up call.

“It kicked the boys into gear,” he said.

They quickly found their rhythm and as their scrum began to dominate, winger Damian Reti cut in from the left wing and bumped off Narrabri centre Mitch Kelly like he was a pinball to level the scores.

Four minutes later Conrad Starr flopped over for the first of his hat-trick from a pushover scrum against the feed.

Andrew Mepham extended Pirates’ lead further a couple of minutes later after a burst from Amos Ioasa. Narrabri winger Luke Tuckey just managed to ankle tap the runaway half-back, but Pirates quickly shifted to the right and, coming into the line fullback Jake Hartmann attracted two defenders, leaving Mepham free.

Outside centre Mitch Bath then made it 26-5 midway through the first half after another win against the feed.

Mitch Kelly offered some hope of the game not blowing out, when after a rare period of sustained pressure on Pirates line, he got on the outside of Bath.

But Pirates responded with two tries in the last seven minutes to pull away to a 28-point lead at the break.

The second half was more of the same, man of the match and skipper Starr, fittingly twisting his way over with two Blue Boars defenders on his back to complete the demolition job.

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