Pirates beat Scone in tough Central North first round encounter
Pirates got the points they were after but were given a stern opening round examination by Scone at Ken Chillingworth Oval on Saturday.
It was a lot harder work for the premiers than the 47-25 scoreline suggests, with only a handful of points in it midway through the second half.
“They’re going to surprise a lot of sides this year,” Pirates coach Mat Kelly said.
He thought their fitness probably shone through in the end as they ran away with it. They also got back to playing a bit more direct.
“The first half we played really good footy. Then we went to sleep and invited them back into it,” he said.
Andrew Moodie was fantastic for them at five-eighth, picking up the three points and players player. Kelly cited his try with 15 to go as the one that really sparked their second half resurgence.
“Off the scrum, he took it straight and ran 40m to score,” he said.
He said no-one was quite happy with their performance, knowing that they are capable of better than what they produced.
“There were sections there where we defended well and sections where we defended ordinary,” Kelly said.
But it is a starting point, and Kelly felt the tough win will only benefit them.
“Having to dig in and do some hard yakka was really good,” Kelly said.
And they had to dig in, with breakaway Sam Collins red-carded 10 minutes into the second half.
Number eight Conrad Starr was in typical try-scoring form with a double, while Colby LaChiusa produced a brilliant solo effort to set up a try for Damian Reti.