Central North Rugby: Pirates maintain hold on competition lead
The derby spoils emphatically secured for another year, Pirates' focus quickly turned to their impending top of the table clash with Walcha. The premiers venture to the Rams heartland next week, and will do so confident after dismantling Tamworth 84-6 at Ken Chillingworth Oval on Saturday.
Mourning the loss of club stalwart Col Easter and former coach Denis O’Callaghan, Pirates put on a show they would have been delighted to watch.
Coach Mat Kelly was.
“It was just good to see the effort the boys have put in get rewarded,” Kelly said.
Sure the execution wasn't perfect, but even when things didn't go to plan they manged to turn it into something.
The Magpies were resilient early but it quickly became apparent it was going to be a long day. From 5-3 midway through the first half half, Pirates piled on five tries in the last 15 minutes to lead 31-6 at the break.
There was more punishment for the Magpies to come in the second half.
At times it felt a bit like a cat playing with a mouse as Pirates almost effortlessly busted through tackles and laid on try after try, the Magpies struggling to counter the pace Pirates with which Pirates played the game at.
“Our speed behind the ruck and getting quick ball to the backs was very good,” Kelly said.
Showing glimpses of their 2016 form, he felt like the last few weeks they were brewing towards a performance such as they put out on Saturday.
“I could tell the boys were up for the occasion,” he said.
“Obviously it was a big day with all four grades playing.”
They just missed the clean sweep with the U17s going down by two.
Kelly’s main message at half-time was to be patient.
“Our start was very slow. It was like we were still asleep.
“But it was good to see we could lift a gear and go on with it,” he said.
He pinpointed Doug Biffin’s try in the opening minutes of the second half as the moment he sensed it all starting to come together.
Biffin was one of three players to cross twice with Brendan Rixon and Damian Reti also scoring doubles.
Rixon and Biffin were in Kelly’s assessment two of their best, although it was hard to pick out standouts.
“That was our best team performance so far,” he said.
“Everyone did their job, which was what we spoke about before the game.”
Magpies coach Craig Summers was again left to lament his sides defensive effort.
“Just our one on one tackles. They are big and strong and our guys didn’t put them down,” he said.
“We needed to put shoulders on blokes and stick them when we did.”
It was, he thought, a step backwards on their performance against Narrabri but there were “some glimpses” in the first half.
“We put some phases together here and there,” he said.
But their execution again just let them down.
The second they didn’t really see a lot of the ball.
Half-back Billy Urquhart best served the Magpies, who suffered a couple of injuries out of the game with James Hall going off in the opening minutes and Kieran McHugh late in the game.