Central North Rugby Union: Pirates and Blue Boars set to clash

The Pirates sit atop the ladder undefeated but they’re not content, coach Mat Kelly said.

The cause of that discontent are the moments of impatience that seep into the side’s play – a desire to convert scoring opportunities without building sufficient pressure.

The Pirates are good, but Kelly believes they can be better.

He hopes to see plenty of patience when the team travels to Narrabri on Saturday for the sides’ first encounter since the Pirates’ 66-19 hammering of the Blue Boars in last season’s grand final.

“We’re happy where we sit on the table but we’re not content with how we’re performing,” he said.

“We’ve definitely got some room for improvement.

“With the ball in hand, we’re very happy with our attack. But we need to work on our discipline.

“And staying in the game for 80 minutes has been a bit patchy the last few weeks.

“We’ll look to put in a whole game [against Narrabri].”

He added: “It would be nice to keep the ball in hand and stay patient and build pressure, rather than trying to score each play.”

While last season’s grand final is no doubt still fresh in the Pirates’ minds, Kelly prefers to focus on another match between the sides in the lead up to Saturday’s clash.

That is the fourth-placed Blue Boars’ one-point win over the Pirates in the corresponding round last season.

“I haven’t heard too much about them [this year],” Kelly said.

“At home they’re a completely different team. Now that harvest time – the cotton picking season – is winding up, a few of their boys should start playing more footy. We won’t be taking them lightly. Don’t worry about that.”

The Pirates have lost No.7 Sam Collins (shoulder) for Saturday’s clash.

His spot has been taken by Doug Biffin, who missed last week’s 50-12 thumping of Gunnedah for a personal reason.

That means youngster Chad Lambert, who replaced Biffin against Gunnedah in what was his first regular season top-grade game of the year, remains in the side at No.6.

Kelly praised Lambert’s performance against Gunnedah.

“He was fantastic. He got two [referee] points,” Kelly said.

“He was a bit gassed because he was not used to playing for 80 minutes. They only play 70 minutes in reserve grade. But he performed really well.”

In other games today (home team listed first), Gunnedah play Scone, Walcha confront Barraba, Tamworth meet Moree and Quirindi and Inverell clash.