CNRU: Pirates close out regular season with win over Gunnedah
If you left the Pirates-Gunnedah game on Saturday after 10 minutes, you’d be surprised to hear the end result.
Three tries in 10 minutes saw Pirates cruise to a 17-0 lead as the Red Devils were caught sleeping before things evened out.
The final scoreline was 38-21 in favour of Pirates to complete a perfect regular season for the minor premiers.
However, as the final score indicates, it wasn’t all smooth sailing for Pirates despite the incredible start.
The 17-0 lead eventually got out to 24-0 in the 21st minute when Conrad Starr crossed for his second try of the day off the back of a scrum move.
Up to this point, Gunnedah had had no quality ball in the Pirates half.
That changed a minute later when the Red Devils charged into the Pirates 50, only to lose the ball before any pressure could be built.
However, the Red Devils managed to win back possession, and score their first points, through a charge down.
Winger Aisea Raitala pounced on the open ball to cross with 15 minutes left in the first half.
The try gave Gunnedah a surge of energy as the home side started to even the ledger.
Aided by an extra man on the field – Pirate Jack Shelton had been yellow carded for a high tackle – Gunnedah crossed again two and half minutes from half-time to peg the lead back to 10 points.
Neither side was able to gain the upper hand in the second stanza early on until Starr sparked his team into action – something that he does more often than not – with a bust down the right side.
The No. 8 was caught but was able to offload to Ben Goodman.
Goodman linked up with Andrew Mepham who finished the movement off to score his second try of the day.
Pirates were in again eight minutes later when Mepham made a break against the run of play and put Sam Collett over.
Eight minutes from full-time Raitala doubled up on the back of a penalty to make the score 38-21.
Gunnedah continued to throw everything at Pirates who were good enough to hold out the Red Devils to leave the score unchanged when the buzzer sounded.