Central North Rugby: Andrew Moodie named player of the grand final

Andrew Moodie produced a vintage performance to help steer Pirates to a second successive Central North premiership at Ken Chillingworth Oval on Saturday.

The five-eighth was adjudged the best on ground and was prominent in both attack and defence as the defending champions overcame a gallant Walcha 40-39 in an epic encounter.

Moodie said to be named the player of the grand final was “very unexpected”, and was “very humbled that we won”.

“It was a really gutsy effort,” he said.

The Rams really came at them hard, fighting back from 26-6 down late in the first half to hit the front midway through the second half. Pirates reclaimed the lead with around eight to go after turning down the three points and backing their scrum.

“I’m glad we took the scrum option under the post,” Moodie said.

“That was all Conrad (Starr). He said we’ve got them under the pump.”

The set pieces were again a cornerstone and Moodie pinpointed the forwards as where they won it.

It’s the second time he has been involved in successful back to back campaigns with Pirates. He was also there in 2010 and 2011, and said “there are no words to explain” how special it is to win a premiership, let alone defend it.

“Going back to back is really tough,” he said.

“As you get older you appreciate it more.”

Saturday was the third game in as many meetings between the two sides where less than 10 points has separated them, but Moodie said there was never any panic from Pirates.

Even when Ed Churchill scored to give Simon Newton the chance to kick the Rams back into the lead with just over two minutes remaining.

“There’s a lot of calming influences in the side,” Moodie said. They knew whatever happened with the kick what they had to do.

Their architect in attack, Moodie did find himself in a bit of a different role in defence pushing out to 13 on the Rams’ set plays.

“We’d spoken about Bathy (Mitch Bath) only having a few games under his belt. I did the whole pre-season.

“Plus we had to nullify their back three,” he said.