ZEB Buchanan has been a bit of a live wire addition to Pirates this season.
After shuffling around a few positions, Buchanan seems to have found a home at half-back and was one of Pirates best in Saturday’s two-point loss to Moree.
Nippy and not afraid of the contest, despite often being outsized, Buchanan has consistently impressed Pirates coach Garry Walsh.
“He’s been fantastic,” Walsh said.
“He started on the wing and at fullback and has worked his way to where he should be playing.”
He said his service is good, but above all he puts doubt in the defenders mind – when is he going to attack?.
He is a slippery customer when he does.
After finishing at Farrer last year, Buchanan was contemplating trying his luck in Sydney but decided to stick around for the year at least.
“I missed the first three games,” he said.
“I was doing some travelling.”
He played 20-odd minutes off the bench his first game and has been pretty much a regular starter since.
“It’s been good. I played as a junior with the club,” he said.
Being thrown into different positions isn’t anything new for Buchanan, but if he had to pick a preference it would be for half-back.
On Saturday he had a hand in most of Pirates’ tries. He either set them up or delivered the final pass.
It was his first taste of senior finals action.
“I enjoyed it. It was a tough battle,” he said.
He was on the receiving end of a couple of big hits, but he got straight back up.
It was a little strange for him. Last year he was playing in the black of the Bulls and won an U18s premiership with them.
On Saturday he was trying to stop them reaching the grand final, or at least hosting it.
Pirates came close, but just couldn’t quite finish it off.
“We just lacked a bit at the end territory wise,” Buchanan said.
He said defensively they were “really good”.
They needed to be, with the Bulls camped in their red zone for a fair bit of the first half.
Buchanan said they took a lot of confidence out of the way they kept them out and never really felt they were out of it.
“I felt like we always could work ourselves back into it,” he said.
Which they did but they struggled to get field position when they needed it.
“When we were down their end we seemed to convert pretty easily,” Buchanan said.
But in the last 20 minutes they would have hardly entered their 22.
Pirates will get another shot at making the decider this Saturday when they host Narrabri.
“It should be interesting,” Buchanan said.
“It’ll be a lot tougher than the last game we had with them.”
Pirates won that pretty easily.