PIRATES will win or lose today’s preliminary final – and a grand final berth – on their discipline.
That’s how Pirates coach Garry Walsh sees things heading into their match-up with Narrabri at Ken Chillingworth Oval.
“Because we have the points in us,” Walsh explained.
It’s just a matter of how many points they concede.
That was the problem against Moree last week, although it wasn’t sloppy defence that hurt them.
Walsh said to score four tries to two and lose was hard to take and put the blame on their discipline, or ill-discipline as the case may be.
“Our discipline at the breakdown and around the ruck area was dreadful,” he said.
Five fewer penalties and, in his summation, they would have won the game.
“At this time of the year you can’t concede that amount (18) of penalties,” he said.
Some he could swallow but not the penalties for hands in the ruck and being offside at the ruck.
They can’t afford to play that “dumb football”, as he put it, against Narrabri or they’ll find themselves in trouble.
Fortunately last week they had a second chance.
Not so today.
Walsh’s other worry is about bouncing back from a major semi-final loss.
They haven’t historically done that well doing that, not that they have been in that situation too much, but he felt the biggest test for them will be mentally.
Not that the Blue Boars won’t pose a physical challenge – they will.
“I think they will tryto recycle quickly and try to get around the corner very quickly,” Walsh said
A lot of that will be in aid of trying to get a mis-match for five-eighth Brenton Cochrane.
They did that to good effect against Scone two weeks ago.
“We’re aware that that’s the way they want to play,” Walsh said.
But they’re also aware of what they need to do. It’s about denying them time and space, and not buying into Cochrane’s lateral movement.
“If we thwart their forward progress and dominate at the advantage line – and stay onside at the ruck – we’ll frustrate them,” Walsh said.
They know that from their win at Narrabri a few weeks ago.
Walsh commented after that game that they got up in their faces and their pillar and post defence was really good.
Structurally, they were also pretty good and he said it would be structure that will beat the Blue Boars.
“If we stick to our structure, that will put pressure on them and, if we can put pressure on them, we’ll score tries,” he said.
He doesn’t have any qualms about their attack.
“We’ve got a really good conversion rate when we get in the opposition’s red zone,” he said.
“We’ve just got to make sure we’re patient when we get there.”