PIRATES U16s completed back to back undefeated premiership seasons with a 30-point win in their local derby decider at Moree on Saturday.
They have taken all the silverware on offer in the last two years and were too good for their cross-town rivals Tamworth, running out 36-6 victors.
It was a tighter contest than the scoreline suggests.
“We expected it to be tough. We expected they would come out at 100 miles an hour and they did,” Pirates co-coach Stuart Prowse said.
“We said we needed to absorb it.”
They did that and, probably halfway through the first half, started to take control.
They led 17-6 at halftime on the back of tries to Hayden Griffiths and Nick Sorensen.
The Magpies got to 14-6 with four to go but a last- minute penalty to Nick McCrohan meant the Magpies had to score twice.
Tamworth started the second half horribly.
They kicked out on the full and Pirates made them pay, with half-back Micah Scarth slipping through.
Winger Tom Brazel then crossed with 11 and then five to go to make sure of the result.
As has been the case all season, Prowse said their defence really set the tone.
They put a lot of pressure on at the breakdown and if they didn’t get a turnover they slowed the Magpie ball down.
Prowse said they’d worked a lot on that the past few weeks when they hadn’t had games.
He said Scarth’s try really set the scene for the second half.
They showed some great hands and put some nice plays together.
“We’ve got a backline that is just prepared to do the hard grinding work,” Prowse said.
“We train them like forwards sometimes.”
Scarth was hard to go past as their best and was judged the player of the grand final.
He was exceptional, Prowse said, along with the rest of their spine – number eight McCrohan and five-eighth Greg Prowse.
Magpies co-coach Brett Johns said Pirates were just too good.
“It was always going to be tough – they’re a really good side,” Johns said.
“They just played at a different pace to us.”
They were on the back foot from early on.
“We gave away some silly penalties in the first half,” Johns said.
He said the start to the second half set them back.
“We just knew we had to stay in pace with them in the first 10-15 minutes,” Johns said.
“We didn’t do that. That probably cost us the game a bit.”
They never gave up though and pulled off some great covering tackles, which they needed to, and all tried hard.
But Johns thought Alex Wall, Jock Capel and Cameron Clout, particularly, had strong games.