IF Moree didn’t already see Pirates as a serious threat to its premiership defence it will now.
Pirates displayed their title credentials with a come-from-behind last-minute 26-20 win over the previously undefeated Bulls.
Sure, it wasn’t flashy, or convincing, but Pirates were able to find something when they needed it.
For that reason, as much as any, they will take more out of the win than they will their previous wins.
“We’ll take a huge amount, especially the second half,” coach Andrew Verrell said.
They restricted the Bulls to only a penalty goal while scoring 15 points themselves.
The game had a finals intensity about it, although both sides struggled to really get any momentum, with penalties rife.
There were flashes of what they were capable of though, and brilliance, such as Jake Douglas’s run to set-up Doug Biffin and turn something into nothing.
After taking a good low pick-up as Pirates tried to run it out of their 22, winger Sam Bowden found Douglas on the inside.
He took full advantage of the realigning defence and weaved his way another 50m upfield before offloading to centre partner Greg White, who, when the defence got to him, found Biffin in support.
“That try out of our 22 had elements of everything we wanted to achieve,” Verrell said.
“Close support lines, people running channels, not chasing the ball.”
He said at half-time he spoke about watching their discipline in respect to the referees’ interpretations and not making silly errors and letting the Bulls back into the game.
“The second half had a bit more parity of possession,” he said.
“When that happened it was a more even contest.”
It allowed them to play the up-tempo game they wanted to.
The first half the Bulls were able to dictate the pace and rumbled it through the forwards well.
“Our driving maul and pick and drive were good,” co-coach Peter Copeman said.
Their second try came after they’d worked it in tight for several phases and sucked in the Pirates defence.
With runners lined up on the right, John Adams picked it up from the back of the ruck and dived over on the left.
Both their tries came through the forwards and gave them a 17-11 lead at the break.
“I thought we played well in the first half,” Copeman said.
He conceded though they probably didn’t get enough value on the scoreboard for the amount of possession they had.
“A couple of tries went begging.”
They were also a bit guilty of going one-off and getting a bit isolated.
But there wasn’t really anything to be too concerned about. They had their chance to win it.