PIRATES ambushed Barraba in the first half to set the foundation for an 80-point shut-out at Ken Chillingworth Oval on Saturday.
It was clinicial and calculated, with the home side operating like a well-oiled machine and running in eight tries to lead 54-nil at the break.
“We blew them away, didn’t give them a shot at it,” Pirates assistant coach Barry Everingham said.
He said they had spoken a lot about attitude heading in and making sure they went with the right attitude – a lesson they learnt courtesy of the Rams last season.
“There was not much wrong with the first half,” Everingham said.
About the only complaint was their restarts.
“We did some really good building of phases and our execution was great,” he said.
They moved the ball with precision and linked up with their support runners brilliantly.
The signs were ominous for the Rams almost from the kick-off, with Pirates earning their first penalty less than two minutes in.
James Trappel missed from almost in front but redeemed himself a couple of minutes later, running a good line into the backline from fullback and onto a nice ball from Jake Douglas to score the first of Pirates’ 12 tries.
It was a constant stream of tries from there.
Pirates had the bonus point secured within the first 15 minutes, with Blake Pollock, Sam Bowden and Ned O’Neil Shaw crossing.
O’Neil-Shaw’s try was one of several they created from around or inside their half.
Centre Greg White burst through the Rams’ defence and then grubbered right for the chasers.
The Rams made a mess of the clean-up, with O’Neil-Shaw coming through and scooping up the loose ball.
After having a hand in several of Pirates’ tries, Douglas put the stamp on a dominant first half when he instigated and finished off a breakout in the final minute and a half.
There was some relief for the Rams in the second half both on the scoreboard and in general.
They enjoyed a bit more ball, a bit more continuity and had a bit more punch in attack.
Their defence also picked up and they were able to hold Pirates to just the one try until the final 10 minutes.
The game opened up a bit then, with number eight Conrad Starr scoring three times in the last seven minutes to take his tally to five.
“The first half they blew us straight off the park,” Rams coach Ben Crowley said.
“They’re a quality side and they showed that.”
He was very proud of the way they came back in the second half.
For a while in the second half , they did have Pirates under a bit of pressure but just couldn’t turn it into points.