CONRAD Starr has made a habit of finding the tryline and against Barraba on Saturday the Pirates number eight found it five times.
The co-coach was at his barn-storming best and cleaned up the awards.
He received the zone and club three points and the players’ player vote.
“Conrad was a phenomenal force today,” assistant coach Barry Everingham said.
With coach Andrew Verrell away and Andrew Moodie rested, he really took ownership over the leadership of the side, he said.
Pirates were at their damaging best, running in 12 tries in their 80-nil romp.
It was brilliant to watch.
They were relentless in the first half and played with a real precision.
“It was not a matter of us scoring soft tries,” Everingham said.
“They were well constructed tries and more our clinical execution.”
Except for maybe Starr’s last for which he ran about 50m through some tired Rams defence.
The rest were all the result of power running.
They didn’t have it as much their own way in the second half. That was part them pushing the passes a bit, part the wet conditions and part Barraba lifting.
“Barraba really stuck it to us for 10-15 minutes there,” Everingham said.
“Another thing we spoke about was not leaking points.”
“They did have a good period of time where they had phases on us.”
Another pleasing aspect was the support play.
“We talked about the support players being close,” Everingham said.
So that when they were under pressure they had someone there right under their arm.
That was evident in the first half, and in the last half of the second half.
Starr was hard to ignore as their best but James Trappel would have been a close second.
He was outstanding, Everingham said.
“His running lines at fullback were excellent and he took the right options when to kick,” he said.
If the Rams were carrying any hopes of repeating their shock win last year, they were quickly abated.
Pirates blew them away in the first 15 minutes and didn’t let up.
“They were really quick at the breakdown,” Rams coach Ben Crowley said.
That meant they were getting quick ball, and made it hard for the Rams to set their defence.
“It was looking really dark and gloomy for us after the first half,” Crowley said.
He said at half-time they changed their structure and their tactics a bit.
“We tried to play football at the other end,” he said.
They had some success with that.
In the second half they were able to put a few phases together, but they just couldn’t finish off.
Starr’s counterpart Blake Etheridge was equally as outstanding for the Rams.
“He was everywhere,” Crowley said.
All the loose forwards were good, as was Ben Taber in the second row.
Five-eighth Chris Sweeney also kicked well and got them out of trouble a number of times..