IN a top-of-the-table Central north clash on Saturday, Narrabri hosted Moree and Pirates were the winners.
Two excellent defensive displays saw the Narrabri-Moree clash end up at 8-8, with a scoreless second half.
Pirates’ bonus-point 34-8 win over Scone saw them leapfrog both.
The draw has dropped Moree to third place, with Narrabri in second.
The Buccaneers, unbeaten since round one, never looked like losing in what was a scrappy affair.
A healthy penalty count to both teams meant the game never really got going, according to Pirates coach Andrew Verrell.
It wasn’t all good news for the Pirates as injuries took their toll on the side.
Halfback Cameron Young dislocated his elbow and was replaced by reserve grade nine Tony O’Donnell only for him to break his collarbone within a minute of going on.
Andrew Moodie shone in the backs as did Jake Douglas, both giving good direction in the unstructured game.
Once again, Conrad Starr played well and found the line.
“It is always tough in Scone and a win is a win,” Verrell said.
“As it turned out, the bonus point and the draw in Narrabri worked out well for us.”
Gunnedah made their intentions for the second round known in Inverell with a 39-8 win.
Coach Tim Walsh said the win secured their spot at the top regardless of what happens with the season.
“That’s a nine-point buffer between us and fifth,” Walsh said.
“We are either in the top tier or have a good shot at a semi.”
Captain Matt Hannay starred on his 36th birthday with two tries and the points.
The hooker was joined by fullback James Perrett and brothers Cameron and Scotty Mitchell, praising their defence in the backs.
“Last week (against Tamworth) we weren’t happy with our breakdown work,” Walsh said.
“We have been working on dominating around the ruck and winning the ball and we executed well today.”
Barraba recorded its first win for the season, pipping Quirindi 20-16 at home under lights on Friday night in front of a good crowd.
The loss now leaves the Lions as the only side without a win this season, and at the bottom of the second tier as they enter the next stage.