Pirates hooker hangs up the boots

PIRATES displayed  its depth of talent to lay on a 59-19 win over Inverell at home on Saturday as the club starts a future without 2012 premiership- winning captain Barton Leach.

Pirates captain Barton  Leach holds up the shield after beating Walcha in the 2012 grand final. The hooker has hung the boots up as he awaits a third knee reconstruction. Photo: Barry Smith 150912BSD80

Pirates captain Barton Leach holds up the shield after beating Walcha in the 2012 grand final. The hooker has hung the boots up as he awaits a third knee reconstruction. Photo: Barry Smith 150912BSD80

The hooker has hung the boots up for good after a scan confirmed what he probably already knew early last week.

“Yeah, I’ve done the ACL (anterior cruciate ligament)  and some cartilage,” Leach said.

The injury will mean a third knee reconstruction, with the hooker saying no more.

“I have already had one on each leg,” Leach said.

“I will help out with a bit of coaching for the rest of the year and see what happens next year.” 

Leach won three premierships in the black and gold.

Conrad Starr, Tim Fonua, Andrew Wynne, and Matt Kelly are the other sidelined forwards.

Fonua will also sit out the season after undergoing shoulder surgery yesterday.

A positive for the club is the rise of flanker Lachlan Cassidy who was arguably one of the best on field on Saturday.

The 19-year-old is the understudy to one of the best back three combinations in the region, with Wynne, Starr and Country Cockatoo Josh Stewart in front of him.

“I learn a lot of stuff from those boys,” Cassidy said.

The utility forward cut the Inverell midfield down and was a constant threat in close.

Inverell had supersized running duo Tukia Muli and Siaki Maea in the centres to counter- act the Pirates’ running game.

“Those big centres made it hard,” Cassidy said.

“The scoreline doesn’t really reflect the game.” 

The tall timber, who works at Chandler’s Tree Service while he awaits a police force application, had only ever played second row in the top grade this year

“I’d rather flanker but don’t care where I play,” Cassidy said.

“I just want to to keep having a crack.”

Another example of  the depth that Pirates had on show was a visiting Zeb Buchanan having a blinder at halfback.

Home on university holidays, Buchanan may play another few games.

The flyhalf will have played enough games to qualify come finals time but has no plans to play yet.

With new side, the Newcastle University Seahorses, not in their prime, he will have Saturdays off come September.

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