HE might have missed out on playing finals with his Harbour side but Pirates second rower Charles Elton still has a shot at playing in a grand final this season.
Elton and his Pirates team-mates will take on defending champions Moree on Saturday for the chance to play Narrabri for the silverware.
They were forced to take the preliminary final route after being edged out by the Blue Boars 22-20 last Saturday.
It was Elton’s first taste of Central North finals.
The 21-year old Kiwi only arrived a couple of months ago after answering an SOS from Pirates after they lost Tim Fonua to a season-ending injury.
Originally from Auckland, he moved down to Dunedin to attend university.
That was where the connection to Pirates came.
“Cameron (Young) and Carry (Michael Carr) stayed with my coach,” he said.
“I got a call a day after my season finished saying ‘do you want to come over for eight weeks?’.”
His Harbour side had just missed out on the four and he jumped at the chance.
He arrived mid-July and played his first game for the seconds against Scone.
“My first game in first grade was the game against Narrabri,” Elton said.
They lost then by two points too.
“It’s been quite different temperature-wise with the heat,” he said.
He’s not really used to the warm weather.
The football too is a bit different.
“It’s a wee bit faster over here,” he said.
“That’s probably due to the conditions.”
“But they’re a wee bit behind here in the set pieces.”
That’s been highlighted on more than the odd occasion come Bledisloe Cup time.
He has been playing in the second row for Pirates but is more naturally a number eight.
“I play eight back at home,” he said.
It’s where he’s played most of his footy, although he has played a bit of second row, and knew when he came out that would probably be where he figured.
Saturday was a story of “too many mistakes and penalties”.
“We couldn’t hold onto the ball and weren’t sticking to our structure,” Elton said.
He is a bit unsure of what to expect from the Bulls.
“I haven’t played Moree yet,” he said.
“Hopefully we can get up and come back here and beat them (Narrabri).”
It will be a big day for the club, with second grade also trying to make it through to the grand final and the 16s and 18s playing off for their respective premierships.