PIRATES winger Sam Bowden has made something of a habit of scoring in the finals and will be a key out wide for them against Walcha today.
Bowden scored in both Pirates’ major semi-final and grand final wins last year.
The only game he’s missed out in was the minor semi-final three weeks ago before bagging three against Inverell last week.
It’s always a good feeling when you score three but when it’s your first and gets your side into a grand final it’s even better.
“It felt pretty good,” Bowden said of what was his first hat-trick for Pirates.
Two of his three tries gave Pirates the ascendancy. His first was an intercept in the opening minutes of the game.
“If I missed it it was a try their way,” he said.
“It was a bit of a gamble but it paid off.”
From there, Pirates were only behind briefly.
Bowden was part of their premiership-winning side last year.
He started on the wing in the grand final and would love to be part of another success.
“It’d be fantastic,” he said.
The fact that it’s Walcha they’re playing has made for some interesting times at home this week.
Dad Jamie was part of the 1984-winning Rams side.
“Dad’s pretty chuffed with how I’m playing and that I’m playing in a grand final,” Bowden said.
“But it might be a bit strange for him going up there and barracking for Pirates.”
The 21-year-old has been one of Pirates’ biggest improvers.
He has really stepped up and commanded his spot on the wing.
Bowden said a few changes in the backline had probably helped him, like Aaron Pinches moving into the centres, but on form it’s hard to say he wouldn’t have been there anyway.
He’s been regularly on the scoresheet and has on a few occasions really lit things up, grubbering through and regathering to score.
“A lot of it has come with confidence,” Bowden said.
“Last year I was a bit worried that I might get dropped.”
This year he’s taken the attitude that if he plays well he’ll get picked.
He was one of the current crop that was there at Narrabri when they were flogged in the first round by 40-odd points.
It certainly wasn’t a great start to their premiership defence, but they’ve worked their way through and now have another shot at the premiership.
The Rams though will be tough.
“They’ve been one of the top teams all year,” Bowden said. “But if we keep going the way we’re going we should be a good chance.”