Pirates made to struggle as usual at Walcha

WALCHA has given Pirates their share of trouble in recent years and was at it again at Walcha on Saturday.

The Rams really stuck it to them and into the second half there was only three points in it.

But Pirates again showed that when they turn it on they are almost impossible to stop and surged to a 25-9 win.

It was until then a very unimpressive display, the polar opposite to Gunnedah the week before.

“We played terrible,” coach Andrew Verrell said.

He described it was one of the worst performances he’s seen from a Pirates side.

They really struggled with the basics.

“We couldn’t tackle to save our lives,” he said.

“We struggled under the conditions holding onto the ball.” 

In fairness, so did the Rams. Not surprisingly in the conditions both sides dropped a lot of ball.

Pirates looked nothing like the well-oiled machine they were against Gunnedah.

“We looked like a rabble,” Verrell said.

“Like a team that had just come together.”

Their problems started up front. The Rams obliterated them in the scrums.

After a “good chat” at half-time they were a lot better in the second half.

Verrell said he didn’t have to say to the players how disappointed he was. 

They were just as disappointed themselves. 

“They turned things around in the second half,” he said.

He said everyone stepped up, the senior boys like his co-coaches Conrad Starr and Andrew Moodie particularly.

Tim Elliott coming on at tighthead in the second half also helped picked up the scrum.

“When we did start to pick and drive, our fitness and the pace we were able to play at, is how we got in behind them,” he said. 

“We started to get on the front foot with 25 minutes to go.”

He was never really too concerned though – even at 6-3 – and was very proud of what they did in the second half.

One of the few positives was their line defence. 

“While our defence in the midfield was terrible, when we did get into the red zone our defence was pretty good,” Verrell said. 

Starr and Moodie also contributed to the second-half revival on the scoreboard and, along with Matt Kelly, who “played out of his skin”, were Pirates’ best.


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