Pirates final round 43-21 victory against Barraba-Gwydir was important for a number of reasons.
Firstly, it handed the Tamworth-based side the minor premiership and secondly it gave a slew of players much needed game time before finals.
Pirates have welcomed a number injured players back into their lineup over the last month with the side on Saturday being “as full strength” as they’ll get, coach Mat Kelly said.
“All three Collins boys – Tim, Sam and Andrew – were absolutely critical to the result and Andrew Moodie, Andrew Mepham and Brendan Rixon were great as well. That’s the first time they’ve been on the field together for a while,” Kelly said.
“I wanted them to have that one game together before semis so that worked out well.”
Pirates winger Sam Collett scored a hat-trick in the win that was set up in the first half.
Pirates shot out to a 22-0 lead at the break before Barraba-Gwydir hit back in the second stanza.
“The first half was great, it was good to get back to playing some good football. We showed some good passages of play there,” Kelly said.
“As they [Barraba-Gwydir] went on, they threw the ball around a bit and dragged the scoreline back a fair bit. That was disappointing but we had the right attitude.
“It was probably won in the middle. I thought defence set things up for us. We had to work hard in defence because they were throwing a fair bit at us.”