Had their preparation been better than one training run together on Friday night, Central North colts coach Sean Tufrey has no doubt they could have been in the mix for the Country Championships silverware.
As it was they played-off for third and fourth, not a bad effort for a side that was only really thrown together during the week and finalised on the eve of the tournament.
"We brought three blokes in on Friday," Tufrey said.
He was understandably "really proud" of the way they performed.
"I was very pleased with them. They did well," he said.
"We were competitive all the way through the competition."
"A little bit more training and we could have gone further."
They finished with just the one win - a 21-12 win over Far North Coast in their final game on Saturday - but only went down to Central West by two points in their opening game, and but for the bounce of the all could have won that one, Tufrey said.
He was, given the circumstances, particularly impressed with the way they really pulled together and played as a team.
They also showed plenty of spirit, none more so than in their play-off game against Illawarra.
Trailing 45-3 at half-time, Tufrey conceded he thought it could be a cricket score.
"But the boys didn't lay down and matched them," he said.
Half-back Flynn Bowyer burst through to score their first try, Jake Hayter then charging his way over in the shades of full-time, after some sustained pressure from the Kookaburras, to make the final scoreline 57-15.
Tufrey said they weren't really prepared for the speed, and way that Illawarra played in the first half.
The speed of the game in general was probably the biggest adjustment for them.
"It is a lot faster," he said.
He said the players will be the better for the experience and paid credit to Pirates president Tom Cutcliffe for cobbling the side together.
He was the one that really drove it.
"If it wasn't for Tommy we wouldn't have had a side," Tufrey said.