Barraba/Gwydir held their nerve to beat Pirates 31-24 in an absorbing under-19 grand final at Walcha on Saturday.
A strong five-pointer on the trytlne by Pirates No 3 and captain Koen Reiri and the conversion by No 7 Toby Maslen made it 26-24 with just under 10 minutes left.
But with about five minutes remaining, Ram-Rats fullback Liam Mack crossed for his second try after slicing through Pirates' defence. Dylan Butler converted: 31-24.
As they had done all match, Pirates looked to strike back quickly and put Barraba\Gwydir under pressure on their tryline. However, the Ram-Rats held them out.
Pirates opened the scoring when Maslen crashed over out wide from close range early in the first half: 5-0.
It was 5-5 after Ram-Rats captain Thomas Costello crossed from close range.
With just over five minutes left in the first half, Barraba/Gwydir No 10 Ben Ashley crossed from close range. Butler converted: 12-5.
Pirates struck back when No 10 Lachie McCarthy produced a beautifully weighted kick and No 22 Nick Taggart won the race to the ball to touch down in-goal. No.14 Jackson Kent added the extras: 12-12 and half-time.
The Ram-Rats scored first after the break when Mack finished off a top backline movement to give his side the ascendancy early in the second half. He backed up a break by Ashley, who provided him with an excellent pass under pressure. Butler converted: 19-12.
Pirates replacement Jimmy Schwagger then picked up the ball from the back of a scrum on the Ram-Rats' tryline and scored out wide with 16 minutes left in the match. Maslen missed the conversion: 19-17.
Barraba/Gwydir prop Jack Humbert then showed great strength to barge over the line. Butler converted: 26-17.
Ram-Rats coach Andrew Woollett described the win as "amazing". He said: "We come out with a bit of a game plan - it was pretty simple. We wanted to try and keep the ball in hand. And we probably got a little bit excited with the wind and kicked too much.
"The forwards worked well in patches, but we did enough on the day [to get the win]."