Pirates co-coach Mick Squires said there is "a lot to build on" after the premiers showed signs of getting back to their best against Barraba on Saturday.
After successive losses Squires had said going into the game he just wanted to get the five points: he wasn't worried about the scoreline.
It was mission accomplished, prevailing 37-5 in what was a mud bath at Gwydir Oval. By their game the ground had seen a fair bit of traffic with the first round of the North West girls 7s comp and women's gala day preceding them.
"I think we'll get a lot of confidence out of that," Squires said.
He and coaching partner Todd Pascoe were really happy with what they saw, "those few things we changed" working well.
"We had some really good work from the forwards, the whole pack was good," he said, adding that he thought they were really patient too.
They shot out of the blocks, skipping out to a 17-nil lead mid-way through the first half. From there they pushed on to lead 27-5 at the break after Brandon Parry crossed for the second of his double right on half-time.
Squires said it started with their defence, some strong defence early leading to turnovers, which they were then able to capitalise on.
Their mindset and attitude in defence was something he had highlighted as needing to improve, and he was generally happy with the defensive effort.
"Barraba made us do a lot of defending at different times," he said.
"I thought our tackle technique on a lot of guys was a lot better."
"And our line speed was good, that was the most pleasing part."
One of the other really pleasing things, and says a lot about their recent spate of injuries, was that they didn't pick up any injuries. In their last two games they have lost five players for expected three weeks and upwards.
Making his debut Jioji Cakacaka, or "Tuks" as he is better known, was impressive at hooker. Squires said he probably 90 per cent of the time hit his marks with his throw, was strong defensively and had a lot of strong carries.
Jack Shelton and Doug Biffin were along with him their best, he thought.
Andrew Collins also "had a wow of a game" and led from the front assuming the captaincy.
It didn't quite all go to plan with Walcha managing to pick up two points from their loss to Gunnedah, leaving Pirates still in fourth.
Narrabri's 43-22 win over Inverell has though given them a bit of a buffer on the Highlanders, the loss and Moree's 46-19 win over Scone seeing them slip to sixth.
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