Narrabri coach Jake Packer has praised his sides willingness to grind it out as they prepare for a tough back end to the first round.
Unbeaten so far, the Blue Boars' biggest tests are arguably still to come.
They travel to Tamworth on Saturday to face Pirates, and then have Gunnedah away to finish.
In his first year coaching, Packer is "very happy" with how they are travelling.
"I think we're really building," he said.
It hasn't been all smooth sailing. They are yet to field their strongest side and haven't had full numbers at training. But they are getting the results.
"The boys have just really been turning up and playing for each other," he said.
And whoever has come in and just stepped up.
It's why Packer isn't really worried about not having his full team on deck yet, noting that when they do "there will be some tough decisions".
The biggest thing for him has been the things "you can't train for" - playing the 80 minutes, playing for each other and that will to win.
"That's what I'm confident with, I know they're going to grind it out," he said.
They come into Pirates on the back of two tough, but good, wins.
Against Moree two weeks ago after a disrupted lead in - they had to change the team about six times during the week and had a couple of "COVID pull outs" on the Friday night - they found themselves trailing 19-7 at half-time.
But they fought back to get up 28-24.
On Saturday after a tight first half - they led Inverell 19-7 at half-time - they pulled away in the second half for a 43-21 win, Will McDonnell and Tom Nolan both crossing for doubles.
Packer said they started well but thought towards the middle of the game they started kicking too much when they didn't have to.
"There were a lot of gaps on the outside we didn't take advantage of," he said.
At half-time they addressed that, kicking only "as a last resort" and the game opened up a bit more for them.
"Once we started to take the right options. We played more eyes up footy and they were vulnerable for taking them on outwide," he said.
Looking ahead to the awaiting test, Packer noted Pirates' strong kicking game.
"I thought our counter-attack off kicks last week was unreal, we really put a lot of pressure on Inverelll with our pressure," he said.
They will need more of the same on Saturday. Their "get outs" will also have to be really good.
"They rely on kicking into their opponents half and grinding them down," he continued.
He added: "I think the forwards are looking forward to the game".
"Our scrum's been unreal. But I know the test of a scrum is always up against a big Pirates pack."
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