Pirates dig deep for treasured path to final
FORTY minutes of football was all it took for the Peak Downs Pirates to claw their way back into the match against Blackwater Crushers on Saturday.
A big second half comeback saw Pirates run out 38-24 winners in the grand final qualifying match in Tieri
Blackwater took a comfortable 18-6 lead into half-time before Pirates ran the Crushers ragged late in the game.
Pirates coach Mitchell Wyatte said the Tieri players showed character to come back in what he described as a tough, physical game.
"We just said if we could hold the ball and control the ruck we could come back," he said. "We knew we just had to get the little things right.
"It was good preparation for the final."
The Pirates will now prepare for their final against Dysart this Saturday, and Wyatte said the team will work on "the little things" and enjoy the week.
"It will be tough against Dysart and real physical, they are a tough team to beat," he said. "But if we can limit mistakes we can score points, we just have to hold the ball."
Crushers club president Brett Hansen said the players were understandably "gutted" to have their season finish in such a fashion.
"We had the game won at half-time," he said. "We struggled to contain them and they just rolled us up.
"There were a couple of penalties which didn't really help us and it created a bit of a passage for Tieri (Pirates) to take over."
Hansen pointed to the three penalties Crushers conceded in succession and a disallowed try in the first five minutes of the second half as the tipping point.
Despite their seemingly endless run of misfortune, ultimately it was fitness which got the better of the Blackwater players as the Pirates were assisted by a strong core group up front.
"Their one to nine is pretty strong, they've got some good players," Hansen said.
"I think the majority of our boys didn't leave anything out on the field, they gave it their all."