PORT Pirates blew off the pre-season cobwebs with a strong trial victory over Muswellbrook at Stuart Park on Saturday.
Pirates won 41-7 over four quarters of rugby, after a scratchy start from both teams.
New and old faces gelled well as the Pirates rotated 30-odd players during the match.
Big Joel Riddle has returned from Southern Cross University to take his place in the forwards for his old club.
He performed strongly on Saturday.
Muswellbrook players hung off Riddle as he charged forward with the ball.
"Every time he ran, it took about four or five blokes to bring him down," Pirates vice president and publicity officer Steve Shields said.
Jacob Law was outstanding in the centres.
"He's always been a classy player," Shields said. "He's only a slight player, but he's got a big heart."
Chris Geary provided arguably the highlight of the afternoon.
Geary got the ball from a standing start and 40 metres out from the line, and with plenty of defence in front of him. He stepped a couple of Muswellbrook players before charging down the wing and diving over in the corner.
Bradin Costmeyer scored two tries on the wing. It could have been a hat-trick but his third try was disallowed.
Glenn Strong also had a good day out in the centres. Shields said the third quarter was Strong's best.
"He busted them left, right and centre," Shields said.
Shields and the Pirates' coaching staff were thrilled with the team's performance.
It comes on the back of strong numbers and high intensity at training.
There were intense moments in the trial match too. A headbutt came near the end as things got a bit nasty, but it was soon settled down.