OLD Bar Pirates paid little heed to the form guide when thrashing competition heavyweights Port City 34-6 in the Group Three Rugby League encounter at Old Bar.
The win was an upset, the scoreline a boilover.
Old Bar were soundly beaten the previous week by Port Macquarie at Old Bar while Port City hammered Forster-Tuncurry 50-8 at Tuncurry. However, Old Bar looked winners from the outset this time around while the Breakers were shocking.
The Pirates rattled Port City with some bruising tackles in early sorties, jostling the Breakers into error. Captain-coach Mick Henry ruled in the opening half, picking his time to run from dummy half to gain valuable metres while keeping pressure on the Breakers with some deft kicks to force a line drop. Old Bar led 22-0 at the break. The intensity of the game dropped off in the second half, but Old Bar always had a stranglehold.
Indeed, the only disappointing part of the game for Old Bar was the fact they allowed the Breakers to break their duck. This didn't come until the final seconds when fullback Cody Robins gathered a kick to race away and score for halfback Jake McNamara to convert.
Halfback Jordan Worboys played the quintessential game manager's role for the Pirates. He controlled play and along with Henry maintained the pressure on the Breakers with some adroit kicks close to the tryline. Prop Jared Wooster was a powerhouse in the heavy going while Tom Dooker looked at home in the second row. Centre Drey Mercy troubled the defence and will form a dangerous combination with five-eighth Jake Hazard while Troy Clarke was effective in the forwards coming off the interchange bench. Danny Russell, playing centre, celebrated his return to the club by landing seven goals from as many attempts.
It's hard to see the Breakers playing that badly again. That's about the only positive to come out of the game for them.
Coach Dan Kemp was somewhere between bemused and bewildered at fulltime.
"It was a tough day at the office,'' he said.
"It was terrible - our worst performance in five years, or maybe ever. I just got told that our completion rate was under 10 per cent, which I don't think I've ever heard of in a game of football.
"A lot of individuals were very poor and collectively we were really poor. I'm a bit lost for words because I've never seen a side play that badly.
"We didn't even get to find out if they're any good, because we were never in the contest. But we got beaten 50-0 in the first round in 2016 and we did okay that year, so things can only get better.''
"What a difference a week makes,'' a jubilant Mick Henry said.
"I'm over the moon with the way the boys played there today. Our defence was second to none and if we can keep that up for the rest of the year, there's big things to come.''
He said that Worboys was 'on fire.'
"He just guided us around the field and he didn't take a wrong option.''
Henry admitted the emotion may have got the better of his players in last week's memorial game.
"There was a different vibe in the sheds before the game. We were a lot more relaxed.
"We probably played the game a bit early in our heads last week. This week we felt good and we felt right.
"We improved 10 fold today. Just coming out playing fast early got us on the front foot,'' he added.
Old Bar had12 points on the board within the first 15 minutes via tries to fullback Joel Minihan and lock Nathan Napier and two goals to Russell. This week the Pirates didn't fold and added a further converted try to Clarke while Russell slotted two penalties before halftime.
Mistakes crept into Old Bar's game in the second half. But the Breakers, in turn, made too many errors to capitalise. Interchange hooker Toby De Stefano and Worboys both scored smart individual tries against a badly beaten defence before the Breakers finally made it on the board.
Reserve grade: Old Bar 22 Port City 16
Under 18s: Port City 62 Old Bar 6
League tag: Port City 32 Old Bar 0