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With the Galbraith Shield about to change hands this weekend with Woodlands being beaten by Star in the Semi final - but who is going to be holder. This brings back memories to the 1984 Shield Challenge where Pirates won a classic battle beating Blues 29-18 in the grand final. The score is not a true reflection of the game as at the 75th minute it could have been anyones. Blues had everything to play for being the holder for the last three years. But Pirates had more to play for with its third consecutive attempt at a grand final victory. They were determined this time to come away with the shield. In the long run it was Pirate's all round ability and faith in one another that paid off. Blues had a hardworking forward pack who tried their hardest to pull off the win, but the indecision at key times in the back line ensured Pirates played to this weakness.
Pirates playing into the wind in the first half ensured first five eight, Murray Brown strategically placed high balls to cause all sort of problems for the Blue back line. Fifteen minutes into the game saw a kick put Pirates deep into Blues territory where they were awarded a 5 M scrum - a great pass from Paul Macfie to Kevin Burns who timed the perfect pass to Roger Kilpatrick who went over for a try in the corner.
Twenty minutes into the game and a penalty goal by Tony Winsloe and another one by Peter Harrison gave Blues a 9-7 lead. Just before half time Pirates began to lift its game and Paul Rakda won a lineout at 22 M and quickly cleared it to Kevin Burns who with a great breakthrough fed livewire flanker Jim Bedwell, who set up the ruck. Half-back Barry Dunn flung the ball to the blink and Murray Brown just passed to Roger Kilpatrick in time to squirm his way through the defence to score again in the corner. Penalty goals were traded between the two teams which saw the score see saw and it could have been anybody's game. Kilpatrick had a hand in the third try after running 40 M down the sideline and in-passing to Mafeking Smiler who dived for the clinching try. Kevin Burns added the conversion to sew the game up.
This game was a classic encounter which kept the big crowd enthralled throughout. It was Blue's game in the first half as it denied Pirates any ball. It kept the ball away from Pirates lock, Fraser Purdue and relied on Winsloe at the front and Colin Blackie towards the back. It kept the play tight and tried to force Pirates to make mistakes. . The Pirates scrum suffered all sorts of problems when more than once it disintegrated, but unfortunately for Blue's they were never able to capitalise on this. Blue's half-back, Milton Haig tried hard to probe for the gaps but was well bottled up. It was a tremendous final, and a worth climax to an improved rugby season. The referee for the game was Mr Arthur Gormack.
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