Plenty of Pirates were on show as the Perth Kiwis held off a fast-finishing Perth City to secure a three-peat of Under 18 ANZAC titles with a tight 28-24 win at Dorrien Gardens on Saturday.
Leading 28-10 with 15 minutes to play, the Kiwis were made to sweat as City rallied for three late tries to take the game right to the wire.
Having claimed bragging rights for the past two years, the Kiwis were put under the pump from the offset as Billy Judge put City on top with a break-away try after just seven minutes.
Jarred Therkelsen converted to give City a 6-0 advantage.
Keen to secure a three-peat of titles, the Kiwis responded straight away and found themselves level nine minutes later as Devontay Tauiti stormed over from close range before Tamaho Teirney added the extras.
The Kiwis were level for just three minutes, however, as man-mountain Dylan Estriech tumbled his way over to put City back on top 10-6.
A quick-fire pair of tries from Porikapa Tukaki and Deijaan Healey-Marsh and a couple of conversions from Teirney just before the half-time siren changed the whole complexion of the game as the Kiwis took an 18-10 lead into the sheds.
And when Tuakana Hepi crossed twice within the first 12 minutes of the second term the Kiwis suddenly had themselves a commanding 18-point lead.
With one hand seemingly on the trophy already, the Kiwis invited City back into the contest – Morne Van der Merve crossing over from dummy half before Estriech and Judge both completed their doubles to make it a nervy finish.
Despite City’s late rally, the Kiwis held on to claim a tense four-point win and with it their third-straight ANZAC Under 18’s title.
FULL TIME: Perth City 24-28 Perth Kiwis
Player of the Match: Billy Judge (Perth City)