Four yellow cards (three to Pirates) were handed out – it appeared as if a spectator was also ejected, if that is even possible – and Dunedin scored two tries when Pirates had men off the field.
Dunedin coughed up 22 knock-ons, and consequently failed to build more than a couple of phases. When the Sharks did hold on to the ball, they scored tries, though they butchered four in the first half.
Late in the game, Dunedin was cutting open up the middle but it turned over the ball, just for a change, and Pirates accepted it with glee. Winger Marshall Suckling made the break and sent hooker Jake Maiono over out wide. Replacement first five Louis Tili had the chance to level the game but the conversion drifted wide.
For Pirates, Suckling broke the line on numerous occasions. Tim Cossens’ goal kicking was tidy, which made his substitution curious. Josh Clark, who scored a nice try, was the pick of a Pirates pack that was committed and dominated the loose exchanges.
Winger Ashton Tuck was Dunedin’s best back on attack and got through some fine defensive work. Mark Grieve-Dunn was a powerhouse with ball in hand, and Gareth Evans had some nice moments and scored a good try.
Dunedin was arguably lucky to retain the Larry Salmon Trophy but it will take the win.
Dunedin 23 (Gareth Evans, Mark Grieve-Dunn, Will Henry tries; Trent Renata con, pen, Pera Gibbs pen) Pirates 21 (Josh Clark, Jake Maiono tries; Tim Cossens 3 pen, con) Halftime: Pirates 10-8.