St Pat's post 38-4 win over Forbes Magpies in Brendon 'Stubby' Collits Memorial

A JACKSON Brien hat-trick, two Matt Ranse specials and some Hayden Bolam brilliance - they were the key factors as St Pat's posted a 38-4 win over Forbes Magpies in Saturday's Brendon 'Stubby' Collits Memorial.

While the result was not the focus of the now annual match which honours the memory of Collits, a talented hooker who played with both clubs, Pat's captain-coach Zac Merritt still liked what he saw.

Apart from a sweeping back line movement which caught them out in the 12th minute, the Saints kept the Magpies at bay at Jack Arrow Oval.

While well served by lock Jake Grace, Forbes coach Cameron Greenhalgh conceded his Magpies were outplayed.

"It was a very physical contest and credit to St Pat's, they just beat us at everything," he said.

"It started with the ruck, they were winning tackles with or without the ball and it was hard for us to get our rhythm."

While both coaches identified things from the match they will work on as round one of the new Peter McDonald Premiership draws closer, they agreed Saturday's match was about more than the result.

"You could see it in the game of footy that while it was really, really physical there was no crap, they all respect what they are doing and playing for two great players - Stub and Old Stub," Greenhalgh said.

"Everyone comes together, two real close-knit communities. Today wasn't about winning or losing, it was about two communities coming together for something bigger than footy," Merritt added.

"It's not about winning or losing, but you always take the positives when you win.

"Forbes is a quality team to keep to four, especially leading into round one. I'd spoken to the guys about that, we are building into round one so let's turn up and put our best foot forward."

The Saints controlled the first half and while they worked together well as a unit, Ranse, Bolman and Brien stood out.

Lining up at fullback in his return season with the Saints, Ranse scored the first try in the ninth minute after a crunching three-man tackle had forced the error from Forbes.

The Magpies hit back soon after with a slick back line movement which had Henry Willis over, but it was only a temporary respite from the constant waves of Pat's attack.

Former Magpies skipper Bolam, who shone in the #9 jumper with 'Stubby' printed on the back, was held up over the line soon after.

Though he was unable to ground the ball, when he fired a bullet pass to Luke Single a minute later, the prop went over the line without being touched for an easy try.

The following set Bolam again came close as he supported halfback Jordan Boney when he sliced through the Magpies up the middle of the ruck thanks to a smart Single off-load.

UNITED RIVALS: The atmosphere in Saturday's match between Forbes and St Pat's was good as they honoured the memory of Brendon Stubby Collits.

UNITED RIVALS: The atmosphere in Saturday's match between Forbes and St Pat's was good as they honoured the memory of Brendon Stubby Collits.

"Haydo was real good for us, he's got what we've been missing pushing through the middle," Merritt said.

"You could see if we were making a break, there were blokes pushing up which we've worked hard on this year because I knew Haydo was going to be there this year and he likes going through those holes."

A Ranse intercept try - the fullback running some 60 metres - then a slice of individual brilliance from Brien as he collected a Blake Fitzpatrick grubber around his ankles and dived over, made it 22-4 at the break.

Brien began the second half with two tries in the space of 10 minutes, his hat-trick coming after being served with a brilliant ball from Merritt.

The Saints' skipper intends to line up in the second row this season and combine with the talented centre on the left edge.

"He [Brien] was back to his best today, we spoke about it in the off-season that I'll switch to his side and play with Jacko to try and get us going a little bit," Merritt said.

Brien's double pushed the score out to 32-4, a margin which further increased as Mitch Browne charged over following a line drop-out.

When Saints winger Joey Coughlan was injured with six minutes left the decision was made to call the match, the hosts running out convincing victors.

St Pat's also won the inaugural Blue and Black Shield as they were best performed club on the day.

While the Magpies won the under 18s clash 42-18, in reserve grade the Saints prevailed 36-16.

ST PAT'S 38 (Jackson Brien 3, Matt Ranse 2, Mitch Browne, Luke Single tries; Hayden Bolman 4, Joey Coughlan goals) defeated FORBES MAGPIES 4 (Henry Willis try)

TOP RECRUIT: Hayden Bolam impressed at hooker for the Saints in Saturday's win over his former club Forbes. Photo: ANYA WHITELAW

TOP RECRUIT: Hayden Bolam impressed at hooker for the Saints in Saturday's win over his former club Forbes. Photo: ANYA WHITELAW