HE may have been struggling to walk at fulltime, but Wauchope's captain-coach Rob Trembath provided the Blues with the winning edge in the Group Three Rugby League game at Old Bar.
Wauchope clawed their way to a tough 24-14 victory over a determined home side in a match played in difficult, slippery conditions.
Trembath scored the try that sealed the match and despite struggling with a foot injury he powered through a mountain of work.
The win enables Wauchope to stay on top of the ladder with the minor premiership seemingly to be decided in the clash against Macleay Valley in a fortnight.
Trembath was well supported by tall second rower Beau Kettle.
Prop Jai Simon was Old Bar's best.
Simon made plenty of strong charges and beat the defensive line.
Corey Wheeler came into the side on the wing and he made some incisive runs while coach Danny Russell's defence, particularly in the second half, was exemplary.
The Blues put Old Bar under enormous pressure for much of the match, although the Pirates opened up a 10-0 lead early in the encounter.
For the most part Old Bar defended strongly but the weight of possession and some luck didn't go their way.
Both sides also had their handling issues.
For the second successive week Old Bar opened brightly.
Five-eighth Kurt Lewis scored first when he showed strength to push his way through tackles and plant the ball over the line for an unconverted try.
Centre Tom Alchin made it 8-0 when he dived on the ball that evaded a Wauchope defender from the kick. Lewis added the extras and the Pirates were in double figures.
But Wauchope dominated field position for the remainder of the half.
The Pirates withstood the barrage for much of the time but finally Aaron Ison held up a pass for Kettle close to the line and he was in for a try. Sam Watts added the goal.
Fate was cruel to the Pirates 40 seconds before halftime when Wauchope five-eighth Kurtley Scott snatched an intercept from Lewis and hared away to score under the posts.
Watts added the goal and the Blues went to the sheds up 12-10.
Midway through the second half a Wheeler run put Old Bar on the attack and Nathan Maher threw a long pass that was picked up on the bounce by centre Tom Dooker who was over for an unconverted try.
But as was the case in the first half, Wauchope pounded the Old Bar line from then on.
Old Bar stood firm but finally fullback Aden Avery was unable to handle a high kick over the line and centre Beau White picked up the spoils for the Blues. Watts kicked the conversion.
Trembath's try settled the issue with only a few minutes remaining.