When NSW Cup Newcastle Knight Kerrod Holland was in the dressing sheds calmly preparing to run out at Pirtek Stadium to compete for the NSW Cup premiership, he thought the moment couldn’t get any more special or exciting.
That was until one of the team’s training staff came to tell him just minutes before kick-off he’d been named in the NSW Rugby League’s NSW Cup 2015 Team of the Year.
The utility back, who has scored 17 tries in just 16 games had cemented himself among the most talented players in the competition.
“It was sort of mixed emotions when you’re trying to get ready for a grand final and you hear that news,” Holland told Knights TV.
“I’m definitely stoked to be named in the Team of the Year.”
From the surprise and pride of learning of his accolade, Holland went on to play an integral role in the Knights’ grand final victory over the Wyong Roos with his fierce attacking game leading him to score an impressive long range try in the 20th minute
While the game wasn’t as polished as the speedy centre would have hoped, he was thrilled with the way the side asserted itself for the full 80 minutes of the NSW Cup grand final showdown.
“It was typical grand final football with a few niggling things happening here and there,” he said.
“And with all the nerves kicking in, there were a few dropped balls, more than usual.
“But it was good to get over the line and get a win.
“We haven’t done it in 20 years in the reserve grade competition.
“It’s something I’ll never forget and I’m very grateful for the opportunity I’ve received to play in this team.
“I’ve taken my opportunity with both hands and am happy for everyone who is involved, all 50 players and coaches and staff.
Watching on from the stands was a raft of Holland’s family and friend’s, many who had travelled from Singleton in the Hunter Valley where the 23-year-old grew up.
“I’m pretty sure my family was more excited than I was, Mum especially,’ he said.
“I had a lot of family ad friends travel down from Singleton which is really nice on the big day.
“The support is always nice and they were so happy for me.
It’s been a stellar season for Holland who joined the ranks of the reserve grade Knights after capturing attention playing with the Cessnock Goannas in the Newcastle local competition.
“The grand final win is definitely the proudest moment. You don’t get too many opportunities to win a grand final let alone play in one,” he said reflecting on the season.
“It’s something that I’ll remember for a lot of years.”
The NSW Cup Knights have already shifted focus to their upcoming match against the winner of the Queensland Cup competition, the Ipswich Jets in the NRL grand final curtain raiser match at ANZ Stadium.
“It’s hard to know because we haven’t played them throughout the year,’ he said.
“We will do a bit of video on them and Matt will have a game plan on we will need to execute to come away with the win.
“It’s very exciting for us and all the boys involved.
“It’s what dreams are made of, to play on the big stage and one.”