Woolford thrilled after ISP comeback
While Friday night saw the NYC and nib Newcastle Knights unable to get wins on the board, the Club's Reserve Grade side claimed their first points for the 2017 season in dramatic style.
The ISP team came from being behind at half time to claim victory in the dying minutes of the match against the Wentworthville Magpies, played at Toronto on Saturday afternoon.
Coach Simon Woolford said he was proud of the team's hard work.
“I was actually speechless after the game,” he explained.
“I felt numb… I couldn’t believe we won.
"I was lost for words and it’s not often I’m lost for words.
The reserve grade coach maintains while it was a gutsy win, they did at times make it hard for themselves.
“We still had that period midway through the first half where we dropped our bundle, made some errors but more importantly we were able to defend those errors,” said Woolford.
“We regrouped just before half time and we challenged those boys to cut those errors out of the game and really dig in for the fight in the second half and they did.
“While it wasn’t pretty, they put themselves in a position to win the game and we were able to come up with a couple of key plays in the last five minutes to get the result.”
Woolford was also very pleased to see the continued support for his side.
“It was good, we had a lot of the NRL players out there watching us so they were in the sheds and it was a really good feeling,” he said.
Knights centre Tom Hughes scored a quick few tries early in the piece.
“Tom Hughes has been one of our best players the whole year,” added Woolford.
“But we lost him. He was battling through the last 15 minutes of the first half with a cork and at half time we decided he couldn’t go back on.
“Then young Tom Starling got ten in the bin for a professional foul.
“We had to get over those couple of hurdles and we could’ve quite easily dropped our bundle and let Wentworthville run away with the game but we didn’t.
“I asked them to roll up their sleeves at half time and fight for it and they did that and I couldn’t be prouder.”
The ISP coach felt the win was a collective effort by all but there was some individual brilliance from a couple of players.
“Josh King was outstanding, he’s only young but he’s the leader of our pack,” Woolford said.
“He played about 60 minutes and he was outstanding.
“I thought Jacob Gagan was really good too, he came up with a couple of key defensive plays and scored a try and was really strong for us all day.
“Also special mention to Tom Starling, his first game in the reserve grade and he more than held his own.”
The victory renews confidence within the reserve grade side, who will take on the Newtown Jets in Round 5 this Saturday.
“A win like that, especially in those circumstances can certainly kick start a team's season,” commented Woolford.
“They can enjoy the win but it’s important we get back on the horse from Monday and learn from the things we can do better and make sure we keep doing the things we do well.”