Reserve Grade's finals hopes still alive
The Reserve Grade Newcastle Knights are still in the race for finals footy after a two-point victory over Mounties on Saturday.
Coach Simon Woolford said he felt the 32-30 scoreline wasn’t a true reflection of the game.
“We started the game pretty well and scored relatively early,” Woolford explained.
“We were on top for most of the first half but let ourselves down for a short period where they were able to put some tries on us.
“We were able to pull ourselves together at half time and talk about a few things that we needed to improve, which we did.
“We came out and put 14 unanswered points on the board which is very pleasing but with five minutes to go, they scored a couple of late tries which was a little disappointing.”
The Knights got the upper hand in the last 15 minutes when Mounties centre Brent Naden was sent off for dissent.
“He got sin binned for dissent and then gave the referee another gob-ful so he sent him off completely and it worked out to be a pretty crucial moment for us,” commented Woolford.
“We were able to put two points over for the penalty and that put us 14 points clear so just some poor discipline on their behalf but it was nice to get that buffer, although I was still pretty nervous until the final siren sounded.
“They have got some big boys in the middle and we didn’t handle them at times but as far as everything else was concerned, I thought our defence held up pretty well and we were under quite a bit of pressure in that second half.
“We did enough to win, we went there to get the two points and we did that so I can’t really complain too much.”
The ISP coach maintains there were a few standouts worthy of a special mention.
“I think Braden Robson was good, we had to put him in the centres in the second half when Tommy Hughes came off with a hamstring injury,” added Woolford.
“He was pretty sharp with the ball and created plenty of headaches for the opposition and threw a couple of nice passes where one led to a try in the second half which was a really crucial one for us.
“Tom Hughes had his normal, really strong game until he was taken off injured and Jacob Gagan scored a couple of tries in the second half.
“Mickey Paea was good in the middle but our halves (Jack) Cogger and (Jaelen) Feeney did some really nice things because we scored 30 odd points.”
The Knights now desperately need a win against the Wentworthville Magpies at home this Saturday to be guaranteed a semi -finals berth.
Three grades are in action at McDonald Jones Stadium, NYC kick-off at 10.45am before ISP at 12.40pm and NRL at 3pm.