The Reserve Grade Newcastle Knights staged an emphatic win over the North Sydney Bears on Sunday and coach Simon Woolford said he was pleased with the way his men started the match.
“We spoke about not having to chase our tails at different stages through the game and I thought we started well,” commented Woolford.
“We completed well, we got to our kicks relatively well and we were rewarded with a couple of tries pretty much in succession and all of a sudden it was 20-0.”
The ISP coach admits they fell away at the back end of the first half after losing Jaelen Feeney but were able to re-group at half time.
“We spoke about making sure we started the second half how we did the first and although we didn’t get the points early, I thought we did a lot of things right,” explained Woolford.
“Once Brendan (Elliot) went over for a try ten or so minutes into the second half, we were comfortable after that so that was pleasing.”
While the Bears may have been missing a few players, the Knights also had to manage with a depleted side.
“Everyone kept talking about how they were missing a few players but midway through last week we were trying to drum up a team so I thought it evened it out,” Woolford said.
“They lost a bit of experience in their middles and their half didn’t play either but we had to pick a few young guys.
“We had four or five 19-year-olds in our team on the weekend and we brought Dane Tilse up for some experience, who did a fantastic job.
“Both teams had to go through a bit of adversity but we had 17 guys do their job and that’s why we had a comfortable win.”
While Woolford was hesitant to single anyone out for their performance, he had praise for his young players.
“All the young guys that came up did a really good job and Tom Starling had to play in the halves for 50 minutes and did a good job,” stated the Reserve Grade coach.
“I also thought Brendan Elliot played really well, his second try in the second half was really important.
“Even though we were up by 12, they were coming to get us and I thought his try took a lot of wind out of their sails.”
ISP will now advance to the semi-finals to take on the New Zealand Warriors at Kogarah on Sunday night.
“This week will be nice because we’ll actually have some decisions to make,” said Woolford.
“Last week it was more or less trying to find 17 players so this week we get a couple back.
“Patty (Mata’utia) back from injury and then we’ll have (Jack) Cogger, Tyrone (Amey), Mickey Paea, (Lachlan) Fitzgibbon is eligible to come back but is injured... but we’re going to have some decisions to make which will be pleasing.”