Reserve Grade Newcastle Knights coach Simon Woolford admits the New Zealand Warriors played some of their best football of the season to defeat the Knights in Sunday's semi-final.
He said while his side started well, they weren’t quite good enough to match it with their opponents on the night.
“I thought we went set for set for the first 15 to 20 minutes,” stated Woolford.
“We had a couple of opportunities down their end but attacking their sideline, we were a little bit clunky.
“We weren’t able to put points on and mount any real pressure and they were able to turn a couple of our errors into tries in the first half.
“We tried to start again in the second half but once they got a couple of tries on us, the game was gone so that was disappointing.”
The ISP coach conceded that the Warriors are a good team with a lot of NRL experience.
“They play well and a lot of their players are on the up in that team and we knew it was going to be a tough battle,” Woolford commented.
“We knew we had to be very good to get the result but unfortunately we weren’t quite good enough.”
The Knights struggled to push through New Zealand’s goal line defence and when they did, they still couldn’t ground the ball.
“Mickey (Paea) got held up at least two or three times,” Woolford explained.
“They defended as well as I’ve seen them defend for a long time so they were obviously there ready to play.
“They got in our face a little bit, they tested the referee and kept frustrating us and we couldn’t handle that.
“I don’t think we got a repeat set on them all game.”
Woolford admits it was a disappointing end to a last few months of stellar footy from his men.
“Our last eight to ten rounds and our first final we were really good,” he said.
“We had a lot of good wins and some heartbreaking close losses but we were in every game.
“The way we played on the weekend was probably one of our worst performances.
“We squeezed every bit we could out of the lemon so to speak and we just tailed off.