Wool­ford magic to get encore

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - - RUGBY LEAGUE - TIM WIL­LIAMS

“THAT was magic, ab­so­lute magic.”

Can­ter­bury hooker Zac Wool­ford pulled off one of the great grand fi­nal plays against Newtown Jets last week­end, a mo­ment so bril­liant it left Phil Gould in awe.

As the Bull­dogs face off against Red­cliffe Dol­phins in the NRL state cham­pi­onships to­day, Wool­ford won’t hes­i­tate to roll the dice again.

Play­ing for a new NRL con­tract, the son of Can­berra leg­end Si­mon Wool­ford gam­bled on a play he’s prac­tised all sea­son, but never had the con­fi­dence to at­tempt in a match.

Ten min­utes into the sec­ond half with his side trail­ing 10-6, Wool­ford was at dum­my­half on the Newtown try­line, 15m from touch.

The Bull­dogs had num­bers on the left but the crafty num­ber nine opted to throw a four­man cut-out ball to his open winger Josh Bergamin to score in the cor­ner.

“We prac­tised it all year, and every time we run it the winger al­ways comes back and says ‘it’s on over the top if you want to throw it’,” Wool­ford said.

“Ob­vi­ously it’s ballsy, if the winger gets hold of it, he’s go­ing 100m. So, as it worked out I had a lit­tle look up and saw their winger come in, so I thought ‘why not’?

“I’ve spo­ken to Dad about it a hun­dred times, he said ‘mate, you might only get one chance a game so when it comes you’ve got to throw it’.’’

Cap­tain Rhyse Martin nailed the con­ver­sion in windy con­di­tions to give the Bull­dogs the lead for the first time in the game and they held on to claim an 18-12 vic­tory.

The men from Bel­more now turn their at­ten­tion to Queens­land cham­pi­ons Red­cliffe, a side lit­tered with NRL ex­pe­ri­ence.

Wool­ford knows his side have a tough task to lift men­tally af­ter rid­ing the emo­tions of a grand fi­nal vic­tory, but says the Bull­dogs will be ready.

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