Making the right move
Goonellabah has surprised many by making it through to the North Coast semi-finals of the NSW PSSA knockout, beating Wyrallah Road, Kyogle, Brunswick Heads and Murwillumbah.
For a small school it is a remarkable achievement and one that has made the team’s coach Elliot Knight tremendously proud.
“They respect and respond to anything that I say,” Knight said.
“Even if we work out a new move, I’ll show them, and we’ll go through the drills and they’ll do it themselves.
“The boys train really hard. The way they train and play is unbelievable, all pushing one another, helping one another.
“It’s been a big surprise how well the team has done this year.
“Even to win one game, but to achieve this, and perhaps go even further than we have, is great.”
Knight, who has had plenty of rugby league experience with South Lismore, Wardell and Alstonville, said the success of his team was largely due to the solid platform provided by his forwards.
“I have a good backline, but the forwards, they dominate,” he said.
“They take the ball forward for our backs to spread it wide.
“We have speed in the backs from our halfback right through to fullback and the forwards are just as fast as the backs.”
Although most of the the team play league at the weekend, they’ve converted a couple of others from soccer and boxing.
They’ve also received support from unexpected quarters including Parramatta coach Daniel Anderson, who sent an encouraging letter, and former Cronulla and Hull prop Danny Lee, who came to speak to the boys.
Goonellabah will play Sawtell in the semi-final at Kadina High School on September 7 from 1pm.