MACLEAY Valley Mustangs captain-coach Willie Lockwood has praised his charges for their fantastic team effort in beating the Nambucca Roosters in Sundays Group 2 grand final.
“It was a great effort against the minor premiers, particularly in defence,” he said.
“To keep them to 12 points, well no one would have beaten us the way we played on Sunday.”
“It all started up front with the forwards and the number 6, 7 and hooker combination were too good.”
Lockwood said that a couple of key position changes had paved the way for the Mustangs victory.
“Moving Anthony Cowan into the hooker position was a big move, but it paid off,” he said.
“And (former hooker) Cecil Lardner has been rock solid in the centres all year.”
Lockwood said that even though the Mustangs had not beaten Nambucca in three attempts this year - including a heavy defeat at their hands early in their finals campaign - that counted for nothing on Sunday.
“That didn’t matter to us at all,” he said.
“You win the grand final on Sunday, not two weeks ago.”
Lockwood indicated to the media after the grand final that he was considering retirement, but he was not so sure when he spoke to The Argus yesterday.
“Let me celebrate this week and then I will have another think about it,” he said.
Mustangs president Mike Spalding pronounced Sunday’s grand finals showing as a win for the club, a win for the Kempsey community and a win for rugby league.
“It took a long time to sink in, but it’s absolute elation” he said.
“It’s absolutely tremendous when you consider where we were three years ago, when we couldn’t even form the committee.”
He reserved his highest praise for captain/coach Willie Lockwood.
“Willie was encouraging the supporters to get behind the team at every opportunity during the match,” Spalding said.
“He said to me the Wednesday before the Woolgoolga match (that took the Mustangs into the final): ‘Don’t worry, we’ll be right. Whoever wins this will win the final.’
“He has absolute respect and admiration for the players and it’s mutual.
“Willie always says ‘It’s not about me, it’s about the boys’.”