IT was the win that Workmens Club Wolves needed.
It was needed not only for their confidence, but because they will head into the bye next weekend.
Their 24-12 was far from pretty, but the two weeks off will give the Wolves plenty of time to work on their deficiencies.
WORKMENS CLUB 24 (Blake Sheppeard, Jeremy Fittler, Kyle Walsh and Jamie Clark tries and Jonno Van Veen kicked two goals) def ST PATS 12 (Joey Coughlan and Brendan Collits tries and Terry Crane two goals).
Their opponents, Bathurst St Patricks, not only had the misfortune to lose the game but also suffered a double blow when halfback Tom Clyburn was sent off after the game had finished for abusing the referee.
Referee Tom Hodgson, who had his hands full in the final minutes of the game, sent Workies’ captain Jonathan Van Veen to the sin bin with eight minutes to go for a dangerous tackle and then ordered off Clyburn after the halfback abused him as the two teams walked off.
It was a controversial end to what was a forgettable game with both sides having trouble holding the ball for more than a couple of tackles in a row.
Both sides were becoming frustrated with some of the decisions along with their inability to hold onto the ball.
Big Workies front rower Chris Rhodes, who was one of his team’s better players, said ‘the ball was like a cake of soap’.
“Any collision would see the ball pop out and we were all guilty of trying to play dry weather football.
“The good news was that we got the points for the win and it was an important win as we go into next week with the bye.
“The couple of weeks break will give us time to work on a couple of things that have plagued us over the past month.”
Workmens Club trotted out a new signing in front rower Chris Saab who hails from the same club as Jamie Clark and Taff Nicolas.
He was impressive and although not a big man has plenty of leg drive, strong defence and is a good ball player.
The match was played in dismal conditions with the field slippery and after both sides kept surrendering the ball on the first or second tackles it was St Patricks that made the Wolves pay when Tom Clyburn put a grubber kick into the goal area.
Fullback Jonno Van Veen had it covered, but a shocking bounce that saw the ball kick over his head and land in Pats’ five eighth Brendan Collits hands to touch down under the posts.
Terry Crane converted to give St Pats a 6-0 lead after 12 minutes.
Midway through the first half, Wolves five eighth Taff Nicolas showed a good slight of hand, before passing off to Brendon Van Veen who sent a great pass to Scott Fittler who crashed over in the corner.
The conversion was unsuccessful.
Nicolas was in the action again three minutes later when he booted a great 40/20 giving his side possession deep into Pats’ territory.
A couple of good charges by the forwards put them on the line and half Jamie Clark spotted an opening and sprinted over for a top try.
Van Veen converted to put the Wolves 10-6 in front.
With 13 minutes left before the break, the Wolves were penalised for a head high tackle.
After two attempts at trying to break the defensive line by the big men, it was left up to the diminutive hooker Joey Coughlan to burrow under the defenders to score.
Crane converted and Pats again took the lead at 12-10.
The strong defence by the Wolves was jarring the ball from the Pats runners and, after surrendering possession once again, the Wolves took full advantage when Nicolas looped a high pass over to centre Jeremy Fittler, who went in to give his side the lead 14-12 going into the break.
Things did not get any better after halftime for St Pats who were still having trouble with their handling.
Following another knock on, Workies won the scrum and sent the ball along the backline to Blake Sheppeard who showed good finishing qualities to score wide out for a 18-12 lead.
Minutes later, Jonno Van Veen made it 20-12 after St Pats was penalised for ‘stripping’ the ball and the Wolves were starting to dominate.
The Wolves were getting stronger as the game progressed while St Pats were starting to walk after having to tackle for long periods due to their bad handling.
The final try went to the Wolves when Brendon Van Veen ran wide and sent a great pass to a flying Kyle Walsh who made a spectacular dive to touch down.
The final score was 24-12.
Best for the Wolves were Taff Nicolas, Chris Rhodes, Matt Mizzi and both wingers Blake Sheppeard and Kyle Walsh who did some good things.
For St Patricks, their best were Brent Dennis, Brendan Collits and Joey Coughlan.