Woolford and Croker join Bulls

Jason Croker and Simon Woolford will co coach the Gungahlin Bulls in the Canberra Raiders Cup next season.

The double signing is a massive boost for the club which finished last in the local competition this year, recording just one victory.

Between them, Croker and Woolford played 578 NRL games.

Croker also made 58 appearances with the Catalan Dragons in the English Super League.

When Gungahlin president Andy Sell heard Woolford was moving back to Canberra, he was quick to check the availability of the ex Raiders captain in 2010.

To Sell’s surprise Woolford responded favourably to the coaching offer.

“For them to turn around and say ‘Well hey let’s give a bit back’ – both those guys could demand big dollars doing what they’re doing” Sell said.

“We’ve got some great kids out at that football club, now they’ve got an opportunity to learn from guys who have been there and done it. Toots was playing Super League last year so he’s still there and Simon, the captain of an NRL team for three or four years, that’s the sort of experience and knowledge that’s just invaluable.”

Sell grew up in Young with Woolford.

The 34 year old, who finished his NRL career at St George Illawarra, has previously coached at junior level with Gungahlin.

Woolford said he was excited about the opportunity to coach at senior level and rebuild the club.

“We both really want to help them get back, get some decent players to the team – and get them going again” Woolford said.

“They’ve got a lot of good young kids so we’re going to help it out. At best we can attract some players, at worst we can attract some players.”

Woolford wasn’t sure whether he and Croker would take the field next season, but said he would never say never to dusting off the football boots.

Earlier this year the Queanbeyan Kangaroos announced Brisbane Broncos hooker Aaron Gorrell as their captain coach for the next two years.

Former Canberra Raider Matt Gafa will also play in the competition next season with the North Belconnen Sharks.

Having previously tried to lure Woolford to West Belconnen, Warriors coach Adam Peters said Gungahlin’s new coaching staff was a tremendous boost to the competition.

“It’s unbelievable” Peters said.

“Jason Croker – how long’s he played footy? He started playing first grade when he was 17. He [Woolford] has been around rugby league a long, long time, he knows how to coach.”

The Canberra Times


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