“I had a slight feeling that the players thought they’d had a really good pre-season and that [they could] turn up and play and we’ll be right and just forgot how tough the game is and how hard they have to work in all the little things, so I think we started seeing that tonight.”
But Worsfold wouldn’t buy into the sharp criticism he, his coaching staff and players received in the opening two weeks of the season for their dreadful performances.
It’s not my job to answer questions of people not involved in our footy club.
“It’s not my job to answer questions of people not involved in our footy club. I answer questions to the players, the coaching staff, our club,” he said.
“We’re all on the same page with what we’re doing so everyone’s been very clear with what we’re working on and where we want to get to and we’ve all been disappointed with the start to the season but that didn’t mean we didn’t believe in what we’re doing.”
Some of the club’s senior players were also placed firmly under spotlight in the first fortnight of the season and Worsfold hailed the manner in which they responded against the Demons.
“(Dyson) Heppell has been really strong the last couple of weeks. While the team hasn’t been going brilliantly, he’s been working his backside off for them and it’s great to see him get that reward with the other boys that stepped up and followed tonight,” he said.
“(Dylan) Shiel early with his hard run and breaking the game apart was really important to us, (David) Zaharakis’ commitment to one contest where he was never really going to do anything other than collide hard and maybe neutralise a ball was the stuff that we should expect from each other consistently.
“I’ve got no doubt the players notice all aspects of the game, whether it’s your captain doing something that lifts you or whether it’s Jake Stringer doing some selfless act to bring teammates into the game or whether it’s Michael Hurley attacking a contest.”
Worsfold also hailed his side’s ability to win despite being down a rotation for much of the game after Kobe Mutch hurt his hamstring early in the first quarter.
“We had a couple of other players that were really sore that stayed out on the ground and probably wouldn’t have in normal circumstances but really carried a load to help the team,” he said.
“So taking all that into account I was really pleased for them.”
Ronny Lerner is a Sports reporter for The Age.