Not many people thought the Wellington Cowboys had what it takes to play finals footy this year.
(min cost $8)
Login or signup to continue reading
The Cowboys finished the 2022 season with just a single win to their names but have turned things around dramatically this year.
Missing out on the Group 11 top two only due to for and against, Wellington has come along leaps and bounds this season.
With some people believing the Cowboys would finish closer to the bottom than the top, Toomey-White said he never doubted what this group could do.
"I had belief in the boys that were there last year, we did some awesome work last year," he said.
"We've been grateful enough to maintain most of the squad so we knew what we had internally.
"We knew we had some stuff to work but it's just a reward for all the hard work that the boys are putting in on the field."
Additions to the squad such as Blake Ferguson, Jai Merritt, Seaun Stanley Jr, Rylee Blackhall and Tyrone Tattersall have been massive but it's the younger players who have made the biggest improvement.
Players like Nat Lindsay and Cooper Taylor have made big impacts off the bench with their energy, something the Cowboys' skipper said is contagious.
"It's all of those young blokes (who get us up), I said it at the start of the year but all of those young blokes are keeping us older ones accountable," he said.
"They are willing to learn and are ripping in every training session. They draw strength from the leaders in our club and want to learn every game, they are improving.
"It's awesome for them individually but for the club as well."
Wellington failed to enter an under 18s side this season while their league tag and reserve grade both struggled to put together consistent performances.
We are in a better place than we were last year but we've got some more improving to do," he said.
"We are drawing strength from the players and committee members who have come before us as well as those who have been long-standing members of our club.
"But our future as well, our future as a club is looking great. We'll be looking to get a strong under 18s team next year and add some depth to our senior squads as well as league tag.
"It all comes off the back of a lot of groundwork done by the committee, they get all the sponsors on board."
Preparing to take on Bathurst St Pat's this weekend, the Cowboys are fired up to run out in a home semi-final for the first time in more than three years.
A strong crowd is expected at Kennard Park and Toomey-White confessed the squad can feel the support of the community everywhere they go.
"We do, there is a really good vibe out at Wellington at the moment," he said.
"Especially having the first home semi-final, it's going to be awesome to run out at Kennard Park on Saturday in front of our faithful home fans.
"It would be great to see Kennard Park full of maroon and white on Saturday."
Reading this on mobile web? Download our news app. It's faster, easier to read and we'll send you alerts for breaking news as it happens.Download in the Apple Store or Google Play.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.