When Jake Lawrence runs onto the field for the South Newcastle Lions against Lakes United Seagulls this weekend, he’ll be joining an elite club with the Tooheys Newcastle Rugby League (Real NRL) organisation.
The talented second-rower will don the “red and white” jumper for his 100th first grade appearance – etching his name in Souths’ record books in the process.
“It’s a big effort,” president Terry “Godfather” Davies said.
“Especially, in these modern times.
“But, it’s terrific to see a guy stay loyal to the club.
“I think he’s the first player to achieve that feat in about eight years.”
The former Camden Haven High School student has always been “one to watch”.
He gained selection in the Australian Schoolboys under-15 team and captained the NSW Country under-23s a few seasons later, too.
Lawrence also secured two premierships with the Lions.
Now, he can add another accolade to his resume.
“It’s definitely a proud moment [for me] to reach the milestone, especially after not playing here in 2020,” the hard-working forward said.
“However, it was something in the back of my mind that I wanted to achieve.
“So, I was keen to return to Souths in 2021.
“I love the club.
“They took me in when I was only young (at age 18) and had just moved down to Newcastle from Port Macquarie.
“It’s all I’ve known.
“The Lions boast a great culture and atmosphere.
“There are good people everywhere, which makes it worth it.”
As for his highlights, over the past 99 matches, Lawrence was quick to answer.
“The 2016 and 2018 grand final wins, definitely,” he said.
“We beat the Macquarie Scorpions 21-12 in that first decider, and then Lakes United 30-18 two years later.
“But, 2016 was special.
“We broke a long drought here at Souths.
“It meant a lot to so many people, who’d put in a heap of work over that time.”
While it’s been a tough start to 2021, Lawrence remains optimistic things will quickly turn around.
The Lions finally broke through for a win at the expense of the Western Suburbs Rosellas in round six – and are eyeing off another scalp, the Seagulls, at Townson Oval on Saturday 8 May.
“We need to begin playing with a bit more confidence,” he told the Newcastle Weekly.
“Against Cessnock, we were in the mix before losing 34-16; and it was a similar story with Macquarie.
“We’re just killing ourselves at certain points in matches, making a lot of unforced errors.
“We have to focus on that side of things and tidy our own game up.
“I think we’ll fire in the back end of the season.
“We’ve definitely got the players and talent here to push towards the top end of the ladder – and book a semi-final berth.
“Once again, it’s all in our hands.”
2021 Tooheys Newcastle Rugby League
NSWRL Denton Cup
(round six results)
Maitland Pickers 42 (Matt Soper-Lawler 2, Carl Randall, Daniel Langbridge, James Taylor, Ben Ireland, Perry Le Brocque tries; Brock Lamb 7 goals) defeated The Entrance Tigers 12 (Matthew Killick, Jyris Glamuzina tries; Killick 2 goals)
Wyong Roos 36 (Terence Seuseu 2, Lincoln Tubridy, Lachlan Hanneghan, Cody Boyle, Blake Andrews tries; Hanneghan 6 goals) defeated Kurri Kurri Bulldogs 4 (Jarred Anderson try)
Macquarie Scorpions 36 (Callan Briggs, Liam Higgins, Ro Buaserau, Kerrod Holland, Campbell Shep-pard, Joe Woodbury tries; Holland 6 goals) defeated Lakes United Seagulls 22 (Jake O’Meley, Ryan Potts, Temple Kalepo, Bradley Calder tries; Joel Edwards 2, Matt Cooper goals)
Central Newcastle Butcher Boys 32 (Cameron Anderson 2, Dom Murphy, Kurt Donoghoe, Tyler Doney tries; Jack Kelly 3, Luke Walsh 3 goals) defeated Cessnock Goannas 18 (Tyrone Roberts-Davis 2, Billy Gilbert tries; Adrian Davis 3 goals)
South Newcastle Lions 18 (Corey Brown 2, Mitchell Black tries; Jason Keelan 3 goals) defeated West-ern Suburbs Rosellas 16 (Roman Fepuleai, Patrick Achurch, Christian Ma’anaima tries; Michael Hendry 2 goals)
Round seven draw:
Saturday 8 May
3pm: Cessnock Goannas v Kurri Kurri Bulldogs (Cessnock Sportsground)
3pm: Wyong Roos v The Entrance Tigers (Morry Breen Oval, Central Coast)
3pm: Western Suburbs Rosellas v Maitland Pickers (Harker Oval)
3pm: South Newcastle Lions v Lakes United Seagulls (Townson Oval)
Sunday 9 May
3pm: Macquarie Scorpions v Central Newcastle Butcher Boys (Lyall Peacock Oval)