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NEWRL: Gutsy Lions keen to continue their winning ways

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Two victories in four days propelled the South Newcastle Lions to the top of the Tooheys Newcastle Rugby League (NEWRL) ladder.

And, coach Andrew “Bobcat” Ryan would like to stay there as the side prepares to tackle the Macquarie Scorpions at Lyall Peacock Field on Sunday 5 May.

The new-look outfit, under the guidance of Jye Bayley, registered its first triumph of 2024 at the weekend, accounting for the Northern Hawks 34-20.

It’s a result Ryan expected.

“Macquarie has got a bit about them,” he said.

“I watched them play Central Newcastle, who have been going good, and they were in the fight against the Butcher Boys.

“So, we certainly won’t be heading there thinking we’re going to roll over them.

“It’s only our third game; it’s been a really disjointed start for us.

“Obviously with the bye in round one and then getting washed out, followed by matches in quick succession, we’re still trying to get ourselves into a bit of condition and some game fitness as well.”

Souths knocked over the Kurri Kurri Bulldogs 56-14 on Anzac Day, before backing up to beat the in-form Butcher Boys 24-6 on Sunday 28 April.

Ryan admitted he was rapt by the way the Lions responded.

“We turned up for each other… our goal line defence was outstanding,” he said.

“With both teams coming in off an Anzac Day game, it was a massive challenge for each side.

“At least we were on an even par, as Central played a few days earlier, too.

“Early on, we made a couple of errors and gave them opportunities.

“But, the boys hung in, worked together, and that probably set us up for the win.

“In the second half, we found a way to get it done, which was really impressive.

“It’s amazing what the fellas put their bodies through.

“They were tired, sore and sorry.

“These guys work all day, give up their time to come and do this, so I’m really proud of the effort.”

Ryan also took time to praise Marshall Sing, Mapu Uasi, Lewis Hamilton, Reeve Howard and Sam Clune over the past couple of fixtures.

“I don’t usually give wingers wraps,” he said with a laugh.

“However, Marshall and Mapu were outstanding.

“Maps (Uasi) came here looking for an opportunity from Central.

“He had a crack in pre-season, ripped into the trials and grabbed his chance, with Jacob Afflick playing overseas in France.

“In fact, he collected the players’ player.

“As for Lewis, he’s taken part in the rep program (for the Newcastle Rebels) right through to the pre-season.

“He plays 80 minutes every week and is a tough mother.

“Reeve, who enjoyed a brilliant 2023, was easily one of our best on Thursday (Anzac Day).

“He scored a well-deserved hat-trick.

“Sam, who made the move from Cessnock, is forming a nice partnership with Ryan Glanville.

“Having him in the halves, with his experience, he’s been outstanding for us.”

However, Ryan will be forced to make one important change for the weekend’s encounter, with rep star Glanville earning a one match suspension for dangerous contact.

Tooheys Newcastle Rugby League (NEWRL)

Round two results (deferred):

  • Macquarie Scorpions d Northern Hawks 34-20
  • South Newcastle Lions d Central Newcastle Butcher Boys 24-6

Round three results:

  • Central Newcastle Butcher Boys d Macquarie Scorpions 38-10
  • South Newcastle Lions d Kurri Kurri Bulldogs 56-14
  • Cessnock Goannas d Northern Hawks 44-6
  • Lakes United Seagulls d Wyong Roos 20-14
  • Western Suburbs Rosellas d Maitland Pickers 36-30
  • Bye: The Entrance Tigers

Round four draw (weather permitting):

Saturday 4 May

  • 3pm: Cessnock Goannas v Maitland Pickers (Cessnock Sportsground)
  • 3pm: Kurri Kurri Bulldogs v Lakes United Seagulls (Kurri Kurri Sportsground)
  • 3pm: Northern Hawks v Wyong Roos (Morry Breen Oval, Wyong)

Sunday 5 May

  • 3pm: Macquarie Scorpions v South Newcastle Lions (Lyall Peacock Field)
  • 3pm: Western Suburbs Rosellas v The Entrance Tigers (Cessnock Sportsground)
  • Bye: Central Newcastle Butcher Boys

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