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REAL NRL: Black confident ‘long break’ won’t derail Lions’ campaign

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Gifted South Newcastle Lions hooker Mitch Black remains confident the club’s upcoming “break” will not derail its Denton Engineering Cup aspirations.

The second-placed Tooheys Newcastle Rugby League outfit claimed its 10th consecutive triumph on Saturday, eclipsing the Western Suburbs Rosellas 28-12, but won’t return to the field until 29 July.

The Real NRL scheduled a wet weather weekend (15-16 July), which is now not required, while the Andrew Ryan-coached side has a bye in round 16, meaning it’s more than a fortnight between matches.

Souths then face defending premiers and competition pacesetters Maitland Pickers at Townson Oval for one of the organisation’s biggest occasions, Sleapy’s Day.

Mitch Black puts the boot into Wests at the weekend. Photo: Michael Gorton Images

“It probably isn’t ideal, especially at this end of the season,” Black said.

“However, I think the boys have got a few niggles to look after, so the timing could be good.

“I’m sure Bobcat (Ryan) won’t let anything slide during that period.

“So, we’ll use it to our advantage and build into Sleapy’s Day in a few weeks’ time.

“That is a really special event for the Lions, a really special day.

“All the guys get up for it and, obviously Maitland is on top of the ladder, so that adds to the atmosphere.

“It’s first versus second… a huge showdown.

“So, that will be great.”

Souths hooker Mitch Black fires out a pass to prop Brendon Simpson. Photo: Michael Gorton Images

Souths, with winger Marshall Sing bagging a hat-trick and skipper Ryan Glanville celebrating his 100th Real NRL appearance, did enough to overpower a gallant Rosellas team, which is optimistic of still qualifying for the upcoming play-offs.

But, Black admitted the Lions nevertheless had plenty to work on.

“Yeah, it was a good victory,” he told the Newcastle Weekly.

“Obviously, that’s 10 on the trot now, so you’ve got to be happy about it.

“Our resilience and our defence were strong… I thought we held Wests out well.

“We only let in two tries, which was great considering all the ball they had.

Popular Souths hooker Mitch Black with a few young Lions supporters after the game. Photo: Rod Thompson

“Our defence, especially on our line, really stood up when it counted, too.

“However, in saying that, we were a bit scrappy with the ball, maybe it was the very windy conditions.

“As a goalkicker, it certainly wasn’t easy.

“We’ll look at those things at training.

“But, to grab the points on RG’s (Glanville) big day capped it off.

“Ryan’s the best bloke – and the heart and soul of this club.

“I’m glad we could get the win for him.”

Black, once contracted to the Newcastle Knights, said he was loving life at Souths.

“I’m really enjoying my footy at the moment,” he explained.

“I love all the boys [here]… they’re all great, great blokes.

“So, not only am I enjoying my footy, it’s good to get a few wins as well.”

Mitch Black streaks away down the field, which resulted in Marshall Sing’s third try. Photo: Michael Gorton Images

Tooheys Newcastle Rugby League

Denton Engineering Cup

Round 15 results:

  • Lakes United Seagulls d Central Newcastle Butcher Boys 54-10
  • South Newcastle Lions d Western Suburbs Rosellas 28-12
  • The Entrance Tigers d Cessnock Goannas 30-14
  • Wyong Roos d Northern Hawks 28-16
  • Byes: Kurri Kurri Bulldogs, Macquarie Scorpions, Maitland Pickers

Next weekend:

15-16 July

  • General bye

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