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REAL NRL: Butcher Boys determined to bounce back

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Phil Williams is a man of few words.

So, when the Central Newcastle Butcher Boys head coach talks, most people listen intently.

However, he’ll need to be at his vocal best this weekend as his troops lock horns with the Cessnock Goannas in the Tooheys Newcastle Rugby League (Real NRL) elimination showdown at Merewether’s Townson Oval.

The Butcher Boys not only suffered a shock 36-18 loss to the Macquarie Scorpions in their previous outing, but influential second-rower Randall Briggs received his marching orders for a high shot while experienced playmaker Luke Walsh also spent 10 minutes in the sin bin.

Now, they’re walking the premiership tightrope with the grand final just weeks away.

“I know it’s a cliché, however we’re just focusing on our game,” Williams said.

“If we turn up on match day, as well as training, with the right attitude – and do the best we can – we’ll give ourselves every opportunity to win.

“There’s a bit of excitement around the joint.

“The boys had a little taste of finals footy in 2019 – and they’re keen to go as far as they can.”

Central Newcastle flew from the clouds to finish the “home and away” season in second spot, two points behind minor premiers Maitland Pickers.

Along the way, they claimed the scalps of fellow play-off combatants the Scorpions and Goannas, while sharing the honours with the Pickers, too.

“We were a bit rusty early in the year,” Williams said.

“It was a new side, so the guys didn’t gel straight away.

“In fact, it took a while, but they came together quite well.

“We actually built up a good win-loss ratio to secure a top two position.

“But, it’s another ball game once the semis start.

“You can’t take any of the remaining teams lightly.

“Macquarie proved it [last week].

“The boys displayed plenty of spirit when we were down to 11 men, however that was the only pleasing aspect of that match.

“We now have to move on – and learn from that lesson.”

The Denton Engineering Cup clash kicks off at 2pm on 28 August.

Twenty-four hours earlier, at Maitland’s No 1 Sportsground, the Pickers host the Scorpions in the major semi-final, with the winner securing a berth in the 2022 decider.

Tooheys Newcastle Rugby League (Real NRL)

2022 play-offs

Semi-final 1 results:

Saturday 20 August at St John Oval, Charlestown

  • Under-19s: Western Suburbs Rosellas d South Newcastle Lions 14-12
  • Reserve grade: Northern Hawks d Western Suburbs Rosellas 26-6
  • Denton Engineering Cup: Macquarie Scorpions d Central Newcastle Butcher Boys 36-18

Elimination semi-final results:

Sunday 21 August at Baddeley Park, Cessnock

  • Under-19s: Maitland Pickers d Macquarie Scorpions 34-0
  • Reserve grade: Macquarie Scorpions d Lakes United Seagulls 22-10
  • Denton Engineering Cup: Cessnock Goannas d South Newcastle Lions 26-16

Major semi-final draw:

Saturday 27 August at No 1 Sportsground, Maitland

  • 12.10pm: Under-19s – Lakes United Seagulls v Western Suburbs Rosellas
  • 1.30pm: Reserve grade – Maitland Pickers v Northern Hawks
  • 3pm: Denton Engineering Cup – Maitland Pickers v Macquarie Scorpions

Minor semi-final draw:

Sunday 28 August at Townson Oval

  • 11.10am: Under-19s – South Newcastle Lions v Maitland Pickers
  • 12.30pm: Reserve grade – Western Suburbs Rosellas v Macquarie Scorpions
  • 2pm: Denton Engineering Cup – Central Newcastle Butcher Boys v Cessnock Goannas

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