Prolific tryscorer Royce Geoffrey is positive the Macquarie Scorpions can return to the Tooheys Newcastle Rugby League (Real NRL) winner’s circle this weekend.
The under-strength outfit – missing key players like ex-NRL star Kerrod Holland and Rebels representative Luke Higgins, to name a couple – pushed the undefeated Cessnock Goannas all the way in round five before succumbing 40-30 in a thriller at Lyall Peacock Field.
Now, the Matt Roach-coached squad must regroup when it locks horns with the Central Newcastle Butcher Boys at the same venue on Saturday 29 April.
“We’ll be wary of them,” Geoffrey said.
“They got us (22-20) in the season opener.
“So, you can never underestimate the Butcher Boys.
“They’ve got a few strike players in their line-up who’ll try and cause a headache or two.
“However, we need to concentrate and focus on what we do best.
“I think it’ll be a good hard game, but I’m sure we’ll prevail on this occasion.”
Although the lead changed seven times against the Goannas, the Scorpions appeared to have done enough to claim a victory when they hit the front 30-28 late in the fixture.
But, Cessnock posted two converted tries, one in the final minutes, to prevail.
“We were our own worst enemy,” Geoffrey told the Newcastle Weekly.
“We had a lot of opportunities and every time we started to get on a roll, we just dropped the ball or gave away a penalty.
“That invited them back down our end… and it cost us.
“With a quality side like Cessnock, you can’t do that.
“However, we’ll work on it at training during the week.
“It’s only early in the year, we’re five rounds in and we’re sitting in fourth spot, so we’ve still got a lot of time to get things right.
“The basis of what we want to do is there.
“It’s just a matter of execution.
“Hopefully, that comes together over the next few matches.”
A Macquarie legend, having been with the club since 2010, Geoffrey admitted the Scorpions were keen to atone for last season’s grand final loss to the Maitland Pickers at McDonald Jones Stadium.
“Our goal is obviously to go one better,” he said.
“And, if we were aiming for anything less, we’re not being fair dinkum with ourselves.
“The past five years, we’ve been up in the mix.
“So, I’m confident we’ve got the boys to go all the way in 2023.”
In other Real NRL clashes, on Saturday 29 April, the Goannas host the Pickers in a top of the table clash at the Cessnock Sports Ground, the Lakes United Seagulls tackle the Western Suburbs Rosellas at Cahill Oval and the South Newcastle Lions face the Kurri Kurri Bulldogs at Townson Oval.
On Sunday 30 April, The Entrance Tigers play the Wyong Roos in the battle for the Central Coast at EDSACC Oval, while Denton Engineering Cup newcomers Northern Hawks enjoy a well-earned bye.
Tooheys Newcastle Rugby League
Denton Engineering Cup
Round five results:
- Cessnock Goannas d Macquarie Scorpions 40-30
- Western Suburbs Rosellas d Kurri Kurri Bulldogs 26-6
- South Newcastle Lions d Lakes United Seagulls 22-20
- Maitland Pickers d Central Newcastle Butcher Boys 44-6
- The Entrance Tigers d Northern Hawks 32-6
- Bye: Wyong Roos
Round six draw:
Saturday 29 April
- 3pm: Cessnock Goannas v Maitland Pickers (Cessnock Sports Ground)
- 3pm: Lakes United Seagulls v Western Suburbs Rosellas (Cahill Oval)
- 3pm: Macquarie Scorpions v Central Newcastle Butcher Boys (Lyall Peacock Field)
- 3pm: South Newcastle Lions v Kurri Kurri Bulldogs (Townson Oval)
Sunday 30 April
- 3pm: The Entrance Tigers v Wyong Roos (EDSACC Oval)
- Bye: Northern Hawks
For more sports stories:
- REAL NRL: Goannas take sting out of Scorpions in thriller
- Cooks Hill Surf Club’s Patrol 3 lifesavers call it a day
- Knights NRLW star Southwell eager for season to kick off
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