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REAL NRL: Plenty of sting in Scorpions, says Joe

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There’s plenty of sting in the tail of the Macquarie Scorpions, according to their flying winger Joe Woodbury.

The Tooheys Newcastle Rugby League (Real NRL) club was among the competition frontrunners in 2021, locking down fourth spot on the ladder behind the Maitland Pickers, Cessnock Goannas and Central Newcastle Butcher Boys.

And, the side’s tryscoring machine believes his team can replicate that feat – if not better it – in 2022.

“We’ve had a really good pre-season,” Woodbury said.

“Everyone’s turned up raring to go.

“Even though we’ve all been pushed hard by the trainers during that time, the boys are looking sharp.”

Another positive is the fact the nucleus of the Scorpions line-up is returning to the fold, too.

“We’ve kept most of the blokes from last year,” Woodbury said.

“As well, we have picked up some new faces in key positions, which should definitely help us out throughout the season.

“Cessnock’s Connor Kirkwood, Bayden Searle, Will Lussick and Kyle Kingston are among the latest additions.

“We’ve signed a number of playmakers and hookers, which gives us a fair bit of depth in those areas.

“I think we’ve recruited well where we needed to.

“Last year, we fielded about 30 guys throughout the entire season.

“So, it’s good to have a strong squad at our disposal.”

Like most of the Real NRL community, Woodbury is happy to see the back of the COVID-affected 2021.

“It was definitely disappointing the way it finished,” he told the Newcastle Weekly.

“But, it was out of everyone’s hands.

“I felt we were really good in patches – and the areas we weren’t, we can easily fix up.

“Throughout the pre-season, we’ve identified the aspects of our game we can improve on.

“We have honed in on them.

“Hopefully, this year, we can go a couple better.

“I’m sure Steve Kidd will have us firing at the right time.

“He’s a great coach.

“Kiddy boasts the perfect balance between being a mate and a mentor.”

The Scorpions first-up opponents, the South Newcastle Lions, captured the wooden spoon in 2021, via just three victories.

However, Woodbury said writing them off would be at Macquarie’s peril.

“With former NRL star Andrew Ryan coaching them now, we know they’ll be better under him,” he said.

“I honestly believe they were a bit unlucky last year.

“They boast a strong roster, so you can never underestimate them.

“The Lions also have a heap of blokes from the [Newcastle] Knights’ juniors coming through.

“And, they’ve got that core group with ‘Simmo’ (Brendon Simpson) and those boys.

“South Newcastle will be a team to watch in 2022.

“But, it can all start in round two for them,” he added with a laugh.

“We want to secure that early win.

“We’re really keen for Saturday to come around.

“The boys are just pumped to play footy again at Toronto – and I know our supporters feel the same way.

“We haven’t played at Lyall Peacock Field since early August.

“It’s sort of flown by but, at the same time, it feels like it’s been forever.

“So, it will be good to get out on the paddock at home.”

The match kicks off at 3pm.

Tooheys Newcastle Rugby League (Real NRL)

2022 Denton Engineering Cup

Round one

Saturday 26 March

  • 3pm: Wyong Roos v The Entrance Tigers (Morry Breen Oval)
  • 3pm: Cessnock Goannas v Western Suburbs Rosellas (Cessnock Sports Ground)
  • 3pm: Kurri Kurri Bulldogs v Lakes United Seagulls (Kurri Kurri Sports Ground)
  • 3pm: Macquarie Scorpions v South Newcastle Lions (Lyall Peacock Field)

Sunday 27 March

  • 3pm: Central Newcastle Butcher Boys v Maitland Pickers (St John Oval)

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