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REAL NRL: Plenty of sting still in Scorpions, says Kirkwood


The Macquarie Scorpions will dust themselves off and regroup for their next Tooheys Newcastle Rugby League (Real NRL) assignment.

That’s the message from tough-as-teak forward Connor Kirkwood.

Missing more than half a dozen regular first-graders, the 2022 Denton Engineering Cup runners up produced a gutsy display against the Wyong Roos at the weekend, but dropped the fixture 22-14.

A bandaged Connor Kirkwood eyes off Wyong fullback Luke Sharpe in Saturday’s clash. Photo: Michael Gorton Images

“It’s definitely not the result we wanted,” said the lock, who was forced to play in the centres due to the number of absentees.

“We’re a bit depleted, however that’s no excuse.

“I can’t take anything away from Wyong, I just think they iced their moments better than we did.

“Honestly, I thought the effort was there from our boys.

“It was tough conditions, very warm, but we dug in.

“I’m proud of the performance.

“We’ve now got to get back to the drawing board during the week – and regroup for The Entrance Tigers.

“However, it looks like we’ll have to do it the hard way for the time being… until the troops return.”

Despite the outcome, there was much to like about Macquarie’s endeavours.

Although heavily undermanned, the Scorpions only trailed 16-14 with a couple of minutes remaining on the clock.

“To the guys’ credit, they really hung in there for 70-75 [minutes],” Kirkwood said.

“It’s a testament to this club, there’s great depth and a lot of good young boys coming through the system.

“We’re pretty lucky with that.

“It’s just ‘next man up’, especially with all the players out injured.

“That’s the attitude at Macquarie ever since I arrived.

“So, you can’t fault the young blokes, they’re doing a good job.

“They’ll learn from it.

“There are also a few new combinations.

“As the weeks progress, that will improve.

“Hopefully, we can get on a bit of a roll at the back end of the year because things are getting pretty tight in the middle of the [points] table.

“So, the upcoming rounds will be crucial.”

Macquarie Scorpions forward Connor Kirkwood. Photo: Rod Thompson

The Scorpions face the Tigers at Lyall Peacock Field on Saturday 10 June.

And, the former Cessnock Goanna knows what to expect.

“They’re a tough side,” Kirkwood told the Newcastle Weekly.

“I think they’ve really picked up their form since we played them in round two.

“The Entrance has come along pretty well lately on the back of its big forward pack and some dangerous backs out wide.

“We’ll have to be on our game.

“It will be another big test but I’m confident the boys will get up for it.”

In other round 11 encounters, the Goannas tackle last-start victors Central Newcastle Butcher Boys at Cessnock Sportsground, the Kurri Kurri Bulldogs host the Lakes United Seagulls at Kurri Kurri Sports Ground and the Maitland Pickers meet the Roos at No 1 Sportsground on Saturday.

On 11 June, the Northern Hawks lock horns with the South Newcastle Lions at Tomaree Sports Ground while the Western Suburbs Rosellas have the bye.

Tooheys Newcastle Rugby League

Denton Engineering Cup

Round 10 results:

  • Wyong Roos d Macquarie Scorpions 22-14
  • Western Suburbs Rosellas d Northern Hawks 24-20
  • Maitland Pickers d Kurri Kurri Bulldogs 40-12
  • South Newcastle Lions d Cessnock Goannas 22-14
  • Central Newcastle Butcher Boys d The Entrance Tigers 8-4
  • Bye: Lakes United Seagulls

Round 11 draw:

Saturday 10 June

  • 2pm: Macquarie Scorpions v The Entrance Tigers (Lyall Peacock Field)
  • 3pm: Cessnock Goannas v Central Newcastle Butcher Boys (Cessnock Sportsground)
  • 3pm: Kurri Kurri Bulldogs v Lakes United Seagulls (Kurri Kurri Sports Ground)
  • 3pm: Maitland Pickers v Wyong Roos (No 1 Sportsground)

Sunday 11 June

  • 3pm: Northern Hawks v South Newcastle Lions (Tomaree Sports Ground)
  • Bye: Western Suburbs Rosellas

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