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REAL NRL: Smith hoping Pickers’ purple patch continues

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He might not get the plaudits like his fellow forwards… but the Maitland Pickers wouldn’t swap Lincoln Smith for anyone else.

Especially, when you consider what he’s achieved in the past 12 months alone.

The second-rower has won a Tooheys Newcastle Rugby League premiership, NSW President’s Cup and NSWRL Country Championship, while playing a role in the defeat of City in May.

Photo: Michael Gorton Images

“It’s been a long season so far, but good, too,” Smith said.

“It was a great experience, getting an opportunity down there with rep side with (Adam) Bettridge.

“I missed the first game for the [Newcastle] Rebels but got called in for the second match.

“We just built from there.

“However, it was pretty handy having our whole Maitland edge in that line-up.

“It was the same deal with Country.

“Receiving the call-up was exciting.

“And, thankfully, it was our Maitland edge again, so it made it a lot easier.”

To emphasise Smith’s importance to the Pickers, he scored a vital try for the team when it trailed 16-6 against the Cessnock Goannas at the weekend.

From there, Maitland went on to prevail 24-16 in the top-of-the-table clash.

“He was tremendous for us,” coach Matt Lantry said.

“Linc made some big carries and picked up a crucial four-pointer.

“But, he just gets in there and does what he needs to do.”

Photo: Michael Gorton Images

Smith, himself, relished the victory as well.

“That was very tough,” he said.

“It’s always the case against Cessnock.

“You know what to expect in a Coalfields derby.

“They got us the first time we played them this year, so it was good to get one back.

“We were pretty upset with ourselves (in April) that we didn’t complete well.

“Even on Saturday, I don’t think we probably completed that well either.

“We still made a lot of errors and gave away a lot of penalties in defence.

“However, we’re building for the end of the year.

“All-in-all, it was huge to come away with a win for Buttsy (Jayden Butterfield), Sponsors Day and the blokes from the 1983 premiership-winning side.

“The old boys got around us at training, too.

“They attended our captain’s run and we watched the grand final in the function room.

“They had a very handy squad then.

“A lot of those guys, like Milt Burrows, could still put on a jersey and do a job.

“As for Buttsy, he’s huge for us every week.

“I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone beat him.

“He and Jimmy (James Taylor) are the best front-rowers in the competition – and it showed again at the weekend.”

Photo: Michael Gorton Images

Maitland, who sits clear on the Real NRL ladder, next tackles the Lakes United Seagulls at Cahill Oval on Saturday 1 July.

“The four-point gap is handy but it doesn’t really mean anything,” Smith told the Newcastle Weekly.

“We played Kurri Kurri the other week on Ladies Day, and they put it to us.

“That’s the thing with the Newcastle first grade comp.

“Every team’s tough.

“And, if we play how we did in that first half against Cessnock, Lakes could do a number on us.

“The Seagulls are a good young side, so we’ll treat them with respect.

“Like I said, any team who turns up on the day can put a dent in our plans.

“So, we need to be switched on from the start.”

In other fixtures, Macquarie hosts Western Suburbs, Cessnock tackles Northern Hawks and Kurri Kurri meets Wyong.

On Sunday 2 July, Central Newcastle plays South Newcastle and The Entrance has the bye.

Tooheys Newcastle Rugby League

Denton Engineering Cup

Round 13 results:

  • South Newcastle Lions d Kurri Kurri Bulldogs 64-6
  • Maitland Pickers d Cessnock Goannas 24-16
  • Wyong Roos d Macquarie Scorpions 33-14
  • Western Suburbs Rosellas d Lakes United Seagulls 42-4
  • Central Newcastle Butcher Boys d The Entrance Tigers 24-18
  • Bye: Northern Hawks

Round 14 draw:

Saturday 1 July

  • 2pm: Macquarie Scorpions v Western Suburbs Rosellas (Lyall Peacock Field)
  • 3pm: Cessnock Goannas v Northern Hawks (Cessnock Sports Ground)
  • 3pm: Lakes United Seagulls v Maitland Pickers (Cahill Oval)
  • 3pm: Kurri Kurri Bulldogs v Wyong Roos (Kurri Kurri Sports Ground)

Sunday 2 July

  • 3pm: Central Newcastle Butcher Boys v South Newcastle Lions (St John Oval)
  • Bye: The Entrance Tigers

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