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REAL NRL: Tigers too strong for gallant Bulldogs


The Entrance Tigers maintained its winning momentum in Tooheys Newcastle Rugby League (Real NRL) with a comprehensive 46-18 victory over the Kurri Kurri Bulldogs at the weekend.

In fact, Saturday’s 28-point triumph was the Denton Engineering Cup side’s fifth in a row and sets up a mouth-watering clash with defending premiers Maitland Pickers in the next round.

The Tigers raced in nine tries, with Tjaden McLean, Grant Nelson and Kyle McLean all bagging doubles, and out-muscled their younger, inexperienced opponents at Kurri Kurri Sports Ground.

Kurri Kurri hooker Mayson Metcalf dives over for a four-pointer against The Entrance Tigers. Photo: Rod Thompson

Although happy with the result, The Entrance mentor Jamy Forbes still felt fans hadn’t seen them at their best.

“We’ve got to be a little bit more patient with the ball,” he said.

“Kurri Kurri scored a couple of tries from kicks, however that’s because we gave them field position.

“It was something we spoke about at half-time.

“But, the boys came out and did it again.

“That allowed the Bulldogs to put further points on us, which was disappointing.”

The Entrance Tigers celebrate Harley Ridge’s try at Kurri Kurri on Saturday. Photo: Rod Thompson

After a slow start to 2023, Forbes has the Tigers purring – thanks to strong performances against the Lakes United Seagulls (34-16), South Newcastle Lions (32-22), Northern Hawks (32-10), Wyong Roos (20-8) and now Kurri Kurri.

“I know it’s a cliché, but we’re building,” Forbes told the Newcastle Weekly.

“We’re a long way from where we need to be.

“Hopefully, we’ll get a couple of guys back for the next match.

“So, we’ll continue to work hard and improve each week.

“As long as we’re there at the right end of the season, we’re confident we’ll give it [premiership] a shake.”

Awaiting The Entrance in the immediate future is Maitland.

“It’s a great test for us,” Forbes said.

“So, we’ll know where we’re placed afterwards.

“To overcome them, we’ve got to take the yards off their big forwards.

“(Jayden) Butterfield and (James) Taylor are exceptional front-rowers.

“If we can shut them down and cut Brock Lamb and Alex Langbridge’s time with the ball, it will go a long way to beating them.”

Teenager Jye Linnane made his first grade debut for Kurri Kurri at the weekend. Photo: Rod Thompson

And, even though the scoreline might not suggest it, the Bulldogs should be proud of their efforts, especially on Old Boys’ Day.

With teenager Jye Linnane and club stalwart Nick Scott making their first-grade debuts, and numerous players unavailable, Kurri Kurri never took a backward step.

If they can keep the 17-year-old young gun out of the Newcastle Knights’ clutches for a few weeks, a win could be just around the corner.

“I’m proud of Jye,” father and Bulldogs coach Danny Linnane said.

“He left nothing out on the field today… and that’s all you can ask of your players, even if he is my son.

“We’re down on troops, however the kids did not give up.”

The Tigers struck in the ninth minute when five-eighth Will Pearsall crossed near the upright. Harrison Mulligan added the extras for a 6-0 lead.

Kurri Kurri responded after hooker Mayson Metcalf regathered a grubber close to the line. Ben McIntyre converted to level it up 6-all.

From there, The Entrance powered ahead via four-pointers to Fuaimamao Uta (19th), Nelson (25th, 37th) and Tjaden McLean (31st).

Mulligan booted another two goals as the Tigers went to the sheds 26-6 in front.

That soon became 32-6 in the 48th minute with Kyle McLean touching down and Mulligan converting.

Then the biggest cheer of the day occurred when Linnane stepped inside and left a number of defenders in his wake. McIntyre’s successful goal reduced the margin to 32-12.

Parity returned as centre Harley Ridge crashed over. Mulligan raised the flags and the team’s advantage to 38-12.

To their credit, the Bulldogs refused to lay down.

In the 61st minute, winger Sam Hunt raced through to score in the corner. McIntyre made it 38-18.

However, the McLeans each grabbed another try to wrap it all up 46-18.

In other fixtures on Saturday, competition leaders Cessnock Goannas accounted for the Seagulls 34-14 and the Lions smashed the Roos 44-20.

Twenty-four hours later, the Hawks stunned the Central Newcastle Butcher Boys 38-6 to record their historic maiden scalp in the Denton Engineering Cup, while the Pickers beat the Western Suburbs Rosellas 40-10 and the Macquarie Scorpions enjoyed the bye.

Tooheys Newcastle Rugby League

Denton Engineering Cup

Round eight results:

  • The Entrance Tigers d Kurri Kurri Bulldogs 46-18
  • Cessnock Goannas d Lakes United Seagulls 34-14
  • South Newcastle Lions d Wyong Roos 44-20
  • Maitland Pickers d Western Suburbs Rosellas 40-10
  • Northern Hawks d Central Newcastle Butcher Boys 38-6
  • Bye: Macquarie Scorpions

Round nine draw:

Saturday 27 May

  • 3pm: Lakes United Seagulls v Macquarie Scorpions (Cahill Oval)
  • 3pm: Maitland Pickers v The Entrance Tigers (Maitland No 1 Sportsground)
  • 3pm: Wyong Roos v Cessnock Goannas (Morry Breen Oval)

Sunday 28 May

  • 3pm: Central Newcastle Butcher Boys v Western Suburbs Rosellas (St John Oval)
  • 3pm: Northern Hawks v Kurri Kurri Bulldogs (Tomaree Sports Ground)
  • Bye: South Newcastle Lions

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