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REAL NRL: Wyong Roos get the jump on rivals


The Wyong Roos stamped its premiership credentials with its second major scalp in as many weeks in Tooheys Newcastle Rugby League (Real NRL) at the weekend.

After knocking off the previously unbeaten Cessnock Goannas in round nine, the Central Coast outfit defeated 2022 Denton Engineering Cup runners up Macquarie Scorpions 22-14 at Lyall Peacock Field on Saturday 3 June.

But, it was a gallant display by the hosts who went into the fixture with more than half a dozen regular first-graders sitting on the sideline.

In fact, Macquarie only trailed 16-14 with a couple of minutes remaining on the clock.

Inspirational Wyong Roos captain-coach Mitch Williams. Photo: Michael Gorton Images

However, crafty Wyong captain-coach Mitch Williams sent his prop Jake Lewis over near the uprights to seal the victory.

“I’m happy with that performance,” he said following the full-time siren.

“Obviously, it was a real high last week beating Cessnock, so it’s always hard to back it up against a tough side at their home ground.

“However, I am glad we got the result.

“It was only 4-0 at the break… such a grind.

Wyong Roos forward Luke Bartley found Macquarie’s defence up to the task. Photo: Michael Gorton Images

“But, an early try to them in the second half saw the Scorpions regain the momentum.

“We then went set-for set, which was good, and eventually came away with the win.

“If you want to be the best team, you’ve got to beat all the best teams.

“Macquarie made the grand final last year, they’re a good side, and well-coached.

“So, yeah, I’m really delighted we grabbed the points [today].”

Macquarie Scorpions fullback Matt Cooper launches an attacking raid. Photo: Michael Gorton Images

The Roos’ triumph was built on defence, which kept the Scorpions at bay on several occasions.

“That’s something we spent a lot of time working on in the pre-season,” Williams said.

“The best defensive teams go close to winning competitions.

“We’re aware of that – and we weren’t anywhere near that last year.

“However, we want to be that this season.

“That first half, I think they had four consecutive sets on our line.

“They’ve also got players who can throw some attacking shape at us.

“So, the boys did well to repel them, they worked hard for each other, and that’s what you have to do.”

With two arduous tests now conquered, Wyong next faces defending premiers Maitland Pickers.

“I’ll be honest, we saw this schedule – Cessnock, Macquarie and Maitland – ahead of us,” Williams told the Newcastle Weekly.

Wyong Roos lock and former NRL players Arana Taumata. Photo: Michael Gorton Images

“That’s the top three from 2022.

“So, we’re aware of how tough that challenge is.

“But, we want to see ourselves as one of the best teams in the competition.

“Like I said earlier to the boys, last week was great, we needed to back it up [today] which we did, and next weekend we head to Maitland.

“We understand the Pickers are the side to beat.

“However, we’ll go there with confidence.”

The Scorpions began strongly, but it was the Roos, which struck first.

In the 11th minute, winger Levi Kasun crossed in the corner. Lachlan Hanneghan sent the conversion astray, the score remaining 4-0 in Wyong’s favour.

Hooker Campbell Woolnough went close for Macquarie soon after, however he was held up over the line.

The scrappy opening period continued with a single try separating the combatants at the interval.

The Scorpions levelled up at 4-all when they spun the ball wide and second-rower Malik Deyaolu touched down. Kerrod Holland failed to add the extras.

In the 50th minute, Roos fullback Luke Sharpe threw a dummy and stepped inside to score. Hanneghan made no mistake and extended the lead to 10-4.

Macquarie Scorpions centre Kerrod Holland was a danger every time he touched the ball. Photo: Michael Gorton Images

Macquarie retaliated thanks to some Holland brilliance. The former NRL star sliced through, leaving a couple of defenders in his wake. He then levelled the match up at 10-all with a successful shot at goal.

The deadlock was broken, however when Wyong five-eighth Ryan Walsh burrowed under for a smart four-pointer. Hanneghan raised the flags and the margin to 16-10.

But, the Scorpions refused to surrender.

In the 73rd minute, with the Roos on the backfoot, quick hands along the backline resulted in Jordan Pope diving over. Holland’s boot just missed the mark, with the team trailing 16-14.

Wyong then wrapped up the fixture in the dying stages, much to the relief of their fans.

In other Saturday showdowns, the Western Suburbs Rosellas halted the Northern Hawks’ winning streak 24-20 and the Pickers accounted for the Kurri Kurri Bulldogs 40-12.

On Sunday, the South Newcastle Lions upset the Goannas 22-14 and the Central Newcastle Butcher Boys did likewise to The Entrance Tigers 8-4, while the Lakes United Seagulls had 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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