A MOUNTING injury toll threatens to derail Macquarie’s bid to qualify for a third straight Newcastle rugby league grand final.
The Scorpions were humbled 35-8 by minor premiers Western Suburbs who turned on a clinical major semi-final performance at Harker Oval on Sunday.
The win means Wests progress to the grand final.
Macquarie get a second chance to score a grand final berth when they take on Central Newcastle at Townsend Oval this Sunday at 3pm.
Central progressed to the final after scoring a 22-10 win over Lakes United in the elimination semi-final on Saturday.
Injuries are a concern for the Scorpions.
Season-ending injuries to Blake Gallen, Brendon Worth, Teason Faave-Eli and Nathan Hinton have already put a sizeable hole in Macquarie’s stocks.
But now the Scorpions seem destined to lose another two players for the must-win final on Sunday – and potentially the grand final.
Macquarie’s football secretary Stephen Woodbridge said Royce Geoffrey and Adam Swadling were injured in the loss to Wests.
“Swadling broke his thumb in a number of places and Geoffrey injured his ankle and will not play in the clash against Central,” Woodbridge said.
Scorpions coach Adam Bettridge said Wests were impressive.
“Wests were very clinical and played very well and it was hard for us to compete, especially in the second half when they dominated possession and we started to tire,” Bettridge said.
“When we went into half time trailing 10-4 I really thought we could match it with them in the second half, especially if we could control the ball and get an even amount of possession.
“But they scored shortly after halftime from a one-on-one strip and it was then difficult for us to get into the game.”
Bettridge said assessing the injuries and considering replacements would be complicated by injuries sustained by some of Macquarie’s reserve grade players.
“But we will prepare well for our game on Sunday, and I am sure we can rebound with a win against Central and play in our third straight grand final and take on Wests away from Harker Oval where they are very difficult to beat.”
The grand final will be played at McDonald Jones Stadium, Newcastle, on Saturday, September 23.