MACQUARIE Scorpions’ coach Adam Bettridge won’t be dwelling on the prospect of a fourth straight loss for his team when they take on Cessnock in the Newcastle Rugby League match at Toronto next week.
But it won’t unsettle him, either.
That’s because Bettridge has stared down adversity before. As recently as last season.
“Last year was a very tough year. We lost five or six senior players,” Bettridge said.
“I remember sitting down about halfway through the year and thinking ‘what are we going to do?”.
So he set about plotting a course that would deliver the Scorpions their first premiership since 1991.
“I actually reinvented the wheel and we changed our playing style,” he said.
“One of the main thing that hit home with me was coaching what you have with the weapons you have.”
There was no use, he realised, in trying to play a style of football that his players were not equipped to execute.
“Last year was a challenging year as a coach. It made me work harder, and it made me learn to back your ability,” he said.
“A lot of people were saying ‘you’ve lost too many players’. That motivated me a fair bit.”
Fast forward to season 2018 and the Scorpions are in a similar predicament: key players out with injury, and strategies that were hatched in the pre-season are being tested.
The Scorpions have lost fullback Kyle Eather for the remainder of the season due to a knee injury, and halfback Andy Sumner remains sidelined with a broken arm.
New signings Kelly Benson (hooker) and Todd Hurrell (utility) have also missed games due to injury, all of which has impacted on Macquarie’s consistency and cohesion.
The Scorpions started the season strongly enough, opening with a hat-trick of wins. They’ve since lost three on the trot – to Maitland, Kurri Kurri and South Newcastle.
But it’s hardly panic stations.
The Scorpions sit in fifth place on the eight-team competition ladder after six rounds.
But their 6 competition points has them just one win adrift of the competition’s co-leaders Kurri Kurri and Lakes United.
“We need to regroup next week and ensure that we come out and perform at our best against Cessnock on June 16 and get ourselves back into the top three,” Bettridge said.
There is no Newcastle Rugby League over the June long weekend. Macquarie will host Cessnock at Lyall Peacock Field, Toronto, at 3pm, on Saturday, June 16.