MACQUARIE Scorpions snatched a last-gasp 22-all draw with Central Newcastle on Saturday to keep alive their hopes of playing in this year’s Newcastle rugby league finals series.
It was a remarkable come-from-behind performance against one of the competition’s heavyweights.
And it has renewed belief among the Toronto faithful that the Scorpions can go on a run.
Macquarie trailed 22-12 with only seven minutes remaining in the match at Lyall Peacock Field.
A try to Randall Briggs and conversion by Scott Briggs put the Scorpions back in the game at 22-18.
With less than 90 seconds left on the clock, Central had the ball and, seemingly, the win in their possession.
But Macquarie’s Todd Hurrell was able to strip the ball free in a tackle. With time almost expired, Macqurie winger Malik Deyalou crossed for a spectacular try in the corner, but Scott Briggs’s conversion attempt shaved the outside of the upright to leave the score locked at 22-all.
Scorpions coach Adam Bettridge said he was proud of the the way his squad fought back with their season on the line.
“It is still going to be difficult but that point has kept us in the hunt,” Bettridge said.
“We are now only two points behind Central and three points behind South Newcastle, in fourth and fifth spots on the ladder, and we play them in the next two weeks so it is in our hands now.
“We don’t have to rely on other results to go our way.”
Despite Macquarie’s lengthy injury toll, the club performed strongly against the powerful Central teams in all grades. Macquarie’s under-19s won, and the open and reserve grades lost narrowly.
“To perform like that against the very strong Central club who are leading the club championship, despite our horrific injury toll, was a fantastic achievement by the club,” Bettridge said.
“We will be getting a number of players back this week against Maitland which will definitely help our cause and I am sure the squad would have gained a great deal of confidence from the performance against Central.
“If we can now build on that performance over the next six weeks I am confident we can make the semi-finals again.”
Macquarie Scorpions will host Maitland this Saturday, July 14, at Lyall Peacock Field. Kick off at 3pm.