Pickers prepare for the big dance
BY ALEX TIGANI
It is official.
This Sunday afternoon a former Singleton Greyhound will walk out of McDonald Jones Stadium with a Newcastle Rugby League premiership medal.
But will it be Kerrod Holland (Macquarie Scorpions) or will the extra week’s aid Maitland Pickers’ pair James Bradley and Will Nieuwenhuise?
After a historic NSW Presidents Cup win in 2020 and a minor premiership in last year’s covid-interrupted season, Pickers coach Matt Lantry hopes this Sunday’s clash is a case of third time lucky for the club which has not won the league title since 2011.
“Everyone wants to be in grand finals and we are privileged and humbled by the opportunity to get it,”
The Pickers celebrated a 42-14 semi-final win over Scorpions who bounced back on Saturday with a 26-20 win over Cessnock.
This Sunday’s match will mark Lantry’s first Newcastle RL grand final since his triumph with Wests in 2019. Prior to that had also guided the Greta Branxton Colts to the 2009 Group 21 premiership.
Now he hopes to share the glory with Bradley and Nieuwenhuise this Sunday.
“Both of those boys have been wonderful acquisitions to our team and have been very consistent in their performance,” he concluded.
“I think Will has now played ten games straight in first grade on the wing.”