Lions set for last roll of finals dice

DANE Queenan decided to join Souths this season instead of his home club, the Port Stephens Sharks, because he wanted one last taste of semi-final football in the Newcastle Rugby League.

The former representative halfback knows that dream could be mortally wounded today if the Lions lose to Macquarie at Townson Oval.

Souths sit in sixth spot on 13 points and must keep winning to keep in touch with fifth-placed Maitland (14), who host the winless Sharks at Maitland Sportsground today in the first of four straight home games.

Dark horses Wyong (11) are building momentum from seventh place after three dominant victories over Cessnock, Lakes United and Kurri Kurri.

After today, Souths play Maitland (away), Cessnock (home), Lakes (home), Central (home) and Cessnock (away) and Queenan said a loss against Macquarie meant his side would become reliant on other results.

‘‘One hundred per cent this game is must win,’’ Queenan said. ‘‘We’ve basically got to do everything to get the two points, as we’re desperate.’’

Souths will have to overcome several obstacles to beat the flying Scorpions.

Key players hooker Joe Cudmore (knee) and second-rower Beau Simpson (hamstring) are both injured and half Scott Briggs and centre Michael Mate have been called into the Knights’ NSW Cup side.

Souths have lost once over the past seven rounds, to Wests, and Queenan has identified their 22-12 win over the Bulldogs at Kurri Sportsground three weeks ago as proof the Lions can topple their semi-final rivals.

‘‘When we knocked over Kurri the other week our forwards really dominated them, and in my view they have the biggest pack in the comp, so if the guys do that again we’re a big chance,’’ he said.

‘‘It really turned the season around for us and gave us the belief we could start beating those teams above us.’’

Queenan missed the first half of the season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament.

The knee is still far from 100per cent, but the former Parramatta lower grader said he was likely to continue playing at Souths next season.

Wyong’s semi-final hopes will be crushed if they fail to topple Wests tomorrow at Morry Breen Oval.

After their opening 10 matches produced only two wins, against strugglers Lakes and the Sharks, and a draw against Souths, the Roos appeared dead and buried.

Wyong coach Paul Stringer cannot explain the traditionally strong Central Coast club’s slow start and subsequent return to form over the past three weeks.

‘‘We haven’t done anything different,’’ Stringer said.

‘‘I think the last four weeks the chemistry has been there and the boys are getting on at training. It’s been weird for me, because the whole time I’ve been there we’ve been successful.’’

Lakes United will auction their special prostate cancer jerseys for charity after their match against Kurri Kurri tomorrow at Cahill Oval.

Seagulls president James McKinley urged everyone to get checked for the disease.

‘‘A lot of people are scared of getting a test done, but it’s two minutes and is done for the sake of your life,’’ he said. To make an early bid for the sky blue jerseys head to the beer booth at the ground.

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