Minor premiers Macquarie have been left to rue missed opportunities after suffering the pain of a second straight grand final loss.
The Scorpions were defeated 21-12 by South Newcastle and were unable to capitalise on an extra man in the closing stages.
“We had three chances there and dropped the ball three times before play three, which was just killer,” Macquarie coach Adam Bettridge said.
“We had to take our opportunities and we didn’t do that today. It’s disappointing. Grand finals are a different beast and we lacked in key areas and we’re a bit off the pace. Souths came out and played good wet weather footy, probably near the perfect game. So credit where credit is due, they were the better team today and they got the biscuits.”
Macquarie levelled at 6-all in the 14th minute when second-rower Randall Briggs ran onto a short ball provided by skipper and halfback Andy Sumner. Five-eighth Scott Briggs kicked the conversion. Six minutes after the break Scorpions centre Teason Fa’avae strolled over after a cut out pass from playmaker Briggs, who then added the extras for a 12-7 lead.
“It’s a hard one to handle that one,” Bettridge said. “We hadn’t played our best footy but we were still in the game. There was just a little period where we should have taken some more points.”
Macquarie had prop Isaac Briggs (neck) and substitute Tye Alchin (knee) both sidelined with match ending injuries before the half hour mark. Bettridge, who was named coach of the year last month, signed a two year deal with Macquarie earlier this season to extend his stay until the end of 2018.
“It’s just gut wrenching,” he said. “Hopefully we can regroup and use the pain as a motivator for next year.”