NHRU: Lamont leads well-balanced Newcastle squad

LEADING THE WAY: Steve Lamont will captain Newcastle at the Country Championships. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

LEADING THE WAY: Steve Lamont will captain Newcastle at the Country Championships. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

IT was one of the first things coach Stu Pinkerton spoke about when he assembled the Newcastle squad.

Round 2: Hamilton v Maitland, Wanderers v Singleton, Nelson Bay v Southern Beaches, University v Lake Macquarie, The Waratahs v Merewether

Round 2: Hamilton v Maitland, Wanderers v Singleton, Nelson Bay v Southern Beaches, University v Lake Macquarie, The Waratahs v Merewether

Newcastle has lost the past three Country championship finals. They went down to Central West in 2014, before consecutive losses to Illawarra.

“It is certainly a statistic we are determined to correct,” Pinkerton said. “We have spoken about it right through the lead up. We want our name back on the trophy.”

Pinkerton has finalised the 25-man squad for the championship which is being held in Port Macquarie on April 29-30. Newcastle must beat Central West on the Saturday to progress to the final.

Newcastle: 1 Ben Christensen, 2 Steve Lamont (c), 3 Favaae Sila, 4 Nathan Brennan, 5 Seva Rokobaro, 6 Steve Sione, 7 Josh Stewart, 8 Joe Akkersdyk, 9 Jono O’Toole, 10 Dane Sharratt, 11 Sireli Bainivalu, 12 Jay Strachan (vc), 13 Sam Foggarty, 14 Tim Marsh, 15 Adrian Delore, 16 Barcelona  Lupematasila, 17 Sapati Peniata, 18 Leeland Marshall, 19 Glenn Stone, 20 Ben Ham, 21 Michael Delore, 22 Sonni Halanukonuka, 23 Paddy Killmurray, 24 Tom Emayel, 25 Rapine Mason.

* Newcastle players will get a taste on Saturday of what to expect at the Country Championship in terms of officiating. The referees for Port Macquarie will control first and second grade games.

* Premier Rugby clubs have four weeks to review the player points lists for 2017 and lodge any queries. The PPS has been adjusted with non locals allocated 3 points (1st year), 2 points (2nd year) and 1 point (third year). Nelson Bay, Singleton and University have a cap of 27 points, Lake Macquarie 23 and the rest 18.   

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