FLICK PASSES: Newcastle Rugby League bits and pieces from around the grounds

TOUGH WEEK: Central Newcastle captain Ethan Cooke was literally brought to his knees with an infection requiring unexpected surgery. Picture: Jonathan Carroll
TOUGH WEEK: Central Newcastle captain Ethan Cooke was literally brought to his knees with an infection requiring unexpected surgery. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

IT was tough to watch for Ethan Cooke – even more so from a hospital bed.

But the Central Newcastle skipper remains confident the Butcher Boys can bounce back bigger and better in 2018 despite bowing out of this year’s premiership race with a 60-0 preliminary final loss on Sunday.  

The score and margin were the highest in recent memory for Newcastle first grade, especially in the play-offs, and Cooke only got out of John Hunter on Tuesday afternoon following an unexpected six-night stay.

This included surgery on an infected knee just a few days after training with the squad as per normal.

He also would have missed the grand final this weekend.

* MACQUARIE’S 1991 premiership winning captain-coach Mal Graham, who has won Newcastle grand finals at three different venues (No.1 Sportsground, McDonald Jones Stadium and Harker Oval), used to teach current Scorpions Adam Grew and Bobby Tracey at West Wallsend High School.  

* TOM Aylett will be the referee in charge of Saturday’s decider with Greg Digby and Greg Ryan the touch judges.

* LIVE coverage of first grade will include the Newcastle Herald website and social media platforms as well as BarTV Sports online and the radio via 1233 ABC Newcastle. 

* INCOMING Cessnock captain-coach Al Lantry ticked off a stack of countries while traveling overseas the last two years which included a stint with Leigh East in England, an Australian-Londoners v Kiwi-Londoners fixture played next to Twickenham and a nines tournament in Sweden.

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