Newcastle Rugby League: Macquarie Scorpions trio keep grand final success in the family

BROTHERS IN ARMS: Randall, Isaac and Scott Briggs in the dressing sheds at McDonald Jones Stadium after Macquarie's grand final triumph on Saturday afternoon. Picture: Jonathan Carroll
BROTHERS IN ARMS: Randall, Isaac and Scott Briggs in the dressing sheds at McDonald Jones Stadium after Macquarie's grand final triumph on Saturday afternoon. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

The Briggs boys are expected to help Macquarie defend both their Newcastle and State Cup titles in 2018 after achieving a rare sporting feat on the weekend.  

Randall, Isaac and Scott became one of, if not, the first set of three brothers to play first grade together in the same Newcastle Rugby League premiership-winning team.  

The Scorpions upset minor premiers Western Suburbs 24-6 in Saturday’s decider at McDonald Jones Stadium and current administrators, rival coaches, former players and competition historians are struggling to recall such a family event happening previously.

Kurri Kurri probably went closest in their hat-trick of grand final wins between 1993 and 1995 with the Linnanes – brothers Steve and Danny next to cousin Jason. 

Other sibling duos include: South Newcastle’s Liam and Luke Higgins (2016) as well as the Lawrence twins, Artie and Adie, in the 1943 halves; Central Newcastle’s Bell brothers, William and George, almost nine decades ago in 1928; while the 2009 Wyong Roos had both Chad and Matt Sharp. 

But without definitive records the inaugural trifecta may well belong to Scorpions five-eighth Scott, 31 along with younger utility pair Randall, 26, and Isaac, 23.

“No I haven’t [come across that before], and I thought all three Briggs boys were outstanding on the day,” Macquarie coach Adam Bettridge said.

“Isaac gave us plenty of impact off the bench with some strong carriers and that little pass to [halfback] Andy [Sumner], Scottie’s kicking game was second to none while Randall just played his natural game and happened to get that match winner which he’ll remember forever.”

With two minutes remaining and up by 12 points, Randall took an intercept, ran 60 metres down the western sideline, raised his fist in the air and scored in front of the Scorpions supporters. 

“I knew they [Wests] would throw it inside because [five-eighth] Ryan Walker was there,” Randall said.

“Initially it felt like I was running forever, but I had the whole community behind me and the whole team behind me. It felt good because I knew the game was over once I took that ball.

“It still hasn’t sunk in, but it’s a dream come true.” 

Scott, a club junior, has played at Central and Souths in prior campaigns but his maiden trophy was lifted with those he played backyard battles alongside.   

“It makes it even more special with my brothers,” Scott said.

“This is where it all started for me, at Macquarie. Born and bred, grew up that way, so it’s good to come back and I couldn’t win it with a better bunch of boys.”

As for next season?

“I think you could nearly guarantee the Briggs boys will [go around with Macquarie again], from their early indications,” Bettridge said. 

Meanwhile, Wests prop Warren Schillings could miss up to three games next year after the Newcastle RL match review committee handed down a grade two reckless high tackle charge from late in the 2017 showdown.    

PHOTOS: The 2017 Newcastle RL grand final

UPSET: Macquarie break 26-year premiership drought

REACTION: “We probably played the perfect game.”

FLASHBACK: Similarities between clubs’ two titles

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FAVOURITES: Wests save worst until last