Local rugby league: Former South Newcastle captain coach Todd Hurrell signs with Macquarie Scorpions

If Macquarie coach Adam Bettridge had his way, Todd Hurrell would have played for the Scorpions during their premiership-winning 2017 season.

But 12 months ago, Bettridge couldn’t talk him into linking with the club.

“I did my best but couldn’t get him over the line,”he said.

“Work was an issue for Todd plus his family situation and he ending up having a run alongside his brother.”

But a year later and the persistence has paid off – Bettridge has got his man.

Hurrell, who didn’t play in the Newcastle competition after leading South Newcastle to the title in 2016, has agreed to headline Macquarie’s premiership defence in 2018.

“He’ll be an older head for us in a predominantly young forward pack,”Bettridge said.

“He is an important pick-up for us.”

While Hurrell’s signing is a big positive for the club, the Scorpions have lost some heavy artillery from the side which upset strong favourites Western Suburbs in the grand final.

Veteran forwards Daniel Abraham and Brendan Worth have retired and Chris Hyde, Mitch Manton and Royce Geoffrey have all moved on to other clubs.

There are also doubts about Blake Gallen’s future as he recovers from injury.

But while he concedes there will be plenty of people writing off Macquarie’s chances of going back-to-back, Bettridge remains unconcerned.

“I’m comfortable with where things are at and there are a lot of good young players at the club looking for an opportunity who I’d rather give a chance to in front of bringing too many guys in from outside,” he said.

Two other players the Scorpions have signed are former Sharks Under 20’s and Illawarra Cutters fullback Kyle Eather and ex-Tweed Heads Seagulls hooker Kelly Benson.

Eather will replace Manton at the back while Benson will be out to fill the big shoes left by the departure of Hyde.

“Kyle’s bought a house at Cameron Park so I’d like to think he will be a long-time player for the club while Kelly has played a little bit of Queensland Cup and has been training the house down since linking with us,”Bettridge said.

Recruit: Former Lions premiership-winning coach Todd Hurrell will play for Macquarie. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Recruit: Former Lions premiership-winning coach Todd Hurrell will play for Macquarie. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers