Newcastle Rugby League: Macquarie five-eighth Scott Briggs will direct traffic a different way against Central in 2017

KICK: Macquarie playmaker Scott Briggs in action during the Scorpions recent qualifying semi-final at Toronto. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers
KICK: Macquarie playmaker Scott Briggs in action during the Scorpions recent qualifying semi-final at Toronto. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Scott Briggs will spend this week driving those in need around.

It’s part of his new gig with Hunter-based Indigenous community health service Awabakal and on Wednesday he was tackling the back streets of Belmont trying to find a dentist.  

But this weekend the 31-year-old father-of-two will be directing traffic of a different kind at Townson Oval as the Macquarie Scorpions take one last shot at making a third straight Newcastle Rugby League grand final.

And almost a decade earlier in 2008 the shoe, or at least the club socks, were well and truly on the other foot with Briggs playing for upcoming opponents Central Newcastle.

This was the last time the Butcher Boys made the preliminary final stage and Briggs was part of a “lethal” Central backline that lost 30-10 to Cessnock at his now home ground in Toronto. It was also the club’s first top grade appearance in the play-offs for 20 years.

Central now continue the quest to reach a grand final, last achieved in 1963, and add an eighth premiership next to their most recent from 1949.

On this particular occasion Briggs has another role. Still lining up in the halves but trying to halt, rather than promote, Central’s drought-breaking cause and instead give the Scorpions another chance to shine for the first time since Mal Graham’s men in 1991.    

“That [2008] feels like a long time ago now,” Elermore Vale-based Briggs said.

“I’m a bit older these days and it takes a bit longer to recover. But the most important thing for me on the weekend is getting the troops around the park and getting to where we need to get.

“I also need to get my kicking game down pat and I’ve been working on that so hopefully it pays off.”

Briggs knows his job as a senior player becomes even more important this weekend with prop Adam Swadling (broken thumb) now joining injured captain Blake Gallen (broken leg) and fellow hardman Brendan Worth (elbow) on the sidelines.

“Obviously those names are the guys that are irreplaceable to this team,” Briggs said.

“However, we need to come together now as a team or we will crumble. I do feel more responsibility on my shoulders, but that comes with being around this comp for many years now.”

Most of all Briggs would desperately like a second tilt at title favourites and minor premiers Western Suburbs, who eventually breezed past Macquarie 35-8 in Sunday’s major semi-final at Harker Oval.

“It’s pretty hard to beat Wests at Wests,” he said.

“They are like a Melbourne Storm – well structured and you can’t come from behind against them. Hopefully we can get past Central and get another crack.”

Central’s main injury concern out of Saturday’s 22-10 minor semi-final win over Lakes at St John Oval was forward Dane Cordner, but coach Craig Miller he will delay surgery on torn cartilage in his knee until after the season has finished.