Newcastle Rugby League: Lakes coach Todd Edwards would hand back coach of year awards for 2018 premiership

CHARGE: Lakes forward Junior Roqica. Picture: Jonathan Carroll
CHARGE: Lakes forward Junior Roqica. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

Todd Edwards said he would hand back all of his Newcastle Rugby League coach of the year awards to claim the 2018 title next weekend.

The outgoing Lakes mentor led the Seagulls to the minor premiership in his first season at the helm and added a fourth individual gong to his own collection on Wednesday night.  

His previous accolades came in 2008, 2009 and 2012 at Cessnock, where he is expected to return in 2019. 

However, Edwards said swapping those trophies for the premiership cup wouldn’t be an issue. 

“I would give up the four of them to take the big one,” Edwards told the Newcastle Herald

Lakes have it all in front of them, travelling to Townson Oval on Sunday to meet in-form Kurri Kurri in the preliminary final.

“We’ve got a tough one coming up this weekend,” Edwards said. “We’re going to have to have our gloves up.”

The winner of the do-or-die clash will book a showdown with Souths at McDonald Jones Stadium on September 23. Lakes missed a chance to progress early after going down to the grand final bound Lions 20-12 at Cahill Oval on Sunday. 

“There’s no second chances left now,” he said. “It’s sudden death. It’s all on the line.” 

Edwards said he would make a decision after training on Saturday morning in regards to who plays in the back-row for recently injured Jarrod Holmgreen, who will undergo serious knee surgery next month.      

“It [the injury] was much worse than we first thought on Sunday,” Edwards said.

“He did the whole lot – ACL, MCL and meniscus. He needs a reconstruction, which he’ll get done in early October, and will be out for 12 months.”

Edwards said he was also contemplating starting dynamic hooker Daniel Peck rather than playing him off the bench.

Lakes won their last two encounters with Kurri, 24-20 followed by 22-12, in consecutive weekends at Cahill Oval in July. The Seagulls were beaten 24-12 by the Bulldogs away in round three.

Kurri, who last made the decider in 2013, have now won six in-a-row and last dropped a game on July 28. 

LAKES: Kyle Kennedy, Toa Mata’Afa, Josh Charles, Jacob Gagai, Matt Craig, Jack Kelly, Nick Newman, Kodie Charles, Casey Burgess, Junior Roqica, Roman Fepuleai, Nick Glohe, Shaun Boss, Daniel Peck, Ben Sams, Cody Robbins, Blake Smith.