With training washed out on Tuesday night the Maitland Pickers watched the replay of their 16-12 loss to the Kurri Kurri Bulldogs.
It wasn’t pretty viewing.
Not so much the defeat, although it’s never easy repeating a dose of defeat to the rival neighbours in a Mercury Shield clash, but more the performance from the two-time Newcastle Rugby League defending premiers.
Pickers skipper Colby Schrader said the squad was able to take a great deal away from the experience ahead of Saturday’s showdown with the undefeated Macquarie Scorpions at Maitland Sportsground.
“It probably wasn’t the best game to watch on television but it was good to watch and pick up the areas where we were lacking,” Schrader said.
“We were really poor around the ruck and that is where they [the Bulldogs] really caught us off guard.
“We had two or three players in at a time and we were working against each other – we were skittled all over the ground and were beaten in and around the ruck.
“And in the second half we only completed 50 per cent and you are not going to win many games in this competition by doing that.”
Much of that statistic came down to poor ball security and ill discipline, which saw the Pickers concede seven penalties in the second stanza alone.
The sole change for the Pickers this week will be a straight swap in the centres between Gavin Quinn (return) and Ryan Walker (unavailable).
Schrader said Pickers coach Ron Griffiths had put players on notice
following some poor individual
displays last week.
Saturday’s match will also be the first time the Pickers will be up against 2011 grand final hero Mick Moran, who moved to Macquarie to join 2010 premiership winning coach Noel Dent.
The match kicks off at 3pm.
Also in third round action, Cessnock host Wyong on Saturday afternoon, Lakes United and Western Suburbs will battle it out under lights at Cahill Oval on Saturday from 5pm while on Sunday the Port Stephens Sharks will travel to St John Oval for their match with Central Newcastle.
In other Pickers news, Saturday’s match against Macquarie will be known as association day.
The concept has been conceived as a way to encourage other sporting associations to attend each others fixtures, which means players or supporters from other codes who wear their club logo will be admitted for free.
“The cross promotion is part of a long-term plan to improve relationships and more importantly support each other’s future objectives,” Pickers president John Thomas said.