Young Picker Soper-Lawler impresses in debut for Knights under-20

STRONG SHOWING: Matt Soper-Lawler in action for the Pickers.Matt Soper-Lawler almost scored the match winner on debut for the Newcastle Knights under 20s in the National Youth Competition.

The Pickers fullback leapt high to take a cross-field kick from fellow Maitland product Brock Lamb at Hunter Stadium on Sunday and despite coming down with the ball over the try line was ruled to have been held up by the Sydney Roosters’ defence.

Those in the crowd, including Pickers coach Trevor Ott, thought Soper-Lawler had crossed to extend a two-point lead late in the game, but it wasn’t to be.

From the ensuing set of six, the visitors went the length of the field to go in front of Newcastle before ­making it 30-22 by full-time.

Soper-Lawler had been called up to the Knights side this week after recovering from surgery on a broken nose, suffered in the Pickers’ 22-12 loss to South Newcastle at home on July 18.

Before the injury Soper-Lawler had been training in the Knights ­junior squad, which included a ­session with the first grade side.

The 18-year-old, who has scored seven tries for Maitland in the Newcastle Rugby League competition this year, did not play for the Pickers in their 42-24 victory against Kurri Kurri at home on Saturday.

Commitments with the Knights may rule him out of the Pickers’ remaining two matches against Western Suburbs and Macquarie.

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