MACQUARIE centre Royce Geoffrey was a little more nervous than most on Sunday.
It had less to do with his own personal performance or the Scorpions' crucial clash against Lakes. And his wedding vows with fiance Madeline are still a couple of months away, post the Newcastle Rugby League season.
Last weekend actually marked 12 months since Geoffrey had surgery on his Achilles tendon, an injury which saw him miss most of the 2018 campaign.
"My first couple of games back this year I was a bit nervous, but I've been fine ever since," Geoffrey said.
"The weekend just brought it up because it was 12 months since the surgery.
"I've been pretty lucky with Driesy [James Dries] our strength and conditioning coach. He's really good with all the rehabilitation. All the step-by-step stuff and gradually getting back into running."
The 26-year-old has been in-and-around the Toronto area for most of his life.
He grew up at Coal Point and played juniors with the Dora Creek Swampies.
The PE and science teacher only moved to Cliftleigh recently after he started working at Upper Hunter high school St Joseph's, Aberdeen. This also prompted his club change last season from Macquarie, who he kicked off with in 2010, to nearby Cessnock.
Geoffrey's injury cut short his time in Goannas colours and in 2019 he opted to switch back to the Scorpions.
"I missed it," he said. "I think it's just where you're from."
Geoffrey's had a pretty fair run at Macquarie.
A grand final appearance in 2015 and a premiership two years later, despite being ruled out with an ankle injury the week of the decider, but there was a tough initiation period.
"Me and [Scorpions halfback] Andy [Sumner] were only 17 or 18 when we first played first grade together," he said.
"We got toweled up by Wyong, 60 something to 10. We looked at each other and thought if that's first grade then that'll do. But we turned around and beat Wests the next weekend."
Macquarie, now in equal sixth and one win outside the top five, defeated Lakes 17-16 in round 12 to keep their finals aspirations alive this season.
"It's no good saying we've got to win three out of four, we've just got to win this weekend," he said.
Meanwhile, the Geoffrey-coached St Joseph's, Aberdeen, were beaten by Singleton High School (30-8) in Wednesday's under-13 Knights Knockout final at McDonald Jones Stadium.
St Joseph's, Lochinvar were successful in the under-14 and under-16 divisions while Mayfield's San Clemente picked up the under-15 title.