VB NSW Cup Previews - Finals Week One

Newcastle Knights (2) Vs Wentworthville Magpies (3)
Leichhardt Oval, Saturday, September 6
Kick-off: 12.40pm
Referee: Liam Nicholls
Broadcast: LIVE on Fox Sports 1 and Sky Sport NZ

Summary:
 Well it’s the time of the year that we have all been waiting for and what better way to kick off the finals series than a match-up between the Knights and the Magpies. Arguably the hottest team in the competition right now, the Knights head into this clash riding the wave of a seven game winning streak that has seen them go from top eight fringe dwellers to legitimate title contenders. Their opposition in the Magpies had their colours lowered somewhat by the Panthers last weekend, however they had managed to string together three in a row prior to that, so they will certainly fancy their chances. In team news, Chad Redman was successful in seeking a downgrade on his striking charge and is now free to take his place for the Knights. As a result the Knights look set to field an identical side to the one that snuck home against the Jets at Hunter Stadium last Saturday. Newcastle will be hopeful of the win because the likes of Timana Tahu, Chanel Mata’utia and Travis Waddell would all likely return to his side in a fortnight’s time. For Wenty, they have also named a similar side to the one that faced the Panthers but the inclusion of Pauli Pauli should add some extra starch to an already impressive pack. One issue for Wenty might be that the Eels will need a replacement for Ben Smith after he accepted the early guilty plea for a crusher tackle, and with Brad Arthur’s cupboard looking bare, he may be forced to elevate one of Brett Cook’s troops. There is some speculation that Bureta Faraimo is not far off a return from a knee injury, so don’t be shocked to see him run out on Saturday. Their previous two meetings in 2014 haven’t lacked for attack with some 130 points being posted and there is no reason to think that this match won’t be a free flowing affair either.

2014 Head to Head Results:

Wentworthville Magpies 50 def. Newcastle Knights 32 at Ringrose Park (Round 8b)

Newcastle Knights 34 def. Wentworthville Magpies 14 at Newcastle No.2 Sports Ground (Round 16)  

Prediction: Tipping the Knights to win in another nail-biter. Knights by 2.


Penrith Panthers (1) Vs Illawarra Cutters (4)
Leichhardt Oval, Sunday, September 7
Kick-off: 12.00pm
Referee: Daniel Olford
Broadcast: NSWRL Livestream
Broadcast: Radio Coverage courtesy of Steele Sports Radio (Link available via
www.steelesports.com.au)
Broadcast: Radio Coverage courtesy of 2GLF FM 89.3 (Link available via 
893fm.com.au)
Broadcast: Radio Coverage courtesy of Hawkesbury Radio 89.9FM (Link available via 
www.hawkesburyradio.com.au)

Summary:
 Having wrapped up the minor premiership over a month ago, you would have forgiven the Panthers for clocking off a bit and to have started focusing on the finals. But this didn’t happen as the Panthers reeled off five straight wins to finish the regular season following their shock loss to the Jets back in round 19. As a result, the Panthers finished the season on 44 competition points, eclipsing the record of 43 points set just last year by the eventual premiers in the Sharks. The Cutters should be fresh for this clash having had the bye last weekend, although they did lose three of their final four matches prior to that so perhaps the weeks break was a blessing in disguise leading into this clash against the Panthers. Despite going down in both previous meetings, the Cutters have given the Panthers a real run for their money on both occasions in 2014 and would rate themselves a real chance of knocking over the competition favourites. The Panthers received some good news last night when Tom Humble was found not guilty of a shoulder charge at the judiciary and is free to take his place in the side and Waqa Blake has also been named after playing in the Panthers Holden Cup side for the past few weeks. For the Cutters, Kyle Eather has moved into the six jersey to join Holden Cup TOTY member Drew Hutchison in the halves but they will be missing a few troops with players like Shane Pumipi and Kyle Stanley helping out in the NRL side for the final match of the year. The Panthers injury list has been talked about a lot in recent times but in some good news for Panthers fans, when NSWRL.com.au caught up with Kevin Kingston earlier in the week, he suggested that if the Panthers can get through to the preliminary final or obviously the grand final, his season, and career at the Panthers may not yet be over.

2014 Head to Head Results:

Penrith Panthers 19 def. Illawarra Cutters 18 at Collegians Sports Complex (Round 12)

Penrith Panthers 28 def. Illawarra Cutters 22 at Sportingbet Stadium (Round 14)  

Prediction: The Panthers desperately need this win to earn a week off. Panthers by 6.

 

Mounties (5) Vs NZ Warriors (8)
Leichhardt Oval, Sunday, September 7
Kick-off: 2.00pm
Referee: Chris Treneman
Broadcast: NSWRL Livestream
Broadcast: Radio Coverage courtesy of Steele Sports Radio (Link available via
www.steelesports.com.au)
Broadcast: Radio Coverage courtesy of 2GLF FM 89.3 (Link available via 
893fm.com.au)

Summary:
 It’s do or die here when Mounties face off against the Warriors. In what was an amazing regular season, the Warriors secured their place inside the top eight in what was the final match of the season thanks to a 48-12 win over the Bears. The win was the Warriors first since round 20 when they accounted for Manly. At that stage the Warriors still looked a good chance of finishing in the top four, but after four successive losses, the Warriors only just ended up sneaking in. Mounties also spent plenty of time inside the top four during 2014 but despite winning four of their last six, Mounties have found themselves in a week one elimination final. Mounties fired up in the second half last week and accounted for the Sharks and will be hoping to continue the dominance that they have shown over the Warriors in 2014 as they have managed to pile on 84 points in their two meetings. Despite the Warriors indifferent form to finish the season, perhaps they played their way into some form last Sunday, and with nothing to lose, expect them to throw a few curveballs at their opponents on the weekend. In team news, Mounties will carry a near unchanged side into this weekend’s match and will be hopeful of progressing to week two when a number of players may become available. Mitch Cornish, Jeremy Hawkins and Matt McIlwrick to name a few could all be available next weekend if Mounties are able to overcome the Warriors. For the Warriors, Tangi Ropati replaces Jarrod Wilson and John Palavi comes in for Feleti Mateo who has been recalled to the NRL after starring in the Warriors win over the Bears.

2014 Head to Head Results:

Mounties 42 def. NZ Warriors 22 at Eden Park (Round 9)

Mounties 42 def. NZ Warriors 4 at Aubrey Keech Reserve (Round 21)  

Prediction: Will go with Mounties but the Warriors are a big chance. Mounties by 4.

 

Wests Tigers (6) Vs Wyong Roos (7)
Leichhardt Oval, Sunday, September 7
Kick-off: 4.00pm
Referee: Adam Cassidy
Broadcast: NSWRL Livestream
Broadcast: Radio Coverage courtesy of Steele Sports Radio (Link available via
www.steelesports.com.au)
Broadcast: Radio Coverage courtesy of 2GLF FM 89.3 (Link available via 
893fm.com.au)

Summary:
 It’s all just a little bit of history repeating here as the Tigers and Roos are set to lock horns for the second consecutive week, and while the Roos season was on the line last Saturday, this time around, both sides know that there is no tomorrow. The Roos run to make the finals has been nothing short of amazing and their achievement to this point cannot be undersold. To win their last five matches, with four of those on the road against top eight opponents has been remarkable, and now that they have made their maiden finals series, look for the boys from the central coast to make some noise. For the Tigers, who were once sitting pretty inside the top four and being talked about as a real premiership threat, the season has obviously taken a turn for the worst off the back of a significant injury toll at the club. The Tigers will be hopeful of progressing here as at least five players named to play NRL this weekend could return next weekend if the Tigers can avoid elimination. Paul Fletcher was quite vocal following their ten point loss to the Roos last weekend and made it clear that the performance was nowhere near acceptable. Hopefully for the sake of their fans, the message has sunk in and they can give a better account of themselves this Sunday. We seem to say it every week of late but there are no injury concerns for Wyong and they will be at full strength once again on Sunday while Brenden Santi returns for the Tigers. There has been little between these two sides during their previous clashes in 2014 and you get the feeling that will be the case once again here.

2014 Head to Head Results:

Wests Tigers 28 def. Wyong Roos 18 at Morry Breen Oval (Round 3)

Wyong Roos 26 def. Wests Tigers 16 at Campbelltown Sports Stadium (Round 25)  

Prediction: Momentum is a funny thing in rugby league and Wyong certainly has it at present. Roos by 4.
 

Make sure you are following @NSWRL on twitter and monitoring the #VBNSWCup hashtag all season long for all the latest news and scores.

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Here is a recap of last rounds scores and scorers

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Click here to find out everything you need to know about this year’s Grand Final day at Allianz Stadium