Wentworthville Magpies (1) Vs Mounties (2)
Lidcombe Oval, Saturday, September 20
Kick-off: 1.45pm 
Referee: Chris Treneman
Broadcast: Radio Coverage courtesy of Triple H FM (Link available via 
www.triplehfm.com.au/hhh)

Summary:
The top two teams from the regular season will go head-to-head this weekend with a shot at Grand Final glory only 80 minutes away. After going down to The Entrance in week one of the finals, reigning premiers, Wentworthville bounced back to form last weekend with a convincing 42-22 defeat of the Auburn Warriors. The Magpies had their work cut out for them with a determined Warriors outfit refusing to go away, but experienced heads prevailed with Wenty sticking to their game plan for the desired result. Despite the victory, the Magpies have made some dramatic changes to their backline for the Preliminary Final with Henry Raiwalui moving from fullback into five-eighth and James Tuitahi making way for Keehan Diamond on the wing. Nicholas Walker will take Raiwalui’s spot at fullback with Matt Mundine shifting to the interchange. Taunaola Kei will be looking to replicate his barnstorming recent form, with the big prop scoring a double last weekend and bending the defensive line at will. Mounties will be ready for action after enjoying the week off and having the opportunity to study their rivals. A clinical 22-10 victory over Asquith in week one saw Mounties advance to the third round and they will be itching for a shot at the reigning premiers this weekend. Mounties will field a largely unchanged lineup from the side that defeated Asquith, with Wayne Dargan coming into the centres and pushing Francis Vaiotu onto the wing; with Louis Vaiotu taking his place on an extended bench. It’s one apiece between the two teams this season with Wenty recording a strong 40-12 victory in round five, and Mounties repaying the favour in a hard fought 30-24 victory in round 11.

Prediction: There wasn’t much to separate these teams throughout the regular season and we doubt there will be much between them this weekend. The week off could work in Mounties favour, but momentum is a valuable commodity in Rugby League. If Taunaola Kei can reproduce his form from last weekend, we’re leaning towards Wenty in a close one. Magpies by 4.

 

Asquith Magpies (3) Vs The Entrance Tigers (4)
Lidcombe Oval, Saturday, September 20
Kick-off: 3.30pm
Referee: Daniel Olford
Broadcast: Radio Coverage courtesy of Triple H FM (Link available via 
www.triplehfm.com.au/hhh)

Summary:
Rounding out the theory of the cream rising to the top in finals football, third and fourth placed Asquith and The Entrance will do battle for a place alongside either first or second placed Wentworthville or Mounties in the 2014 Ron Massey Cup Grand Final. The Entrance will enter the match on the back of a week’s rest after smashing reigning premiers Wentworthville 46-20 in the opening week of the finals. The Tigers had only won two of their previous five matches leading into the finals but saved one of their best performances of the year for the Magpies in a warning to their premiership rivals. The Entrance will only make one change to their starting lineup from the side they fielded in week one, with Luke McInnes coming back into the front-row position in pace of Sam Fioni who moves to the bench. Harley Ridge has been a standout for the Tigers in recent weeks and his impact could have a significant result on the final score line. Asquith will enter this match with confidence after overcoming their week one finals loss to Mounties with a hard fought 16-14 win over Guildford. The Owls threw everything they had at the Magpies over the course of 80 minutes but they held firm with some strong goal line defence that could prove useful this weekend. Asquith has made a couple of changes from last week’s side with Greg Davis coming into fullback for Jack Hawkins and Luke McDonald moving into the centres. Ben Fisher and Aaron Groom will once again line up in the halves and will be expected to be at their best to give the Magpies their best chance of victory and a shot at premiership glory. The Entrance are undefeated when taking on the Magpies this year with an 18-6 win in round Six and a 29-22 victory in round 17.

Prediction: Two hard clashes in consecutive weeks may have taken the wind out of the Magpies sails and they will need to raise the bar once again when they clash with the Tigers. We’re leaning towards The Entrance to come home with a wet sail in the second half. Tigers by 8.

 

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