Sydney Shield Previews Rd 14
Wentworthville Magpies head into round 14 as the new competition leaders of the Sydney Shield, in what is an unbelievable feat considering they have played one less game than every other top-eight side.
The top eight is extremely congested with two competition points separating second-placed Windsor and eighth-placed Cabramatta.
Blacktown Workers are sitting in sixth position but are only one competition point away from the top four.
They will come up against the competition front-running Magpies this Saturday at H.E. Laybutt Sporting Complex.
The Workers have been part of some high-scoring encounters in recent times and that style of play certainly conflicts with the outstanding defensive record of the Magpies.
“Defensively we need a massive focus,” Workers coach Leon Latulipe said. “We haven’t been able to play for 80 minutes; we’ve only been playing 60 minutes of footy.
“I think that is evident in previous games we have played. We have leaked a couple of tries at the back end of the game.”
Latulipe understands the challenge in front of his side and believes they will need to be mentally tough to overcome the competition leaders this weekend.
“It comes down to mental toughness,” Latulipe said. “If we can focus on our mental toughness I think offensively and defensively we will be okay.
“[Wentworthville] have won their last few games quite convincingly. I think [Wentworthville coach] Alex Chan has done a really good job with his boys.
“To be able to knock off a good team like Wentworthville, I think the boys would be jubilant; it would push us further up the ladder.”
In the other Sydney Shield games this weekend, the third-placed Peninsula Seagulls will be looking to further secure their place in the top four with a win over last-placed Western Suburbs Magpies at Lake Park.
Windsor Wolves will be out to take first position on the ladder back after owning it for the entire season when they take on the Guildford Owls at McCredie Park.
Asquith Magpies will hope to further themselves away from the wrong end of the ladder when they play the eighth-placed Cabramatta Two Blues at Storey Park this Sunday.
Hills District Bulls are knocking on the door of a top-four spot as they sit in fifth place and they will be out to charge up the ladder when they take on the ninth-placed Belrose Eagles at Crestwood Oval this week.
The final game of the weekend will be the fourth-placed East Campbelltown Eagles playing Mounties at Waminda Oval, where both teams will be looking to get ahead of the pack in the extremely congested top eight.