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Mounties v Wentworthville: Magpies look to swoop on Mounties

(GIO Stadium, Saturday June 20, 12:40pm)

Mounties will be looking to snap their poor run of form when they take on Wentworthville Magpies at GIO Stadium this Saturday.

An interesting statistic is that this game features the best attacking team in Mounties up against the worst attacking team in the Magpies.

The Magpies are coming off an excellent win against the Bulldogs and will take that confidence into Canberra.

“We’ve worked hard to improve [our] defence in the past six weeks,” says Magpies coach Brett Cook. “That showed last week, and it’s definitely a good confidence booster going into a tough game against Mounties.

“We just need to sharpen up our attack a little bit; we’re not where we need to be with our attack.”

While Mounties have no trouble scoring points, they do not have a flattering defensive record and their coach Steve Antonelli believes in order to turn their form around they will have to start with a good defensive performance this weekend.

“Defensively we need to be better,” says Antonelli. “It’s our big focus, and that will turn around a lot of things.

“Attack wise we have no trouble scoring tries; we just need to learn to defend our mistakes.”

It's always exciting to be playing at a ground like GIO Stadium with Mounties and the Magpies ready to take advantage of a fast track.

“Aubrey Keech [Reserve] isn’t what you’d call a modern ground, it’s a suburban park,” says Cook. “The boys will get a bit kick of playing on GIO Stadium.

“It wont be easy making the trip down there, but they’ll need to be able to get themselves up for an important game.”

Antonelli believes playing in Canberra is also a big advantage for their squad, and interestingly enough, the last time they played at GIO Stadium was also the last time they won.

“It’s only human nature; you play at a big stadium, you play in front of NRL, it always gets them up and ready for it,” says Antonelli.

Mounties will aim to use their powerful attacking structures to blow the Magpies off the park, especially if it is a dry surface at GIO stadium.

However, the Magpies will be determined for the victory with defence the priority in grinding out a physical and gritty 80-minute affair that will come down to the wire.


Manly v Wyong: Campbelltown Stadium hosts VB NSW Cup double header

(Campbelltown Stadium, Saturday June 20, 2:00pm)

It's a VB NSW Cup double header at Campbelltown Stadium this Saturday with the Manly Sea Eagles taking on the Wyong Roos before the Wests Tigers face the Newcastle Knights. 

The Sea Eagles will be looking to make it three wins in a row this weekend and continue their impressive recent form.

The fifth-placed Roos were demolished 28-0 by the Warriors last week and coach Rip Taylor is adamant the attitude from his players has to be significantly better if they want to beat the in-form Sea Eagles.

“It’s just that little word- attitude,” said Taylor. “If we turn up with the same bad attitude against Manly, who are travelling really well at the moment, the result will be the same.”

Sea Eagles coach Luke Williamson will be wary of the bounce-back factor but believes his side is constantly improving and therefore will be tough to beat.

“Things are taking shape,” Williamson says. “The boys are being consistent in what they’re trying to do and seeing the rewards for the effort they are putting in is pleasing as well.”

Two particular Sea Eagles players that have been in outstanding form are Jayden Hodges and Michael Chee Kam. Their performance this weekend will almost certainly have a massive influence on the game.

“It all starts from around the middle of the park,” says Taylor, “Especially with them [Hodges and Chee Kam]. They are quality footballers so they’ll feature in the tip sheet no doubt.”

Williamson also touched on those two players being leaders within the team on the field.

“All of our players, in particular those two, have been playing very well,” says Williamson. “That will certainly help our cause for this week; if [Hodges and Chee Kam] can lead and the rest can follow then hopefully we give ourselves a good chance.”

The Roos have proven throughout the 2015 season that they are a quality side and Williamson expects nothing less come Saturday saying: “Their form has been exceptional and they’ll be extremely difficult to beat.”

They will be looking to avenge last weeks’ embarrassing defeat and regain their top-four position, whilst the red-hot Sea Eagles outfit are knocking on the door of the top eight with a win.

It's set to be an intriguing contest with the Sea Eagles as the third-best attacking team in the competition taking on the Roos who are the third-best defensive team.


Wests Tigers v Newcastle: Both sides looking for 80-minute performance

(Campbelltown Stadium, Saturday 20 June, 4:00pm)

The Wests Tigers have been in incredibly frustrating form, giving up leads in their past four matches as they head into their Newcastle Knights clash this weekend.

The Knights on the other hand have managed one win from their past four games, but are an incredibly under-rated side with all but one of their losses by no more than a try.

Both sides are desperate for a win to turn their form around.

These two teams played each other in round 10, where the Tigers were 20-18 victors in a nail-biting game.

Knights coach Matt Lantry says they took enough out of that game to turn the tables this weekend and will focus on their own performance in order to combat a threatening Tigers side.

“We saw how they attacked and defended in that game against our shape,” said Lantry. “We’ll try and fine tune a few things. We’ll have a look at their last performance.

“Again, it’s a bit about us this weekend. We’ve only won one of our last four, so we’ll be looking for a win here.”

Tigers coach Paul Fletcher believes if they are any chance against the Knights, they will have to fix their attitude, particularly when it comes to making errors.

“I spoke to the boys last Saturday,” said Fletcher. “We’ve got to start really caring about the errors we make. We’re just not showing enough resilience when we make an error.

“We’ve just got to eliminate our errors and play it for 80 [minutes].”

Due to the Tigers' recent track record, Lantry believes it will be important to get a good start against a historically fast-starting side but stressed that they will not win if they do not put in an 80-minute performance.

“It’s important that you put big blocks together to ensure you have a good 80-minute consistent performance,” Lantry says.

“[Last time we played Tigers we] led 10-0 and before we knew it, it was 10-all, and just after halftime they scored two quick tries and really had most of the momentum for the second half.”

Both coaches are not thrilled with their sides win-to-loss ratio over the past month, especially as there is so much potential and talent within both lineups. They also stressed the importance of putting in a full 80-minute performance this week.

If both sides aim up for 80 minutes, then this game will be an absolute thriller.

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New South Wales Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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