PREVIEWS | Intrust Super Premiership NSW Rd 15

North Sydney Bears (5th) v Wests Tigers (7th)
North Sydney Oval, Sunday 18 June
3pm
Broadcast LIVE on SteeleSports.com.au

The North Sydney Bears are coming off a fantastic win over the then competition front-running Mounties last weekend, and are eager to continue that form into their clash against the Wests Tigers on Saturday.

It is “family fun day” at North Sydney Oval this weekend, and Bears’ coach Ben Gardiner urged all black-and-red fans to come down and enjoy the day, where various South Sydney Rabbitohs players will be there to meet and greet fans.

“One of the things that we started to do last year was we started to understand we needed to do more on game day to try and get some more people to come through the gates to watch live,” Gardiner told NSWRL.com.au.

“We know we’ve got a lot of fans out there through the Bears and South Sydney, so being able to put these family fun days on and activities of the like really helps us get some people through the gates.

“When the players have that those extra supporters in the crowd wearing the red and black, it just gives the players a little extra boost that could be the difference between winning the losing on the day.”

The Wests Tigers have dealt with major personnel changes in the past few weeks, with Josh Drinkwater moving to England and Asipeli Fine signing with the Bulldogs.

Gardiner envisions a Tigers side full of youth and enthusiasm, and predicts a high-energy contest come Saturday.

“They’ve got some young players coming in, which will be a real boost for their energy and enthusiasm that comes to the side,” Gardiner said.

“Like most weeks we pride our game on high energy and high enthusiasm ourselves so I think the side that can put the most energy into the game is probably going to come out on top.

“It’s going to be a challenge for us because they’ve gone through those changes, they’ve bought in a few kids from the under-20s that are really good players and future NRL players.”

The Bears currently sit in fifth position on the ladder, and their win over Mounties last week will almost certainly do wonders for their confidence.

“It was one of the first games where we had really low errors in the first half, and I think the possession we had in the first half and the fact we had less errors probably set the game up for us,” Gardiner said.

“Two quality sides in an NRL quality game I thought, but it just comes down to how well you hold the ball and execute your plays.”

 

Newtown Jets (3rd) v New Zealand Warriors (1st)
Henson Park, Sunday 18 June
3pm
Broadcast LIVE on SteeleSports.com.au

The match of the round will be shown at Henson Park this Saturday as the table-topping New Zealand Warriors take on the Newtown Jets. The Warriors have won seven matches in a row, and are coming off a highly exciting 34-32 victory over Newcastle last week.

Newtown, meanwhile, are also in scintillating form, and are coming off a massive 54-6 thrashing of Wentworthville last weekend. Travis Robinson and Jordan Drew each picked up hat-tricks, and are refreshed after having played only one game in almost a month thanks to a bye and the wet weather.

 

Manly Sea Eagles (11th) v Mounties (2nd)
Brookvale Oval, Sunday 18 June
3pm
The Sea Eagles went down to Penrith 24-6 last week, but the score-line does not reflect the tight contest, and the Manly side will certainly take some of that confidence into Penrith. They have only won three matches this year, however, and one may think this is a must-win game this weekend in a bid to re-ignite their season.

Mounties - along with the New Zealand Warriors - have been the form side of the competition, but are coming off a defeat at the hands of North Sydney. They were missing Mitch Barnett, who has signed with Newcastle, and it will be interesting to see how they go without him.

 

Penrith Panthers (6th) v Newcastle Knights (12th)
Pepper Stadium, Sunday 18 June
3pm
The Panthers have had a shaky, but positive start to the year having won six matches, lost six matches, and are sitting in sixth position. They are in-form however; having won three matches in a row, and will pose a huge test for the struggling Knights.

The Knights have only won the single game this year, as most of their players are filling gaps in their also struggling NRL side. It has been a tough season for the reigning premiers, but they can take a lot of confidence out of their two-point defeat to the Warriors last week, as it was a match where the Knights fought hard for certain periods of the game.

 

Illawarra Cutters (4th) v Wentworthville Magpies (9th)
Henson Park, Sunday 18 June
5:10pm
Broadcast LIVE on Fox Sports 501 

The Cutters have had a very strong start to the year, as they sit inside the top four and are coming off a large win over the Wests Tigers last weekend. The addition of Shaun Nona has been fantastic for the Cutters, and their ever-reliable front-rower, Shannon Wakeman, recently celebrated his 100th match for the club.

Wentworthville were flying at the start of the season, but the whole Parramatta Eels salary cap fiasco, mixed with their coach, Joe Grima, stepping down from the role recently had caused a horror run of form. Ex-Parramatta legend, Nathan Cayless, has taken over as coach, and will be hoping to use his 259 matches of experience to re-ignite their season.