Wests Tigers v Wentworthville Magpies
Campbelltown Stadium, Saturday 13 August
Referee: Ryan Jackson
Touch Judges: Jay Farlow, Jimmy Oliveira
Broadcast LIVE on Fox Sports 501
A Wests Tigers team stacked with NRL experience aim to maintain their top four position when they host the Wentworthville Magpies at Campbelltown Stadium.
Robbie Farah has been named at hooker for the side, while the likes of Curtis Sironen, Josh Addo-Carr, Michael Chee Kam, Justin Hunt and Manaia Cherrington will line-up alongside him tomorrow afternoon.
The Magpies are currently sitting in ninth position, making the two-points on offer ever so important for the side, something that Tigers coach, Paul Stringer, is wary about.
“I know [Wentworthville] have been on a pretty good winning streak since an old teammate of mine, Nathan Cayless, has taken over,” Stringer tells NSWRL.com.au.
“I think he’s had some joy with it at the moment they’ve got some players back from injuries I see and they were struggling there with injuries for a while so they’ve got a bit of a roll on.”
The Wests Tigers are enjoying some long-awaited success in not only the Intrust Super Premiership NSW, but the NRL and NYC competitions as well.
It’s something Stringer is proud of, and he is looking to emulate the recent success in the lead-up to the all important finals series.
“We had three grades win on the weekend it’d be great to do it again this weekend coming,” Stringer said.
“We had a look at them towards the end of the week, we need to be on our game.”
The match will be the curtain raiser to the Sydney return of Jarryd Hayne, when the Wests Tigers NRL team take on the Gold Coast Titans at 3pm.
Newcastle Knights v Manly Warringah Sea Eagles
Cessnock Sports Ground, Saturday 13 August
Referee: Jeff Hartup
Touch Judges: Benjamin Teague, Feras Karem
The two teams sitting at the bottom of the Intrust Super Premiership NSW ladder will face off this Saturday at Cessnock Sports Ground.
Both teams are out of finals contention after making the finals last season, with the Knights taking out the premiership.
The Knights have club-wide personnel issues that have resulted in only a single victory this year, while the Sea Eagles have put in some strong performances throughout the year, but only five of those have resulted in victories.
Therefore, this match will be played for pride, as both clubs will shift focus to a happier 2017 season.
Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs v New Zealand Warriors
Belmore Sports Ground, Saturday 13 August
Referee: Tim Roby
Touch Judges: Damian Simes, Faye Lehane
The Canterbury Bulldogs come up against the Warriors at Belmore Sports Ground this weekend in what is by far their most important game of the season so far.
A loss for the Bulldogs will all but end their season, as they currently sit in tenth position on the ladder, which is three competition points away from the top eight.
In-form guns Brad Abbey, Kerrod Holland, Tyrone Phillips, Craig Garvey, Lloyd Perrett and Asipeli Fine will line up for the home-side, hoping to continue their late-season surge to a finals position.
The Warriors, on the other hand, are sitting in the third position on 30 competition points, but a congested ladder means a loss can knock them all the way down to fifth.
Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad has been in great form for the Warriors, and he, along with the exciting halves pairing of Mason Lino and Ata Hingano will prove to be a tough test for the desperate Bulldogs outfit,
Mounties v Newtown Jets
Aubrey Keech Reserve, Saturday 13 August
Referee: Damian Briscoe
Touch Judges: Mitchell Stone, Mathew Damaso
Broadcast LIVE on SteeleSports.com.au
Mounties are leading a one-horse race to the minor premiership, being six competition points clear of second with only three games to play.
Therefore, a win against Newtown will seal the minor premiership, which will be thoroughly deserved after being the best team in the 2016 Intrust Super Premiership NSW competition thus far.
The back-row depth of the Canberra Raiders has certainly benefited Steve Antonelli’s men, being able to play VB Country representatives such as Paul Vaughan in recent weeks, and continuing with 139-game veteran, Shaun Fensom, this week against Newtown.
The Jets are just one competition point shy of the top four, and this match against the competition front-runners is the ultimate test leading into the finals.
Stacked with the talent of Jaline Graham, Josh Cleeland, Fa’amanu Brown, Jesse Sene-Lefao, Matt McIlwrick and Kurt Capewell in the starting side, it won’t just be the Jets who are tested at Aubrey Keech Reserve on Saturday.
Penrith Panthers v Wyong Roos
St Marys Leagues Stadium, Saturday 13 August
Referee: Daniel Olford
Touch Judges: John Woods, Richard Daizli
Four teams sit between sixth and ninth on 24 competition points, and two of those sides are the Penrith Panthers and Wyong Roos.
The congested mid-table puts a huge emphasis on the result of this match, with neither of the reigning top-four sides wanting to slip out of the top eight at this stage of the season.
The persistence of Bryce Cartwright at five-eighth means the Panthers will keep Te Maire Martin for another week, which is a massive boost to have such an exciting playmaker line-up in an important game.
The Roos have had a roller-coaster 2016, far from the usual consistent performances they have put forward on the park in recent seasons.
It is proven, however, that they have the personnel to do some serious damage in the competition, and are certainly a team that can win the premiership from anywhere in the top eight.
North Sydney Bears v Illawarra Cutters
North Sydney Oval, Sunday 14 August
Referee: Jon Stone
Touch Judges: Mark Bohan, Jimmy Oliveira
Sitting in eighth position, the result for the North Sydney Bears is vital this Sunday when they host the in-form Illawarra Cutters as North Sydney Oval.
Along with the previously mentioned Panthers and Roos, the Bears sit on 24 competition points, with the Magpies hot on their tail.
For a team that has next to zero NRL games to their name, they are certainly performing in the competition, and the match against the second-placed Cutters is a huge test for their finals hopes.
If Mounties lose their next three games, the Cutters can take the minor premiership, but given how unlikely that is, their aim will certainly be to remain in the top two by the end of Round 25.
Alike the Bears, they have team hot on their tail vying for second spot, which makes the contest this week all the more exciting.
Josh McCrone and Drew Hutchinson are the control-men for the Cutters side, while Eli Levido and Brad Deitz have been in scintillating form for the Bears in 2016.
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