PREVIEWS | Intrust Super Premiership Rd 4
Blacktown Workers Sea Eagles v Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs
Lottoland, Saturday 25 March
Sitting near bottom without a win three games into the Intrust Super Premiership NSW season, Blacktown will be out to atone for a last-start thumping at the hands of the Wentworthville Magpies.
The 44-point loss at Ringrose Park last Sunday serves as inspiration to the Blacktown side, who – despite struggling to date – will fancy their chances of downing a Bulldogs side also chasing a first win of the campaign.
Canterbury’s Brad Abbey and Marcelo Montoya will again line up for the club’s NRL side, their absence clear last weekend, both with and without the ball in hand.
The Sea Eagles’ Shaun Lane is expected to turn out for Blacktown on Saturday, having featured in Manly’s NRL win over the North Queensland Cowboys in Townsville last weekend.
Illawarra v Warriors
WIN Stadium, Saturday 25 March
Recording back-to-back wins in Wollongong in Rounds 2 and 3, Illawarra meet their toughest test of the season to date, as competition leaders the Warriors venture to WIN Stadium on Saturday.
Illawarra made light work of Newtown in tough conditions last weekend, while the Warriors put paid to the Wests Tigers at Campbelltown.
Averaging more than 40 points per game, the first-placed Warriors are set to ask plenty of questions of the Illawarra defence, which – their Round 1 efforts aside – has proven to be up to the task.
Illawarra prodigy Jai Field looks set to miss the Warriors clash, tweaking a hamstring injury in the last-start win over Newtown.
“Whenever there’s an opportunity, he definitely grabs it with both hands. He showed what he can do for us, running the length to get us back into the game,” said Illawarra halfback Shaun Nona of Field following the 19-year-old’s stunning try against the Jets.
Newcastle Knights v Wentworthville Magpies
Lyall Peacock Oval, Saturday 25 March
Three losses from as many outings in 2017 has the Newcastle Knights as hungry as ever to claim the two competition points against Wentworthville this weekend.
Falling to the Bears last weekend, the Knights were narrowly pipped by Wyong in Round 2, and will take confidence out of strong performances in the pursuit of results, better still.
Wentworthville meanwhile scored their first success of the season – and in fine style – piling on the points against Blacktown at home in Round 3.
Half Jamal Fogarty bagged 20 of his side’s 52 points against the Sea Eagles, scoring a try and booting eight from nine conversions.
“We’ve had a rough start for the first two rounds – that’s on the back of our own performances – but we clicked into gear and the results showed,” said Fogarty of the Magpies’ win over Blacktown.
Wests Tigers v Newtown Jets
Campbelltown Sports Stadium, Saturday 25 March
On the wrong end of two scores-to-nil inside three rounds has the Tigers languishing at the foot of the Intrust Super Premiership NSW ladder – with form suggesting they’re set for another tough afternoon at the office as Newtown head west in Round 4.
Shut-out by the Warriors last weekend, the Tigers were also held scoreless by Wyong in week one, with a 40-point loss to Penrith between capping a forgettable first three rounds for David Heath’s side.
Newtown meanwhile head to Campbelltown on the back of successive losses, falling to competition heavyweights Mounties and Illawarra respectively.
“The game was there to be won until late on in that second half. We just didn’t make the most of our opportunities,” said halfback Nu Brown of the loss to Illawarra.
Cronulla Sharks’ recruit James Segeyaro could see minutes for Newtown, if not selected by Shane Flanagan for the NRL premiers’ clash with the Parramatta Eels on Saturday night.
Mounties v North Sydney Bears
Aubrey Keech Reserve, Saturday 25 March
Squaring off with Penrith in Round 3, Mounties ensured their unbeaten start to the year continued, and they’ll be out to keep their unblemished record intact when meeting North Sydney on Saturday afternoon.
The Bears themselves remain undefeated to start 2017 also, stringing together wins over Wentworthville, Blacktown and Newcastle inside the opening three weeks of the season.
Competition-leading try scorer Sitiveni Moceidreke will drop out of the North Sydney backline after making his NRL debut for South Sydney against the Sydney Roosters on Thursday night.
The imposing winger crossed for a try in his maiden first grade outing, backing up the four he scored for the Bears in Round 3.
Penrith Panthers v Wyong Roos
Pepper Stadium, Saturday 25 March
One of the remaining undefeated teams after three rounds, Wyong look set for their most difficult assessment yet, travelling to Pepper Stadium to face the Panthers of Penrith in Round 4.
Wyong edged the Bulldogs at Morrie Breen Oval last weekend, backing up their successes over the Tigers and Knights to ensure their perfect start to the season remained.
At Aubrey Keech Reserve, Penrith suffered their first loss of 2017 at the hands of Mounties, going down 16-6 in trying conditions.
Garth Brennan’s men will be placing an added emphasis on handling this weekend, having let slip chances in wet conditions last Saturday.