All the Round 7 action of the Intrust Super Premiership NSW gets underway on Thursday night at North Sydney Oval, as the Bears play host to the in-form Wyong Roos.
North Sydney Bears v Wyong Roos
North Sydney Oval, Thursday 13 April
After weeks of piling on the points against their opposition, the Bears were forced to slog it out in a defensive battle last weekend against the Bulldogs – proving they’re the real deal both in attack and without the ball in hand in 2017.
They’ll be asked plenty of questions in defence again this week, with the Wyong Roos having proven their attacking ability inside the competition’s opening six weeks.
Averaging 30 points scored per game, Wyong sit second only on the Intrust Super Premiership NSW ladder to the unbeaten NZ Warriors, who also average more than five tries upon every outing.
In a battle of the try-scorers, Christopher Centrone and Sitiveni Moceidreke will go head to head, with each intent on adding to their personal hauls of six and five tries to start the season, respectively.
Blacktown Workers Sea Eagles v Newcastle Knights
Lottoland, Saturday 15 April
Notching their first win under the Blacktown Workers Sea Eagles moniker last weekend, the eleventh-placed Sea Eagles return to Lottoland on Saturday with the hopes of building upon their Round 6 result over the 2016 Intrust Super Premiership NSW Premiers, Illawarra.
Arguably the form team of the past month, the Knights look set to push the Sea Eagles here in this one, buoyed by a last-start surprise win over a star-studded Penrith Panthers outfit in Round 6.
“We’re playing with plenty of confidence, there’s no reason why we can’t make it four in a row against the Sea Eagles,” Knights’ hard-man Pauli Pauli told NSWRL.com.au following the win over the Panthers.
Newcastle’s reversal in form comes on the back of three losses to start the season, before stringing together the same number of wins, heading into their Round 7 clash with Blacktown.
Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs v Wentworthville Magpies
Belmore Sports Ground, Saturday 15 April
Held to just six points last weekend in their loss to the Bears, the Bulldogs will be out to shore up their place in the top eight, when they meet the Wentworthville Magpies at Belmore.
Before a loss last weekend, the Bulldogs had strung together consecutive wins over Blacktown and Penrith, and they will be out to rediscover the form that had them spoken of in the same terms as the genuine competition heavyweights.
Wentworthville meanwhile sit near the bottom of the Intrust Super Premiership NSW ladder after six rounds, having scored just one win thus far into the season.
Resuming off a last-start thumping at the hands of Wyong, the Magpies will need to be defensively better against the Bulldogs, with their figures reading an average conceit of 28 points per game.
Mounties RLFC v NZ Warriors
Aubrey Keech Reserve, Saturday 15 April
Perhaps the game of the round, an all-top four encounter sees the Warriors travel to the southwest of Sydney to take on the Mounties at Aubrey Keech Reserve.
Still unbeaten to start the season, the Warriors sit pretty at the top of the Intrust Super Premiership NSW ladder, with six wins from as many starts and the best points differential of the twelve teams.
Mounties meanwhile have just suffered one loss this season and will be geared up to show their Premiership credentials here against the competition front-runners.
Mounties were made to work for their win last weekend against the ever-improving Wests Tigers, their class shone through, and they’ll be hoping for much of the same this weekend.
Wests Tigers v Illawarra RLFC
Campbelltown Sports Stadium, Saturday 15 April
Edging the Bears in Round 5 for what was their first win of the campaign, the Wests Tigers very nearly had another big scalp to their name last weekend, narrowly falling to the Mounties in a tight affair at Leichhardt.
Again, at home though a change of venue for the Tigers, David Heath will be hoping his men show much of the same as they haven’t in recent weeks, as an out-of-sorts Illawarra outfit head to Campbelltown on Saturday.
Illawarra have seen the perils of carrying the Premiers tag to start the season, winning just two of their opening six matches in their title defence.
The Tigers sit last of the twelve teams, though that means little in this contest, which looks set to be another hard slog for these teams.
Penrith Panthers v Newtown Jets
Pepper Stadium, Sunday 16 April
Rounding out the weekend’s play, the Panthers host the Jets at Pepper Stadium in what is bordering on a must-win game for the Jets, in looking to consolidate their credentials as a genuine title force.
Competing hard against the Warriors last weekend, the Newtown side fell short in the second period, with the league-leading New Zealanders stamping their authority to consign the Jets to consecutive losses.
The Panthers themselves will be out to prove last weekend’s loss to the Knights was a one-off lapse, after the star-studded Penrith outfit boasting a trio of NRL regulars, fell shy to a willing Newcastle side at St Marys.
Garth Brennan’s men will be out to find the form that he knows they are capable of, and while lesser the likes of Matt Moylan this weekend, will be confident of doing so against an up-and-down Jets team.