Heading into the second-half of the season, sides across the Intrust Super Premiership NSW will be looking to shore up their finals hopes, with plenty to play for again here in Round 14 of the competition.
Penrith Panthers v Mounties
Pepper Stadium, Saturday 10 June
Broadcast LIVE on Fox League, 502
The Penrith Panthers return to Pepper Stadium on the back of a last-start loss to the Bulldogs at ANZ Stadium in Round 13.
A scrappy clash that was, Garth Brennan’s men will be out to rediscover their attacking best in this match – albeit minus livewire fullback Dylan Edwards, who again will play in the NRL.
Mounties meanwhile got the better of the Blacktown Workers Sea Eagles in a points-fest at Lottoland last weekend, eventually edging the hosts 44-30 in a 13-try affair.
In a battle of sixth-plays-third respectively, the match will be a good one to gauge the title hopes of the sides.
Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs v Illawarra
Belmore Sports Ground, Saturday 10 June
Broadcast LIVE on SteeleSports.com.au
Resuming after a gritty, grinding win in Round 13, the Bulldogs will be looking to put behind them an up-and-down start to the season, hopeful of scoring consecutive wins over Illawarra.
The Bulldogs have two wins, two losses record at Belmore this season – the statistic alone an indication of how the side has fared across the season, at large.
Sitting inside the all-important top four, defending premiers Illawarra can stamp their authority on the competition with a strong performance in this clash.
Newcastle Knights v Newtown Jets
Cessnock Sports Ground, Saturday 10 June
It’s ninth-plays-eighth at Cessnock on Saturday, with the Knights out to better their last-start draw with the Warriors in the Hunter last weekend.
Overturning an early deficit, a Trent Hodkinson-inspired Knights outfit rallied to put the pressure on the competition heavyweights, though their efforts were somewhat in vain as the Warriors crossed for a late try to level the scores.
Ironically, the Jets also were held to a sole point in their last outing against the Bulldogs, with the sides locked at 26-apiece come the sound of the final siren.
Prior to that, the Jets had lost four-consecutive matches, and they too will be out to find two competition points in what shapes as a must-win game for sides at the cusp of the top 8.
Wests Tigers v Wyong Roos
Campbelltown Sports Stadium, Sunday 11 June
It’s the mismatch of the round as the first-placed Roos travel to Campbelltown to take on the 12th-placed Wests Tigers on Sunday.
Wyong held the Tigers to zero when the sides met in Round 1, running in 42 points of their own in what was a one-way showing at Morry Breen to start the season.
If anything, the Roos have only improved in their efforts since that day, and again looked well-placed to score a big win in this match-up.
The Tigers – having shown some resistance in Rounds 6-9 inclusive – sit slumped at the bottom of the Intrust Super Premiership NSW ladder, having not tasted success since their win over the Knights back in April.
The Tigers’ form at Campbelltown this season has been far from ideal, on the wrong end of an aggregate scoreline 114-36 across three matches there this season (vs Penrith, Warriors and Newtown).
Blacktown Workers Sea Eagles v Warriors
H E Laybutt Fields, Sunday 11 June
Broadcast LIVE on Hawkesbury Radio 89.9 FM
In another ‘top plays bottom’ affair, the second-placed Warriors head to H E Laybutt to take on the 11th-placed Blacktown Workers Sea Eagles on Sunday.
The Warriors – with three draws to their name inside the first-half of the season – trumped Blacktown when the sides met in Round 5, in what was their fifth-consecutive win to start the season.
Resuming off a last-start draw with the Knights, the Warriors will be out to rediscover the form that had them atop the Intrust Super Premiership NSW ladder after eight rounds played.
Blacktown showed signs of their best despite falling 44-30 to the Mounties last weekend, and prior, had scored a surprise win over the North Sydney bears in their Round 11 outing.
While Blacktown will be far from easy-beats in this clash, look for the Warriors to assert their competition credentials with a strong performance in Sydney’s west.
North Sydney Bears v Wentworthville Magpies
North Sydney Oval, Sunday 11 June
Broadcast LIVE on Triple H 100.1 FM
Rounding out the weekend’s play, the North Sydney Bears will be out to turn around a surprisingly poor record at North Sydney Oval this season, when playing host to the Wentworthville Magpies on Sunday.
Having lost all four of their matches at the venue this season, Ben Gardner’s men will have to reverse the trend – and quickly – to keep pace with the competition’s top 4.
The Magpies head into the match on the back of three-straight losses, the last of which was a disappointing result against the Roos, having run in four tries to shoot out to an early lead.
North Sydney and Wentworthville met in Round 1 of the competition, with the Bears edging the Magpies 32 points to 24 at Ringrose Park.