PREVIEWS | ISP NSW Round 17
North Sydney Bears v Penrith Panthers
North Sydney Oval, Friday 30 June
The North Sydney Bears play host to the Panthers in the opening game of Round 17, looking to overturn a big defeat suffered at the hands of the Bulldogs last weekend.
Their home form a concern this season, the Bears will be hoping for a much-improved performance in their own backyard against a strong Penrith outfit.
Penrith will take plenty of confidence out of their Round 16, last-gasp win over the Warriors in NZ, a vital two points earned that saw them move up to third on the Intrust Super Premiership NSW ladder.
Wyong Roos v Newtown Jets
Central Coast Stadium
12:40pm, Saturday 1 July
League-leaders Wyong return to action against the Jets on Saturday, sitting out Round 16 with a Bye last weekend.
Tasting defeat on only one occasion this season, the Roos will back themselves of extending their margin atop the Intrust Super Premiership NSW ladder.
It’s been a disappointing season to date for the Newtown side who sit in 11th on the standings, above only the struggling Wests Tigers.
Coincidently, it was the Tigers who consigned the Jets to a loss in Round 16 – though not without late drama at Henson Park.
Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs v NZ Warriors
Belmore Sports Ground
3:00pm, Saturday 1 July
Up-and-down to start the season, the Bulldogs will be out to extend their unbeaten run to seven matches when taking on the travelling Warriors on Saturday.
Not since Round 9 have the Bulldogs walked away without at least a point, a run of four wins – interjected by a pair of draws – rocketing the side to within reach of the Intrust Super Premiership NSW top four.
One side well-entrenched in the top four, though, is the Warriors themselves – who got the better of the Bulldogs when the sides last met in Round 2.
The Warriors head into the clash with the Bulldogs having not won a match since Round 12, though remain second only to Wyong on the Intrust Super Premiership NSW ladder.
Newcastle Knights v Wests Tigers
Cessnock Sports Ground
4:30pm, Saturday 1 July
A convincing win over the defending premiers last Sunday has the Newcastle Knights buoyed ahead of their Round 17 clash with the Wests Tigers.
A dominant showing from the ‘spine’ saw three Knights selected in the Intrust Super Premiership NSW Team of the Week, perhaps no finer performer than fullback Nick Meaney.
Meaney’s four try assists against Illawarra set the Knights on their way to a good win, and an effort such as that will have the Tigers on notice in this clash.
The Tigers themselves had two members of their side earn a place in the Team of the Week, forward leader Alex Twal showing his wares in the side’s impressive – and surprise – win over the Jets in Round 16.
Mounties RLFC v Illawarra RLFC
5:15pm, Saturday 1 July
The 2016 Intrust Super Premiership NSW Grand Finalists go head-to-head in the last of Saturday’s fixtures, with both sides heading into the clash on the back of last-start losses.
Mounties fell unceremoniously to the Wentworthville Magpies away from home, while Illawarra – minus halfback Shaun Nona in the second-half – proved no match for a red-hot Knights outfit.
Illawarra got the better of Mounties when the pair last met in Round 8, running out eventual seven-tries-to-three victors in a commanding display.
That day, Illawarra winger Izaac Thompson bagged a treble of tries, and the big flyer will be hoping for much of the same after nabbing a double against the Knights last weekend.
Blacktown Workers Sea Eagles v Wentworthville Magpies
H E Laybutt
3:00pm, Sunday 2 July
Capping the weekend’s action, the Blacktown Workers Sea Eagles host the Wentworthville Magpies at H E Laybutt Oval in Sydney’s greater west.
Wentworthville head into the clash on the back of a last-start win over Mounties, running out 36-18 victors at Ringrose Park last weekend.
After an indifferent start to the season, the Workers Sea Eagles head into their Round 17 clash on the back of consecutive wins and a bye.
With the Workers Sea Eagles (tenth) and Magpies (ninth) jostling for a place in the Intrust Super Premiership NSW top 8, it’s set to be a hard-fought affair.
Earlier this season, Wentworthville scored a big 52-8 win over the Workers Sea Eagles.