It was another exciting weekend of Intrust Super Premiership NSW action as all 12 teams took the field and fought for two valuable competition points. The North Sydney Bears and Penrith Panthers kicked off Round 17 on Friday night with the Panthers eventually holding on to win 17-10. The Roos further stamped their authority as the team to beat this year with a thumping 48-14 victory over the Newtown Jets, while the Bulldogs recorded a remarkable come from behind win over the New Zealand Warriors on Saturday afternoon. The Knights recorded back-to-back victories as they dominated Wests Tigers 46-18, while illawarra returned to form with a win over the Mounties and the Workers winning streak was cut short with a 16-8 loss to the Magpies.
The opening game of the round at North Sydney Oval saw the Panthers reap the rewards in the closing stages despite the committed Bears defence proving too strong throughout the contest Although a tug of war battle, the Panthers dominated through the middle third with 1613 running metres compared to the Bears 1333 total metres gained. Despite the victory, they will be looking for a more disciplined showing against the Blacktown Workers this weekend after conceding 14 penalties and having Viliame Kikau sin-binned twice.
NSW Residents lock-forward Cheyne Whitelaw has continued to impress for his side throughout 2017, busting out a round-high 62 tackles in a gutsy 70 minute performance.
The Wyong Roos dominated a struggling Newtown Jets outfit on Saturday afternoon, and despite sharing 50% possession they were able to take advantage of their chances with an eight try performance - an impressive feat considering they completed at just 67%. The Jets will be happy with their 87% completion rate, but will be looking to improve quickly to keep their finals hopes alive.
The Bulldogs were trailing the Warriors for a majority of the game , but that was until classy five-eighth Josh Cleeland delivered a crucial blow with a try in the final two minutes. The scoreboard reflected the even contest, with both sides completing at over 80% and each running for 1400 metres, but the eventual pressure came through the short kicking game of Cleeland and Lachlan Lewis who forced 3 line drop outs.
Rod Griffin also played a starring role in the Bulldogs win, running for round-high 242 metres and amassing 37 tackles in a brilliant individual performance.
One of the most dominating games of the weekend saw the Knights delivering a clinical performance against the last-placed Wests Tigers. The return of Brock Lamb certainly helped their cause as they crossed for eight tries and recorded 9 line breaks, with the Tigers unable to withstand their powerful display after and completed at just 67% and missed 30 tackles.
The Blacktown Workers Sea Eagles were enjoying considerable success in recent weeks with two straight victories, but were unable to continue their good run of form against the Magpies. They had 55% of possession but couldn’t execute their attacking raids - making 14 errors and completing at 67%. Despite making 100 more metres than the Tigers, which was largely thanks to Villami Kaveinga (202) and Peter Schuster (150), their defence continued to break with 40 missed tackles eventuating to four tries conceded.
Illawarra bounced back to form this weekend with an impressive 24-10 win over the Mounties. Both sides ran for over 1500 metres, but with Illawarra maintaining 53% possession and winning the battle for field position won with their kick metres (607), they were able to streak away with their first win since Round 13.
Jacob Hind, Tyrone McCarthy and Luciano Leila lead Illawarra’s forward pack after contributing 400 metres and 100 tackles collectively, while the back five of the Mounties worked tirelessly with the ball in hand and ran for 41% of their teams total metres gained.