PREVIEWS | ISP NSW Round 20
Penrith Panthers v Illawarra
Pepper Stadium, Saturday 22 July
Impressive in their last-start win over the Wests Tigers, the Penrith Panthers play host to Illawarra in the opening match of Round 20.
Running in nine-tries-to-one against the Tigers, Garth Brennan’s men will be hopeful of continuing in the same vein of form that was on show at St Mary’s last weekend.
The Panthers and Illawarra have met once already this season – in Round 1 – with Penrith scoring a one-sided, 28-6 win in dour conditions at Kogarah.
Illawarra meanwhile head into the clash with the Panthers on the back of a defeat at the hands of the Warriors in Auckland.
Outplayed in nearly every facet of the game in Auckland, the 2016 Premiers will need to find their best if they are to reverse their fortunes of Round 19.
Wyong Roos v Mounties
Morry Breen Reserve, Saturday 22 July
Sitting out Round 19 with a bye, competition front-runners the Wyong Roos will be confident of asserting their Premiership credentials when Mounties travel up the M1 this weekend.
Though, Rip Taylor’s side will have to turn around the effort that they showed in their last outing, downed convincingly by the Bears in Round 18.
Mounties fell afoul of the referee’s whistle in the dying stages last weekend, up by two – though on the wrong end of a penalty call – to be forced to settle for a draw with the Bears at North Sydney.
The Roos and Mounties last met in Round 12, with Wyong edging Mounties by two points at Aubrey Keech Reserve.
Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs v Blacktown Workers Sea Eagles
Belmore Sports Ground, Saturday 22 July
Their run of seven-unbeaten matches came to an end with a loss to the Knights in Round 18, though the Bulldogs will have their sights set on a return to the winners’ circle as Blacktown head to Belmore on Saturday.
Watching on in Round 19 with a bye to their name, the Bulldogs sit fourth on the Intrust Super Premiership NSW ladder, a win in this clash to shore up their hopes of a second-chance final at the year’s end.
Impressing with their efforts in recent times, the Blacktown Workers fell short of downing the Knights in Newcastle last weekend, despite racing out of the blocks.
Aspiring to find an 80-minute effort, Blacktown will fancy their chances of causing an ‘upset’ of sorts in this one – expect a tight finish.
Newtown Jets v Warriors
Henson Park, Saturday 22 July
Henson Park will turn it on once more at its annual ‘festival of footy’ at the weekend, with locals and travelers alike set to flock to the historical ground as the Jets play host to the Warriors.
In a milestone match for Kurt Kara, the Newtown utility will bring up Intrust Super Premiership NSW (Formerly NSW Cup) game 150 – the first in the club’s history at that level.
The Jets’ form this season has been up-and-down, though off the bye, they’ll be fit and fresh to take on the brunt of the Warriors’ pack.
The NZ outfit scored an eye-catching win over Illawarra last weekend, and will bring confidence earned in that effort into the clash with the Jets.
Wentworthville Magpies v Wests Tigers
Ringrose Park, Sunday 23 July
Watching on last weekend with the bye, Wentworthville resume their Intrust Super Premiership finals push in their clash with the Wests Tigers on Sunday.
The Tigers head into the match on the back of a disappointing result in Round 18, put to the sword by a ruthless Penrith outfit at St Marys Leagues Stadium last weekend.
In a match vital to the Magpies’ hopes of playing football at the ‘business’ end of the season, Wentworthville will be primed for the Tigers’ visit – set to aim up in both attack and defence in the hope of securing a precious two points.
North Sydney Bears v Newcastle Knights
North Sydney Oval, Sunday 23 July
Rounding out the weekend’s play, North Sydney host Newcastle at North Sydney Oval.
Arguably the form team of the competition, Newcastle head into the clash with the Bears with four-straight wins to their name.
The Bears meanwhile plucked a draw for the jaws of defeat in their Round 18 clash with the Mounties – and 80th minute penalty goal salvaging a sole competition point - and one that may prove vital at the year’s end.