There were just four games played in Round 21 of the Intrust Super Premiership NSW but it was not short of exciting contests, with three fixtures decided by just a single conversion. The Bears, Workers, Jets and Tigers all enjoyed the week off and it was left to the remaining sides to fight for two valuable competition points as we make our way towards the business end of the 2017 season.
Illawarra bounced back from a disappointing loss to the Panthers with a 34-32 victory over the Newcastle Knights. The Knights were clearly the better of the two teams throughout a majority of the contest as they enjoyed 58 per cent possession and scored six tries compared to Illawarra’s five, while also recording 300 more running metres and two more line-breaks.
The match was decided by a Jai Field penalty goal in the 79th minute, however they can thank the tireless defensive efforts of Sam Clune and Will Matthews, who pumped out 46 and 48 tackles respectively.
The Warriors were out to salvage some pride after a shock defeat to the Newtown Jets last weekend and responded with a hard-fought 32-22 victory over Mounties on Saturday afternoon. Both sides shared a fairly equal share of possession but the Warriors made the most of their opportunities as they completed at 81 per cent in comparison to the Mounties who completed at 71 per cent.
With 10 tries scored between them, they will be looking for a stronger defensive performance in Round 22 as they collectively missed 82 tackles while the Warriors conceded 11 penalties and will be undoubtedly looking for a more disciplined display.
The Wyong Roos put in two uncharacteristic performances with back-to-back losses in recent weeks, and all signs were leading to a third consecutive defeat only for two late tries giving them a remarkable two-point victory over an in-form Panthers outfit. Both teams were guilty of poor handling errors as they both completed at below 70 per cent, but their attacking displays were of similar nature as they recorded six line-breaks each.
The result was ultimately determined by the accuracy of their kicking with halfback Darren Nicholls converting just one from five; Panthers scored five tries to the Roos’ four, but Wyong’s Paul Momirovski finished the game with a perfect kicking record.
Round 21 finished at Ringrose Park with the Bulldogs fighting valiantly to post an incredible 30-28 victory over the Wentworthville Magpies. The Magpies dominated the middle-third as they ran for more than 1,500 metres, while the Bulldogs did themselves no favours by completing at 67 per cent following some clumsy handling errors.
Bulldogs hooker Craig Garvey finished the game with 41 tackles in just a 53-minute stint, while winger Tom Carr had his best game of the season after running for a round-high 242 metres. The hard-working Rhyse Martin finished the game with two tries, seven tackle breaks and 5/5 conversions.
View the full stats reports from each of the games below - and stay tuned for the Round 21 Team of the Week, to be released later today.