North Sydney Bears v Illawarra
UOW Jubilee Oval, Saturday 12 August
North Sydney ‘host’ the reigning Intrust Super Premiership NSW premiers at UOW Jubilee Oval in Kogarah, coming off the back of a big last-start win over the Tigers in Round 22.
The hero last weekend, Tautalatasi Tasi crossed for five of the Bears’ tries, earning captaincy in the Intrust Super Premiership NSW Team of the Week in the process.
Tasi was one to five bears to feature in the merit team, a reflection of their dominant efforts against the struggling Tigers at Leichhardt.
Illawarra meanwhile sat out Round 22 with a bye, where prior to that, they edged the Knights by just two points in a thrilling clash at Newcastle.
Looking to shore up their place in the ISP NSW top eight, Illawarra will look to build upon their efforts in the hunter, though face a stern task in the Bears who themselves sit on the cusp of the competition’s top four.
Mounties v Newcastle Knights
Aubrey Keech Reserve, Saturday 12 August
Aubrey Keech Reserve in Sydney’s west will welcome Mounties and the Knights – two sides desperate for competition points – on Saturday afternoon.
In a battle of sixth versus ninth respectively, Mounties and Newcastle both head into the clash on the back of a bye in Round 21.
Newcastle upset the applecart with their 24-10 win over the then-high flying Mounties outfit, and will take confidence out of their Round 10 efforts into this match-up.
Though after four consecutive wins in Rounds 16 to 19 respectively, the Knights head into the clash against Mounties with back-to-back losses to their name.
Newtown Jets v Penrith Panthers
Henson Park, Saturday 12 August
A big loss at the hands of the Bulldogs in Round 22 all-but put an end to Newtown’s finals hopes, consigned to tenth on the ISP NSW competition ladder – four points adrift of the Knights, who sit in ninth.
It was a disappointing defeat at Belmore, the Jets outclassed in every facet of the game, not least defence as the Bulldogs ran more than 50 points.
The loss came on the back of a big win over the Warriors in Round 20, which makes their last-start efforts much the more disappointing given their do-or-die status – finals hopes which then hung in the balance now appear lost given other results in Round 22.
The Panthers meanwhile sat out Round 22 with a bye, following their heart-breaking loss to the Wyong Roos in Round 21 of the competition.
Leading by 10 points with under five minutes to play in Wyong, the Panthers surrendered a lead.
With a points-differential far superior to the Warriors who sit in second, a win for the Panthers – and a loss for the Auckland-based side in their clash with Wentworthville – would see the Penrith outfit leapfrog NZ into the top two.
Warriors v Wentworthville Magpies
Mt Smart Stadium, Sunday 13 August
Resting their bodies at Round 22’s bye, the Warriors take to Mt Smart Stadium to host the Wentworthville Magpies on Sunday.
Entrenched in the top two, the Warriors impressed in their last outing against Mounties in Round 21, running out 32-22 winners before heading into the two-week turnaround.
The Magpies also enjoyed a bye last weekend, regrouping after their tough-to-take two-point loss to the Bulldogs the week prior.
Before the loss at Belmore, Wentworthville had enjoyed a run of five-straight wins, which holds them in good stead inside the ISP NSW top eight.
Mt Smart Stadium has been a happy hunting ground for the Warriors in recent times, having won three of their last four clashes in Auckland.
Blacktown Workers Sea Eagles v Wests Tigers
HE Laybutt Fields, Sunday 13 August
Rounding out the weekend’s play, Blacktown host the Wests Tigers in a battle of 11th plays 12th at H E Laybutt fields.
Resuming after their shock win over competition leaders Wyong in Round 22, Blacktown will be buoyed by their efforts North of the Harbour Bridge, as they return to their own patch of turf to take on the Tigers here.
It’s been a different story for the Tigers of late, conceding more than forty points in each of their last four outings.
A concern that may be, so too is the side’s inability to find the try line – a points-differential of -328, -188 points worse off than their Round 23 opponents, Blacktown.
In what is tipped to be an all-out attacking affair, expect plenty of points in this one.