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Warriors v Blacktown Workers Sea Eagles
Mt Smart Stadium
Saturday, 14 April 12.45pm AEST/2.45pm NZST
Broadcast live on FOX LEAGUE (AUS) and SKY Sport NZ

Humiliated by ladder leaders the Western Suburbs Magpies last Saturday, the Warriors return to a much more comfortable setting to take on the Blacktown Workers Sea Eagles – just their second home game of 2018.

Playing in the lead-up to the Warriors’ NRL clash with the Broncos, John Teina should have a full squad at his disposal for the lower-grade match, while the Sea Eagles will likely be without a number of top-tier players preparing for Sunday’s NRL match at Lottoland. Missing NRL squad players Lewis Brown and Jack Gosiewski last week, second-rower Tyler Cassel knows the effect their absence can have – evidenced by a shock 28-12 loss to Wentworthville.

“Lewis Brown’s obviously played a lot of first grade and international (Rugby League) – he brings a lot of professionalism around the boys, and Jack (Gosiewski), he does lead us forward so it is a definitely big loss,” Cassel told after the loss. “But there are a lot of boys in this club that can do the exact same.

“Some of the boys out of Blacktown have just got to step up next week and prove a point.”

It’s now two straight losses for the Sea Eagles, who had led the competition after three rounds, while the Warriors’ poor 32-0 loss is sure to bring a big response in Round 6. The inclusion of Moses Suli for a second week could help the visitors, while fellow young guns Hayze Perham and Chanel Harris-Tavita will look to bounce back to form for the home side.

North Sydney Bears v Western Suburbs Magpies
North Sydney Oval
Saturday, 14 April 1pm
Broadcast live on Channel 9

If the Frank Hyde Shield rivalry between Newtown and North Sydney is the biggest in the Intrust Super Premiership, this has the capacity to be second.

As one of the NSWRL’s foundation clubs returned to its most elite competition in 2018, so did another long-time rivalry – one which, since 1908, has been among the most even in Rugby League history. After 186 first grade matches between the two clubs, the ledger is perfectly squared with 89 wins apiece and eight draws – and while that record is unlikely to ever be changed at the top level, it makes for an interesting clash in the Intrust Super Premiership.

Western Suburbs’ return has also brought with it the introduction of a new trophy: the Jason Taylor Cup, honouring the former Magpie and Bear who scored almost 2,000 points between the two clubs. The silverware will be contested on an aggregate score over two regular-season games, with the teams next meeting in Round 14 at Campbelltown Sports Stadium.

Saturday’s game is an especially big one for the Bears, as North Sydney Oval sees its first Intrust Super Premiership game for 2018 and the club celebrates its past greats. The Old Bears Association will be in attendance as the current group take the field, seeking just their second win of the season against a high-flying Magpies outfit.

The first-placed Western Suburbs side will be led by Josh Drinkwater, Tyson Gamble and Round 6 inclusion Tui Lolohea, who replaces the NRL-bound David Nofoaluma in Brett Hodgson’s side. The Bears, however, will need to find an extra source of points if Robbie Farah does not play; the hooker was outstanding in leading the Bears to a maiden win in Round 5, but has not been named by coach Shane Millard this week.

Newcastle Knights v Newtown Jets
Cessnock Sports Ground
Saturday, 14 April 3pm

As the Newcastle Knights desperately look to kick their season into gear and get their second win of 2018, they play host to a Newtown Jets side which has been inconsistent this season, but does not seem too far off hitting peak form. The Knights, disappointing in their last-start 28-10 loss to the North Sydney Bears, meet the Jets who will also be coming off a Round 5 defeat.

It’s not about Newcastle, we just need to tidy up what we’re doing.

Greg Matterson

Newtown coach Greg Matterson, who also revealed he’s nearing the end of his long-lasting career, has long seen the challenge of the M1 road trip.

“When you’ve got to travel it’s always tough, a couple of hours bus trip up there and you’ve got to be really motivated,” Matterson told “It’s not about Newcastle, we just need to tidy up what we’re doing and build more pressure in the footy games.

“All footy games are won by controlling the footy and you see it with the NRL teams as well, it’s nothing different in the lower grades. If you haven’t got the footy you can’t win the game.”

Possession will clearly be Newtown’s focus in this game, while Newcastle will need to improve on the 40 missed tackles registered last week. The Jets will be without long-time prop Kurt Dillon, who makes his NRL debut and for the second-straight week, and the Knights can no longer rely on the services of Test hooker Danny Levi.

St George Illawarra Dragons v Wyong Roos
WIN Stadium
Saturday, 14 April 3pm

It took a few weeks, but the Dragons are finally beginning to show their premiership credentials – while their Round 6 opponents have struggled to replicate their 2017 dominance.

Now on a three-game winning streak, the Dragons have hit form and have quickly risen into the Intrust Super Premiership top four. The Roos, meanwhile, have been patchy at best; they’ve won two of their first five games, but both came by a single point in less-than-convincing fashion.

An interesting development in the Roos’ line-up is the placement of long-term No.9 Mitch Williams to the bench, while experienced NRL hooker Kurt Baptiste earns the starting role for the second consecutive week. Wyong will need a big change of fortunes if they’re to take down the Dragons on their home turf.

Penrith Panthers v Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 
Panthers Stadium
Sunday, 15 April 11.45am
Broadcast live on FOX LEAGUE

This could be the match of the round, pitting Guy Missio’s fifth-placed Panthers against Steve Georgallis’ third-placed Bulldogs. Last year’s champions Penrith were humbled by Newtown a fortnight ago, but bounced back to trounce Mounties last week.

The Bulldogs, meanwhile, have not lost a game since their Round 1 defeat at the hands of the Western Suburbs Magpies. If the Panthers can control the Bulldogs’ halves, Josh Cleeland and Matt Frawley, they’ll go close to winning in the curtain-raiser to their NRL clash with the Titans.

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