PREVIEWS | ISP Rd 11
Mounties v Wentworthville Magpies
Saturday, 19 May 11am
The Mounties and Magpies will kick off Saturday's blockbuster triple-header at Henson Park with both sides looking to build on contrasting starts to their seasons.
The Mounties were stunned by a clinical Jets outfit last weekend and were unable to fight back from a 24-6 half-time deficit to post just their third loss of the season.
Despite remaining on top of the competition ladder, the Mounties will be desperate for a return to form this weekend through the likes of dynamo hooker Craig Garvey, who put in a spirited performance in a losing side with 48 tackles and a classy four-pointer.
They will face an in-form Magpies outfit brimming with confidence after posting their fourth win in five weeks – with a dominant 36-22 victory over a hapless Wyong Roos.
Expect another dominant performance from five-eighth Jaemon Salmon, with the crafty five-eighth inspiring his team with a hat-trick of tries in a man-of-the-match display.
St George Illawarra Dragons v Warriors
Saturday, 19 May 1pm
Broadcast live on Channel Nine and 9Now
The Dragons will be searching for their third consecutive victory when they take on a Warriors outfit who were kept scoreless in their 11-0 loss to the Western Suburbs Magpies last weekend.
The home side be looking to continue their strong burst of form after a Darren Nicholls field goal iced an enthralling comeback victory after trailing 18-6 at half-time on Saturday afternoon.
The addition of Nicholls in his first game back from injury was pivotal in steering his side to back-to-back victories and he will certainly be looking to build on his already lethal combination with Jai Field.
After two consecutive losses, the Warriors have suddenly lost touch with the top half of the competition ladder, with the added absence of Mason Lino proving costly as they were kept to nil against a committed Magpies outfit.
In a game that just saw two tries scored, the Warriors were unable to capitalise on a host of attacking raids and were held-up five times in their hard-fought loss. They will be relying heavily on the likes of halfback Sam Cook and Karl Lawton, who has been named to start at five-eighth after a short stint in the NRL side.
Newtown Jets v Wyong Roos
Saturday, 19 May 3pm
The Newtown Jets will host the Wyong Roos in Henson Park's final game of Magic Weekend – and will be looking to build on last week's impressive victory over the ladder-leaders Mounties.
Boasting the best attacking record of the competition having cracked 50 tries for the season on the weekend, the Jets will be looking to continue their blistering form against a Roos outfit who are winless since Round 3.
While their prolific try-scoring ability has been the cornerstone of their victories so far this year, they will be desperate to put in a more committed defensive performance after conceding 20 points or more in their past four fixtures.
Meanwhile, the Roos will be searching for a much-needed win with their two victories this season both decided by a field goal. While they have struggled to find the line with just 30 tries this year, they also lead the competition in missed tackles (392), meaning their defensive efforts will be crucial if they are to claim two valuable competition points.
Western Suburbs Magpies v Penrith Panthers
North Sydney Oval
Sunday, 20th May 11am
The Western Suburbs Magpies are coming off a relentless defensive performance away from home with a gutsy 11-0 victory over the Warriors, but will be desperate to find some consistency after a 42-12 loss to the Dragons a week prior.
With the best defensive record in the competition and also ranking third for tries scored (42), the Magpies face arguably their biggest test of the season against a red-hot Panthers outfit.
The Panthers boast potent attacking weapons such as tackle-breaking machine Caleb Aekins and prominent finisher Ratu Tuisese - and with Jarome Luai likely to be dropped off the NRL extended bench for the returning Nathan Cleary, expect the dynamic five-eighth to take his place in the Intrust Super Premiership on Sunday morning.
Expect a tug-of-war contest in the opening exchanges with the likes of Andy Saunders and Josh Aloiai leading their respective forward packs, and both sides willing to play an expansive brand of football in the hope of claiming a much-needed victory.
Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs v Newcastle Knights
North Sydney Oval
Sunday, 20 May 1pm
The Bulldogs have had two nail-biting performances over the past fortnight but were last week unable to capitalise on their 18-6 half-time lead, with a late Darren Nicholls field goal proving the difference in their 21-20 loss on Saturday afternoon.
Having clawed back from the jaws of defeat in Round 9, thanks to starring performances from Josh Cleeland and Renouf To'Omaga, the Bulldogs dropped to fourth spot on the competition ladder with their last-start defeat.
Expect a commanding performance from the Bulldogs forward pack this weekend, with Ofahiki Ogden the only Bulldogs forward to run for over 100 metres last week. Coach Steve Georgallis can bank on his back five to work hard out of their own end, with all players in the backline cracking the triple-figure mark in Round 10.
While the Knights have endured a tough start to their season and sit second-last on the competition ladder, they will be full of confidence after a valiant 28-22 victory over the Blacktown Workers Sea Eagles.
Recording just their second win of the season following a 23-all draw with the Roos a week earlier, the halves pairing of Jack Johns and Jack Cogger proved instrumental in their victory and will certainly be vying for consistency against one of the competition heavyweights.
North Sydney Bears v Blacktown Workers Sea Eagles
North Sydney Oval
Sunday, 20 May 3pm
It's been a roller coaster start to the Bears season and are coming off a thumping 38-14 loss to the Panthers, but face a Sea Eagles outfit also struggling for form after a six-point loss to the Knights.
The Bears have shown bursts of their potential so far in 2018, with fullback Viliami Kaveinga arguably their most consistent performer throughout the season, but will be looking to put in a stronger defensive performance after conceding 60 points in their past two fixtures.
Expect a more clinical attacking performance from Blacktown this Sunday, with the likes of Jackson Hastings and Cade Cust forming an impressive combination last weekend despite not guiding their side to victory.
Tom Amone has proven to be one of the most influential figures in Blacktown's forward pack this season, and is coming off another barnstorming display which saw him run for 199 metres and recording 30 tackles.
While both sides have endured tough starts to their respective seasons, they can take confidence in knowing they are just two wins outside the top four.