PREVIEWS | ISP Rd 12
Wyong Roos v Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs
Saturday, 26 May 12.45pm
Central Coast Stadium
Broadcast live on Fox Sports
The Roos have endured a tough start to their Intrust Super Premiership campaign this year but will be looking to build on their valiant two-point victory over the Newtown Jets on Saturday afternoon.
Having won just three games so far in 2018, two of which against the Jets with a combined margin of just three points, the Roos have struggled for consistency this season but showed encouraging signs in their win.
Off the back of a rampaging Eloni Vunakece and hard-working Nat Butcher, the Roos were able to claw back from an 18-10 half-time deficit with two tries within a relentless three-minute period inspiring the victory.
They now face a Bulldogs outfit sitting comfortably in third place on the competition ladder after posting a 22-12 win over the Newcastle Knights.
The addition of Michael Lichaa to their side in recent weeks has provided a wealth of experience in an already formidable line-up, with Fa’amanu Brown and Josh Cleeland creating a lethal combination in a newly-formed halves combination.
Expect a hard-fought contest between both sides with the fixture proving vital in the hopes of staying in the top-four and out of the bottom four respectively.
Blacktown Workers Sea Eagles v Warriors
HE Laybutt Sports Complex
Saturday, 26 May 1pm
The Workers had their backs to the wall when the Bears took an early 12-0 lead on the weekend, but a Jackson Hastings masterclass and barnstorming performance from Toafofoa Sipley inspired a comfortable 42-24 victory.
Sipley recorded 199 running metres, nine tackle-breaks, 29 tackles and scored two crucial tries in the win and gave his side a wave of momentum through the middle-third which allowed for a clinical seven-try performance.
On the other hand, the Warriors bounced back from their 11-0 defeat to Wests in Round 10 to post a 29-16 victory over the Dragons.
Sam Cook was instrumental in a scrappy game for the Warriors with the crafty halfback scoring two tries, while Ligi Sao dominated the middle with 108 running metres and a handy four-pointer of his own
Although an improved performance, the Warriors will be looking to exercise greater discipline in their match against the Workers after completing at just 65% and conceding 11 penalties.
While both will be searching for back-to-back victories, this game looms as a must-win for either side if they are to stay in touch with the top-four of the competition ladder.
Western Suburbs Magpies v Newtown Jets
Saturday, 26 May 1pm
Broadcast live on Channel Nine and 9Now
The Magpies solidified their premiership credentials in Round 11 after a defiant defensive display guided them to a gutsy 18-10 victory over the Penrith Panthers.
After Watson Heleta crossed for two tries and JJ Felise barged his way over late in the first-half, their committed goal-line defence proved the difference as they kept the reigning premiers scoreless in the second stanza.
They now boast the best defensive record in the competition having conceded just 10 points across their last two games and are proving to be a handful for opposition defences with their second-phase play, as they lead the competition in tackle-breaks (427) and are ranked second in offloads (102).
They now face a Jets outfit looking to return to the winner’s circle after their loss to the Roos and will certainly have their hands full when they take on the best attacking side in the competition.
While they have crossed for 54 tries already in 2018, they will be desperate to match those efforts in defence having leaked 13 tries across their last three fixtures.
While the Magpies will be without Mahe Fonua with his inclusion in the first-grade side this week, expect an exciting contest as both sides play an attacking brand of rugby league.
This game will also be broadcasted live on Steele Sports.
Penrith Panthers v Mounties
Saturday, 26 May 5.15pm
The Panthers were full of confidence following their dominant back-to-back victories in recent weeks but were unable to continue their blistering form against a red-hot Magpies outfit.
With Tyrone May returning from a long stint on the sidelines and showing his class with two strong performances, it only adds to an already star-studded team that boasts the likes of Jarome Luai, Maiko Sivo and Tom Eisenhuth.
Looking to hit-back with a stronger showing this week, they take on a Mounties side who are coming off a spirited performance against the Wentworthville Magpies.
Hooker Craig Garvey will be looking to continue his brilliant season to date with the dynamic hooker providing significant impact out of dummy-half this season but will be relying heavily on his forward-pack to build momentum through the middle-third as they sit second-last in the competition for metres gained.
Look for Sam Williams and Brad Abbey to combine prominently in the hopes of recording two consecutive victories on Saturday evening.
Newcastle Knights v St George Illawarra Dragons
Sunday, 27 May 11.45am
McDonald Jones Stadium
Broadcast live on Fox Sports
The Knights may sit last on the competition ladder but can gain confidence from their previous two matches, although they recorded a 10-point loss to the Bulldogs on Sunday afternoon.
Despite being on the back foot for a majority of the contest, some gutsy defensive efforts showed promising signs for a team who have posted just two wins this season.
They will be without Jack Cogger after the halfback was named to replace an injured Brock Lamb in first grade, which is a brutal blow for the Knights as they take on a Dragons outfit coming off a 13-point loss to the Warriors.
Expect a big bounce back from the Dragons as they look to take advantage of a Knights side struggling for consistency in 2018, and have Darren Nicholls and Jai Field showing plenty of promise in a deadly halves combination.
Wentworthville Magpies v North Sydney Bears
Sunday, 27 May 3pm
The Wentworthville Magpies will be out to avenge their last-start defeat to the Mounties in the hope of rediscovering the form that saw them claim four wins in five matches earlier this year.
They have showed strong signs throughout 2018 and sit third in the competition for points scored but will be ruing their loss on the weekend and will undoubtedly come out firing in the early stages of the contest.
The Bears were flying after back-to-back tries from Dean Hawkins set them at a 12-0 lead early in their clash against the Workers, but ill-discipline in defence, and an 11-4 penalty count cruelled their chances.
Expect a more committed defensive effort from the Bears this weekend as they look to stop a lethal attacking side who boast plenty of fire power across the park.