PREVIEWS | ISP Rd 15
Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs v Penrith Panthers
Belmore Sports Ground
Saturday, 16 June 12.45pm
Broadcast LIVE on Fox League
Round 15 of the Intrust Super Premiership NSW looms as one of the most important weeks of the competition - and it starts with the Bulldogs hosting the Panthers in a match that will certainly test their premiership credentials.
The Bulldogs can take confidence from their scrappy 20-10 victory over the Bears on Saturday afternoon with an impressive defensive performance, but will be looking for more discipline having conceded the second-most penalties of all teams this season (123).
They now face a Panthers outfit fresh off the bye and looking to bounce back from their 16-all draw with the Wyong Roos in Round 13.
Having made the least amount of errors of any team in the competition this year, the Panthers will be looking for a more controlled performance after completing at just 66% against the Roos.
Fullback Caleb Aekins has been in scintillating form so far in 2018, with the dynamic fullback running for over 300 metres against the Roos and ranking second in the competition for tackle-breaks (65).
Newtown Jets v Mounties
Saturday, 16 June 1pm
Broadcast LIVE on Channel 9 and 9NOW
Both sides enjoyed a week off in Round 15, and now the Newtown Jets search for their third unanswered victory. To do so they will have to overcome a red-hot Mounties side which will be brimming with confidence following a 62-0 thumping of the Knights in Round 13.
The Jets have proven to be one of the most lethal attacking sides in the competition this season with the likes of William Kennedy and Kyle Flanagan in fine form.
Sitting second in the competition for tries scored (62) and line-breaks (69), the Jets will certainly face their biggest test against a team that is equally-matched in attacking prowess and boasting a strong defensive mindset.
Sitting in first on the competition ladder, the Mounties bounced back from their tough loss to the Panthers to put in a clinical attacking display against the Knights that saw them run for over 2,000 metres and record 13 tries and 13 line-breaks.
Off the back of hard-working hooker Craig Garvey, who leads the competition for try-assists (14), the Mounties will be looking to further stamp their heavyweight status against a Jets outfit who boast an impressive home record.
Wyong Roos v Wentworthville Magpies
Morry Breen Reserve
Saturday, 16 June 3pm
Wyong are unbeaten in their past four fixtures but will be looking to avenge their loss to Wentworthville in Round 10 when they face off in a crucial match for both sides.
Struggling for consistency throughout the first half of the season, Wyong have put together four impressive performances in recent weeks, including a 16-all draw with the Panthers and a comfortable 28-6 victory over the Knights on Saturday afternoon.
The addition of Frank-Paul Nuuausala to their forward pack has proven invaluable for their momentum through the middle third, with the likes of Brock Gray and Josh Curran also putting in some dominant performances in recent weeks to give the Roos plenty of options on the left and right edges respectively.
The Magpies, meanwhile, made a strong start to their 2018 campaign, but now remain winless since Round 11 and are quickly sliding towards the bottom of the competition ladder.
Inconsistency in their spine has seen a significant impact on their attacking structures – struggling with the ball-in-hand with just five tries in their last three outings.
Expect an improved performance from the Magpies in a match the proves pivotal to their chance of an unlikely finals appearance.
Newcastle Knights v Warriors
McDonald Jones Stadium
Sunday, 17 June 11.45am
Broadcast LIVE on Fox League
The Knights' horror season continued on Saturday afternoon, with their 28-6 loss coming after a disastrous 62-0 loss to the Mounties a week prior.
The Warriors are heavily favoured to claim victory in this fixture despite Newcastle's home-ground advantage, as they will be looking to continue their improved form after a dominant 36-6 victory in their last start.
King Vuniyayawa has provided significant impact off the bench in recent weeks and is coming off a two-try performance in their Round 13 victory.
The Knights have struggled on either side of the ball in 2018 and have scored just one try in their past two games, while conceding 122 points in their past three. With the worst defensive record in the competition (31 points on average), the Knights will be desperate to restore some pride in the hopes of climbing off the bottom of the competition ladder.
Western Suburbs Magpies v North Sydney Bears
Campbelltown Sports Stadium
Sunday, 17 June 11.55am
The Magpies returned to the winners' circle in Round 14 with their valiant 28-16 victory over the Sea Eagles and now face a struggling Bears outfit looking to reignite their season after two home defeats.
On the back of a Braden Robson hat-trick and classy performance from Tyson Gamble, the Magpies controlled a majority of the contest and will take confidence from their strong work through the middle third that saw them run for 500 more metres than the Sea Eagles.
The Bears have struggled for consistency in 2018 and have lacked fluency in attack, having scored just seven tries in their past three games.
The halves combination of Dean Hawkins and Connor Tracey will be crucial if they are to record an upset victory and will be looking to put in a more accurate performance with the boot as their kicking game will be invaluable to dominating field position against a barnstorming Magpies forward pack.
St George Illawarra Dragons v Blacktown Workers Sea Eagles
Sunday, 17 June 1pm
The Dragons have stormed into the top four of the competition on the back of three unanswered victories and will be looking to capitalise on a Sea Eagles outfit struggling for consistency in 2018.
With a vastly improved defensive performance across their last three games, conceding just seven tries while scoring 14, they will be most pleased with their defence from their weekend fixture after missing just 14 tackles.
Winger Jordan Pereira is proving to be one of the most prolific finishers in the competition with 12 tries to his name this year, but has also proved a handful for opposition defences with his strong kick-returns alongside fullback Patrick Herbert.
They face a Blacktown outfit who will be desperate for two valuable competition points as they are just hanging on to eighth spot on the ladder.