PREVIEWS | ISP Rd 17
Warriors v Wentworthville Magpies
North Harbour Stadium
Saturday, 7 July 1pm
It's an exciting opening fixture to kick off Round 17 of the Intrust Super Premiership NSW, with the Warriors desperate for a victory as they are one of three teams sitting on 20 competition points.
They face a Magpies outfit who have endured a horror season to date and are winless in their past six games, with their lacklustre defensive efforts in recent weeks their biggest worry.
Michael Jennings could be a late inclusion in the Magpies outfit who will also welcome dynamic utility Will Smith at halfback which will undoubtedly offer plenty of potency in attack.
The Warriors, however, can take an array of confidence from their strong performance against the Mounties, with their upset 24-20 victory one of their most impressive wins this season.
Expect fullback Hayze Perham to cause plenty of havoc off the back of their second-phase play, while King Vuniyayawa will be looking to continue his strong form with another start on the right edge.
Penrith Panthers v St George Illawarra Dragons
Saturday, 7 July 1pm
Broadcast Live on Channel Nine and 9NOW
The Panthers continued their undefeated streak with a hard-fought 26-10 victory over the Sea Eagles last weekend and will be looking to take advantage of a Dragons outfit missing a host of their stars.
Their dynamic attacking structures have the Panthers ranked fourth in the competition for tries scored – a scary prospect considering the number of players missing in the Dragons line-up.
While the Dragons will be missing the likes of Darren Nicholls, Luicano Leilua, Jacob Host, and Reece Robson, the Panthers will also be without a host of their starting line-up with Tyrone May and Jarome Luai named to partner in the halves in first-grade.
Nonetheless, expect a committed performance from both sides as they look to build some consistency into the back-end of the season.
Newtown Jets v Newcastle Knights
Saturday, 7 July 3pm
A barnstorming performance against the Wentworthville Magpies last weekend has sent a sound warning to the rest of the competition, with a clinical attacking performance seeing them claim an emphatic 50-24 victory.
The nine-try romp saw young winger Bronson Xerri cross for a hat-trick, with impressive performances from William Kennedy and Anthony Moraitis also.
A dominant performance right across the field, they will face a Knights outfit who will be brimming with confidence following their 40-16 victory over the Bulldogs.
Winger Tom Hughes will look to build on his three-try performance last week, while livewire fullbacks Kennedy and Nick Meaney will also lock horns for the first time this season.
Expect a high-scoring game with both teams willing to play an attacking brand of footy in the hopes of claiming respective back-to-back victories.
Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs v Mounties
Belmore Sports Ground
Saturday, 7 July 5.15pm
Broadcast LIVE on Fox League
The Bulldogs will be looking to avenge their tough loss to the Knights in Round 16 and will relish the home-ground advantage against a Mounties side also looking to bounce back to form.
In the absence of Lachlan Lewis, Okahifi Ogden, and Rhyse Martin, the Bulldogs couldn't back up their valiant two-point loss against the Panthers and are clinging onto eighth position on the competition ladder.
They will be looking for a better defensive performance having missed the second-most tackles of any team in 2018 (558), and will rely heavily on five-eighth Josh Cleeland to spark an important victory.
The Mounties will be disappointed with their loss to the Warriors last weekend, but you can bank on the former ladder-leaders racing out of the blocks to re-ignite their form.
Expect plenty of dynamic running from Craig Garvey out of dummy-half, with the hooker in scintillating form this season, while back-rower Emre Guler will look to continue his strong performances and lay a platform for his outside backs.
Blacktown Workers Sea Eagles v North Sydney Bears
H.E. Laybutt Fields
Sunday, 8 July 3pm
The Sea Eagles can take a lot of confidence from their 26-16 defeat to front-runners Penrith on Saturday afternoon, but a victory at home this weekend is imperative if they are to stay in touch with the top-four of the competition.
Toafofoa Sipley and Tom Amone are arguably two of the form forwards of the Intrust Super Premiership in 2018, who often give their side a wave of momentum through the middle-third with their powerful carries.
They host a Bears side who are coming off an impressive 44-22 victory over the Wyong Roos on Saturday afternoon, which included starring performances from their halves Connor Tracey and Dean Hawkins.
The pair ran riot, with Tracey scoring two tries while Hawkins played a part in two more and worked off the back of Dean Britt and Rhys Kennedy who both played crucial roles in the victory.
It will be a perfect way to finish Round 17 with this fixture looming as an important match for both sides – with a victory a must for the Bears if they are to climb up the ladder towards the top eight.