PREVIEWS | ISP Rd 18
North Sydney Bears vs Newtown Jets
North Sydney Oval
Saturday, 14 July 12.45pm
Broadcast LIVE on Fox League
Round 18 of the Intrust Super Premiership NSW competition will kick-off at North Sydney Oval this Saturday afternoon with both sides doing battle in the second leg of the Frank Hyde Shield while they each celebrate their 110 year anniversary.
It hasn't been the season that the North Sydney Bears were hoping for and they will be looking to restore their pride after a 32-0 loss to the Workers last weekend.
The task gets harder when they host the Newtown Jets this Saturday afternoon - a side who have stormed into the top-four following their comfortable 28-10 victory over the Knights.
The last time these two sides met they played out an enthralling 22-all draw, but the odds are now heavily in the Jets favour after their strong form in recent weeks.
Braden Uele has been unstoppable for the Jets, coming off a monster performance that saw him run for over 200 metres, break 15 tackles while also crossing for a handy four-pointer.
Expect the Jets to fire on all cylinders with their clinical attacking raids, but keep an eye on the team sheet prior to kick-off to see if halfback Kyle Flanagan will back up after playing for the NSW Under-20's side on Wednesday.
Western Suburbs Magpies vs Mounties
Saturday, 14 July 1.00pm
Broadcast LIVE on Channel Nine and 9NOW
It's been a stunning fall from grace for the Mounties with uncharacteristic back-to-back losses denting their hopes of claiming the minor premiership.
Although performing well below their potential, they have a huge chance to hit-back against a Magpies outfit who will be raring to fire after a week off in Round 17.
In the absence of Brad Abbey, who has arguably been one of the Mounties most threatening attacking weapons in 2018, Tyler Cornish has filled in valiantly in the No.1 jersey but will be looking to form a formidable combination with NSW Under 20's five-eighth Brendan O'Hagan.
The Magpies, however, boast the best defensive record in the competition but will be looking to bounce back to form after a 22-18 loss to the Dragons two weeks ago.
This fixture looms as a blockbuster for two of the premiership heavyweights, so expect a spirited performance from both sides with second spot on the competition ladder up for grabs.
Blacktown Workers Sea Eagles vs Wyong Roos
Saturday, 14 July 3.10pm
The Workers will be brimming with confidence following their 32-0 shutout of the Bears last weekend, and will be looking to continue their stellar form against the Roos.
A victory is a must for Rip Taylor's men with last years Grand Finalists sitting two points outside the top eight, but will need to put in a stronger defensive performance after leaking 44 points in their loss to the Bears in Round 15.
Blacktown, however, have certainly caused some havoc in recent weeks and their blistering attacking display against the Bears certainly put the rest of the competition on notice.
On the back of a rampaging Toafofoa Sipley and Tom Amone, the likes of live-wire fullback Jade Anderson and Tom Wright were able to work their magic and will certainly test the edge defence of the Roos.
Expect a host of Roos players to be withdrawn prior to kick-off with Origin trio Boyd Cordner, James Tedesco and Latrell Mitchell possibly rested in their clash against the Titans.
Warriors vs Penrith Panthers
North Harbour Stadium
Sunday, 15 July 1.00pm
Another highly anticipated clash to look forward too with the Warriors looking to topple the ladder-leaders after a surprising loss to the Magpies last weekend.
They will be desperate for a more disciplined performance with the ball-in-hand as they are ranked fourth for most handling errors in the competition, but can take confidence from their potent attacking ability through the likes of Hayze Perham and Blake Ayshford.
For the Panthers, their depth was certainly challenged last week with their star halves of Jarome Luai and Tyrone May missing, but proved they are more than capable of filling the void with an impressive victory over the Dragons.
While their attacking prowess has proven instrumental in their performances this season, so too has their efforts on the other side of the ball, missing the least amount of tackles of any team this year and ranked second for points conceded.
They will rue the loss of dynamic fullback Caleb Aekins after he was named to make his first-grade debut tonight, but welcome Dane Laurie into the No.1 jersey as the Panthers looked to extend their lead on top of the competition ladder.
St George Illawarra Dragons vs Wentworthville Magpies
Sunday, 15 July 1.45pm
With the battle for the top four becoming more enticing as the season draws near, the Dragons are another side who will be desperate for a victory in the hopes of climbing above from fifth place.
They will have their hands full against a Magpies side coming off an unlikely 30-22 victory over the Warriors, with Michael Jennings proving influential with a try and try-assist.
The Dragons will welcome back halfback Darren Nicholls into the side after making his debut in Round 17, and will partner the elusive Jai Field in the halves.
Expect a high-scoring affair with both sides struggling defensively in recent weeks, and both boasting significant attacking flair with some enticing one-on-one battles and two fearsome forward packs looking to inspire their side to victory.