PREVIEWS | ISP Rd 19

Newcastle Knights vs Penrith Panthers
McDonald Jones Stadium
Saturday, 21 July 12.45pm
Broadcast LIVE on Fox League

It's been a rollercoaster journey for the Newcastle Knights in 2018, but after enjoying a week off they will be looking to finish their season in fitting style against a high-flying Panthers outfit. 

They can take confidence from their 28-10 loss to the Newtown Jets in Round 17 after conceding tries within small lapses of their game -  including three tries within a relentless 12 minute period in the first-half and another two within four minutes in the second stanza. 

They will relish the home ground advantage when they host the ladder-leaders on Saturday afternoon - a side who were impressive on the road last week with a 14-10 victory over the Warriors. 

 

Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs v Warriors
Belmore Sports Ground
Saturday, 21 July 1.00pm
Broadcast LIVE on Channel Nine and 9NOW

Another team fresh off the bye, the Bulldogs will be looking to add salt into the wounds of the Warriors after they dropped to seventh on the competition ladder following their loss to the Panthers in Round 18.

Both sides couldn't be more even, having each scored 65 tries and conceding nearly an equal amount of points (335 and 333 respectively), as two valuable competition points go up for grabs in the hopes of cementing their place in the top 8. 

Despite maintaining 55% possession against Penrith, they managed just two tries in their loss and now face the prospect of dropping further down the ladder with a defeat this weekend. 

Expect the Bulldogs to come out firing after their 28-10 victory over the Mounties two weeks ago, with their first-half rampage enough to keep the Mounties at bay. 

The addition of Matt Frawley was instrumental in their performance, providing a calming influence for halves partner Josh Cleeland who constantly threatened with the ball in hand. 

Mounties vs Blacktown Workers Sea Eagles
Aubrey Keech Reserve
Saturday, 21 July 3.00pm

The Mounties recorded a dominant 28-8 victory over third-placed Magpies on Saturday afternoon, but will be desperate to repeat their efforts against a Blacktown side looking for a return to form. 

A win looks likely for the Mounties considering their impressive season so far, but again they'll have to overcome the challenges opposition teams – and the competition – continues to throw at them.

The Workers, however, have struggled for consistency this year but have shown rare flashes of their potential – notably a 32-0 thumping of the North Sydney Bears, two weeks ago.

They took a slight lead late in the contest against the Roos in Round 17 but were unable to close out a victory, with their second-half lapses being their achilles heel constantly throughout 2018.

Expect a fierce battle of the forwards with the likes of Toafofoa Sipley and Tom Amone going head-to-head with Royce Hunt and Makahesi Makatoa, but also look for Craig Garvey to continue his scintillating form after another dynamic performance at Campbelltown in Round 18.

While success has been few and far between for the Workers in a tough year, expect a spirited performance against the Mounties as both sides look to finish the year in emphatic style. 

Warriors vs Wyong Roos
Mt Smart Stadium
Sunday, 22 July 3.00pm
Broadcast LIVE on Fox League

Stakes will be high at Mt Smart Stadium on Sunday afternoon with a victory being crucial to either sides of hopes of a top eight finish, with the Roos coming off a comeback victory over the Workers and the Warriors enduring a tough loss to the Mounties.

The Warriors remain  unpredictable throughout 2018 and have been unable to build their home fortress with back-to-back losses at home.

A more disciplined performance will be pivotal in their hopes of a victory as they are ranked second in the competition for errors (168) and first for penalties conceded (189).

They face a Roos outfit in blistering form and have had enjoyed a stellar second-half of the season with five wins and a draw in their last seven outings. 

Live-wire fullback Luke Sharpe has added significant spark out the back with plenty of involvement, and has combined well with Lachlan Lam who has been a welcome addition to the side. 

The Roos are likely to see the return of Sean O'Sullivan after an impressive first grade debut for the Roosters on Sunday night, along with Poasa Faamausili and Paul Momirovski who will also take their place for the Roos. 

Wentworthville Magpies vs Newtown Jets
Ringrose Park
Sunday, 22 July 3.00pm

It's hard to expect much from the Magpies given their horrid 2018 season, but there is no doubting the talent in their side has the potential to cause an upset against a heavily fancied Jets outfit. 

Coming off a 40-22 loss to the Dragons last weekend, the Magpies can take confidence from their improved performance in the second-half after conceding five tries within 23 minutes before half-time. 

The first-half collapse included three tries within a crazy five minute period, and will undoubtedly be looking for a better defensive display when they take on the best attacking side in the competition (84 tries).

The Jets have certainly had no problem finding the try line throughout 2018 but have had their fair share of defensive lapses themselves in recent weeks.

They held a healthy 18-point  advantage with just under 15 minutes remaining in their match against the Bears, with three tries in the dying stages seeing them play out a 28-all draw.

A complete 80 minute performance will be imperative if they are to take advantage of a struggling Magpies side, so expect plenty of points from both teams with plenty of attacking flair on offer.