ISP PREVIEW | Newtown v Mounties
The Newtown Jets and Mounties have recorded wins in each of their fixtures against each other this season but there will be more than just a victory on the line when they challenge for a Preliminary Final berth on Saturday.
The Jets surged into the top-four of the competition ladder on the back of their formidable efforts in attack this season but will be rueing their two-point loss to the Dragons in the Qualifying Final.
Scoring points was no worry for the foundation club after crossing for five tries, but they will be looking to re-establish their committed defensive efforts after leaking 28-points.
They will now face a Mounties side who ended a five-game losing streak with a gusty 21-20 victory over the Warriors in the Elimination Final.
A Tyler Cornish field-goal proved the difference in the 75th minute after they conceded three unanswered tries within 16-minutes in the second half – the fourth time in a row they have conceded 20 points or more in a game.
Liam Knight and Corey Horsburgh will be looking to repeat their powerful efforts on Saturday, as Knight finished the game with a try, 176m, and 37 tackles while Horsburgh recorded 175m and 44 tackles.
They will challenge the likes of Kurt Dillon, Briton Nikora and Anthony Moraitis in an enticing battle of the forwards, with either side's momentum through the middle third crucial to their respective efforts in attack.
Expect both teams to play an expansive brand of football with the Jets ranking first in line-breaks (137) and tries (117), while the Mounties sit fourth (104) and third (101) in each category.
The Jets will welcome Dillon back into the starting line-up this week in a huge boost of the side, with Wesley Lolo dropping to the bench while Glebe's two-try hero Bessie Aufaga-Toomaga will take the place of the injured Matt Evans on the left-wing.
Meanwhile, the Mounties will keep the same 17 players from their victory against the Warriors, however, Sam Duggan will return to the starting line-up after an impressive performance at hooker with Joel Luani named on the interchange bench.