The Wyong Roos will take a winning edge into their do-or-die Semi-Final clash with the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs on Sunday afternoon after an enthralling victory in Week One of the Intrust Super Premiership NSW Finals and a come-from-behind win in their last encounter.
The Roos will be looking to restore the form shown in their gritty 18-14 victory over the Magpies last Saturday against a Bulldogs side coming off a disappointing 22-10 loss to the Panthers.
Wyong showed similar determination in their last head-to-head battle with the Bulldogs in Round 12 when they claimed a 24-20 comeback victory, and it ultimately sparked their late season resurgence after recording three wins prior to that fixture.
They boast plenty of attacking flair with their spine of Luke Sharpe, Sean O'Sullivan, Mitch Cornish and Mitch Williams – with all four players contributing to 41 of their 68 try-assists for the season.
O'Sullivan has proven to be a welcome addition to the Roos line-up in 2018 with the five-eighth recording nine try-assists and 11 line-break assists, with his ball-playing ability matching his classy touches with the boot after forcing three line drop-outs against the Magpies.
But the Bulldogs are not short of attacking prowess either as they boast one of the most potent attacking line-ups in the competition, and they will be bolstered by the return of Rhyse Martin, Ofahiki Ogden and Greg Eastwood from the First-Grade side.
They are ranked first in the competition for post-contact metres (11,430) and second for total run metres (34640) which has provided plenty of momentum for the likes of Josh Cleeland and Mason Cerruto.
But while both teams will be looking to dominate with the ball-in-hand, the match will be determined largely by their defensive efforts. The Bulldogs are ranked first in the competition for missed tackles (859) while the Roos are ranked second (859).
The Roos forward-pack, in the absence of Lindsey Collins after his inclusion in the Sydney Roosters side, was inspired by a rampaging Eloni Vunakece who ran for 205m in 42 minutes.
Coach Rip Taylor has named an unchanged side.