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True Blue and Channel Nine commentator Jamie Soward previews all the action ahead of Magic Round in the Canterbury Cup NSW.

Newcastle Knights v North Sydney Bears                                                  McDonald Jones Stadium                                                                                Friday, 24 May – 5.40pm 

‘The Bears have proven this year they’re going to be one of the top sides to beat in this competition. Brock Lamb continues to be in outstanding form and Kieran Moss was good on the weekend after bouncing back from a disappointing performance in the Residents clash. For the Newcastle Knights, they continue to struggle. Their top team is rolling but haven’t got much depth. Mason Lino is under pressure to perform and help his team. A lot of those guys have come in and out, but certainly looking at the Newcastle squad in terms of 1-30, 10 of those guys are still learning how to be week-to-week footy players. Bears by 8.’

Warriors v Blacktown Workers Sea Eagles                                                            Mt Smart Stadium                                                                                        Saturday, 25 May – 12.40pm 

‘Blacktown’s defensive structures have really been diabolical at times this year, a lot of confusion in and around their edges, they’ve had to swap players. And again, they’re at a club that hasn’t got lots of depth and they’ve got to be able to replace those guys, so they’ve had to call some guys up. Special mention to Abbas Miski, he was outstanding in a beaten side and for me he’s NRL standard. The Warriors have been inconsistent this year; you watch them one week and think they’re looking good and the next week they’re just diabolical. For me, Warriors will win big being at home to Blacktown, I think Warriors by 20.’

Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs v Mounties                                                        Belmore Sportsground                                                                                        Sunday, 26 May – 11.15am

‘Mounties have been outstanding, I think they’re looking to finish the season at number 1. Canberra has got really good depth and we’ve been able to see that on show this year and Aidan Sezer continues to go down and be a professional, so I wouldn’t be surprised if a club tries to pick him up before June 30. The Bulldogs sit 7th and are probably where I thought they’d be with this squad. Lachlan Lewis certainly helps them, so I expect him to have big game. Morgan Harper, a special mention to him, his season has been pretty good, deserves a crack at first grade but hasn’t been able to break into that squad. I’m going to say Mounties by 12.’

South Sydney Rabbitohs v Western Suburbs Magpies                                  Metricon High Performance Centre                                                                        Sunday, 26 May – 1.10pm

‘It’s hard to predict what this Wests side could be because the side changes; when Josh Reynolds comes back, where is he going to fit into the top squad? Their top squad have been performing the last two weeks, whether they can continue that we’ll have to wait and see, so their depth gets tested at times. The Rabbitohs have gone off the boil. Defensively they were one of the best teams in the opening 6-7 weeks, the last few weeks they have conceded some big points and lost some games they shouldn’t have, so I expect them to bounce back this week at Redfern. I’m going to say Rabbitohs, in a tight one, by 2.’

St George Dragons v Newtown Jets                                                                      WIN Stadium                                                                                                              Sunday, 26 May – 1.50pm                                                   

‘The Jets from last week can be positive in terms of their attack, at times they’ve struggled this year. Craig Garvey is going to be a welcome addition to their side. Their issue is going to be completing sets but also completing sets defensively, not conceding soft tries. Unfortunately for Newtown with Cronulla Sharks’ depth, they’ve had a lot of guys go up who I thought might have been just on the fringe and get a few games, who would certainly be playing for Newtown. The Dragons just continue to roll after a slow start. Nicholls is back, they’re 5 out of their last 6, now they get Dufty back, I expect the Dragons to put on a performance at WIN Stadium. Dragons by 16.

Wentworthville Magpies v Penrith Panthers                                                  Ringrose Park                                                                                                Sunday, 26 May – 3pm

‘The Panthers get some guys back, possibly DWZ (Dallin Watene-Zelezniak), which is a huge inclusion, so I expect him to come into that squad and do damage. The Panthers are one of the stronger sides in this competition, their forward pack is of fringe NRL quality. Looking at Wentworthville, Bevan French will be picked up by another team come June 30, Jaemon Salmon needs to come back in and show a professional effort. This is a huge game at Ringrose Park, teams have gone there and not performed. I’m going to say the Panthers by 6.’

Acknowledgement of Country

New South Wales Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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