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Preview: Round 18 VB NSW Cup

Jamie Anderson from the NSWRL previews Round 18 of the VB New South Wales Cup.
Preview: Round 18 VB NSW Cup

Jamie Anderson

Wentworthville Magpies Vs Manly Sea Eagles
Parramatta Stadium, Saturday, July 13
Kick-off: 1.10pm
Referee: Phil Haines
Broadcast: LIVE on Fox Sports 1

Two sides square off here that both currently occupy positions outside of the top eight yet would both still hold finals aspirations as we head into the concluding eight rounds. Wenty sit in ninth place on the ladder and look locked in a battle with the likes of Mounties, Illawarra and Manly for the final spot in the eight. The formula is quite simple for the Sea Eagles, they need to keep winning. The reality is that the team that ultimately finishes the season in eighth place will likely have an overall losing record, however as the Jets showed us last season, once you make the eight, anything is possible. Wenty looked like chalking up only their second win in their last six starts against the Jets last round only for a late Henare Wells try to scuttle that. Manly came from 14 points down early on against the Cutters to register a much need win at WIN Jubilee. Wenty will have the services of Chris Sandow, Joseph Paulo and Pat O’Hanlon for this crucial match while Manly will be without two of their stars in Ligi Sao and Peta Hiku who will both play in the top grade this weekend.

Talking Point:
Sandown on his luck – Not for the first time since he joined the Parramatta Eels, Chris Sandow has found himself running out for the Wentworthville Magpies in a bid to convince Ricky Stuart that he is still the man to lead Parra into the next phase of the clubs resurgence. The new laws surrounding the shoulder charge appear to have blunted the halfbacks effectiveness in the defensive line and surely the hierarchy at the Eels will be looking for Sandow to rip and tear this Saturday in a bid to earn a recall to the top grade.

Going with the home side but it won’t be all one way traffic. Magpies by 10.
Newtown Jets Vs Newcastle Knights
Henson Park, Saturday, July 13
Kick-off: 3.00pm
Referee: Brett Suttor
Broadcast: Radio Coverage courtesy of Steele Sports Radio (Link available via or on the Broadcast page)

A really intriguing clash here as the second placed Knights travel to Henson Park to face the sixth placed Jets. There is no hotter side in the VB NSW Cup right now than the Newcastle Knights, having lost just once since Round Eight, and that was a heartbreaking, after the siren loss, to the Vulcans in Auckland. They will be tested here however as they lose four players to representative duty for this clash and it is also worth noting that all three of their losses this season have been on the road, including one of them against the Sharks at Henson Park back in Round Seven. Many people suggested that with this match, originally scheduled for the City V Country Round, and then deferred until now due the big wet that struck Sydney that weekend, would play into the Jets hands, and given the personnel issues for Newcastle, they may be proven right, but consider this also. Had this game been played back when it was meant to be, the likes of Dylan Napa, Kane Evans, Michael Oldfield and Tinirau Arona would have all likely had played, so perhaps things have somewhat balanced out and left us with what looks a very even contest on paper. So much to play for… It should be another cracking afternoon of footy at Henson Park.

Talking Point:
A test of depth – The Newcastle Knights will be without four regulars on Saturday due to VB NSW Cup Representative action with Peter Mata’utia, Josh Mantellato, Kevin Naiqama and Matt Hilder all ruled out. But despite this, the Knights still manage to field what at least on paper, looks a very formidable outfit. Tahu and Quinn combine on one side of the park to give the backline plenty of experience while Chanel Mata’utia, Adrian Davis and Will Smith add plenty of youthful exuberance. A win against the Jets will be a tough task however the Knights appear to have the depth to give this an almighty shake.

Prediction: A depleted Knights side may just come up short of the Jets at Henson. Jets by 4.
North Sydney Bears Vs Illawarra Cutters
North Sydney Oval, Monday, July 15
Kick-off: 7.00pm
Referee: Adam Cassidy

A very rare Monday night fixture in the VB NSW Cup as the Bears play their second catch up match in as many weeks. Having lost two consecutive home matches in a row due to the weather, the Bears played a midweek fixture last week against the Wolves (lost 28-24) and will now face the Cutters when a lot of the players thought they would be getting a well-earned rest. Be that as it may, it is still a very important clash with the Bears looking to reassert their place inside the top four while the Cutters are almost getting towards the ‘must win’ stage of the season if they are looking to be an active participant in this year’s finals series. The Cutters would be bitterly disappointed to have lost to Manly at Kogarah last weekend after they looked well in control of the game early doors. Not only did they not get the points, but one of the sides that they will be jostling with for that final spot in the eight got them instead. Young Evander Cummins takes Adam Quinlan’s spot at the back for this one with Quinlan shifted into the six jersey while the Bears will still field a formidable outfit despite losing Bennett Leslie, Jason Clark, Shaune Corrigan and Josh Starling to representative duty.

Talking Point: Quinlan is only halves the problem – An obvious deficiency in the Dragons NRL team at present will now mean that young Adam Quinlan is being trialed in this Cutters side at number six. A promising young fullback, Quinlan will now have a chance to find his way back into the NRL as a running ball player, and given that he currently occupies the same favoured position as NSW custodian Josh Dugan, perhaps this experiment is his best way for him to see more NRL game time this year.

Even minus their rep players, the Bears look too strong here. Bears by 8.

All other VB NSW Cup sides have the BYE due to VB NSW Cup Representative side playing the QLD Residents next Wednesday night at ANZ Stadium

You can stay across all of the VB NSW Cup scores right throughout the weekend by following us on twitter @NSWRL or you can join in the conversation by using the #VBNSWCUP hashtag.


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