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Preview: Round 19 VB NSW Cup

Jamie Anderson from NSWRL Media previews Round 19 of the VB New South Wales Cup.
Preview: Round 19 VB NSW Cup
by rleague.com

 
Cronulla Sharks Vs Illawarra Cutters
Henson Park, Saturday, July 20
Kick-off: 1.00pm
Referee: Shane Rehm
Broadcast: Radio Coverage courtesy of Steele Sports Radio (Link available via the www.nswrl.com.au Broadcast page)

Summary: The high flying Cronulla Sharks will need to be on their guard this weekend when they take on a Cutters side that will be playing for their season. Following back to back losses to Manly and North Sydney, the Cutters find themselves sitting two wins outside of the top eight as well as some considerable for and against. In all likelihood, a loss here for the boys from Wollongong would see them left with little chance of playing finals football in 2013. The Sharks have no such concerns as only a calamitous end to their season would see them finish anywhere other than in the position they have occupied since the start of the year, first. Injuries at the NRL level have finally started to rear its ugly head though however, and with the likes of Gallen, Lewis, Robson and Graham all currently on the sideline for Cronulla, their VB NSW Cup sides depth is now truly being put to the test. Penani Manumalealii will start at halfback for the Sharks with Chad Townsend playing NRL this weekend while David Fifita is down for his first start in the run on side for the black, white and blue. For the Cutters, Adam Quinlan has been rushed back into first grade after playing in the six jumper last weekend, and his spot in the team will be taken by Nathan Dureau.

Talking Point: From ANZ to Henson – His identical twin brother Andrew was one of NSW best at ANZ Stadium on Wednesday night, but this Saturday, David Fifita will be running out for the Cronulla Sharks at Henson Park. David debuted for his new club at this same venue a few weeks back but this weekend marks his first match in the run on team. Not many are expecting much from David this season as he gets back into the swing of things in Australia after returning from France, but look for a big off season beside brother Andrew to really switch this kid on for next year.

Prediction:
Have to tip the Sharks but it is definitely a danger game for them. Sharks by 8.
  
  
Mounties Vs Newcastle Knights
Canberra Stadium, Saturday, July 20
Kick-off: 1.10pm
Referee: Phil Henderson
Broadcast: LIVE on Fox Sports 1

Summary: The VB NSW Cup makes it way down the Hume and Federal Highways this weekend when Mounties play a home match against the Knights at Canberra Stadium. This is Mounties second season acting as the feeder club to the Canberra Raiders and it is wonderful for these players to have the opportunity to play in front of one of the best Rugby League crowds as well as having the match beamed into living rooms, pub and clubs right around Australia on Fox Sports. Mounties head into this one in ninth place on the ladder, and a win here by eight points or more would see them leapfrog Wentworthville back into the top eight. The Newcastle Knights lost just their fourth match of the season last weekend when they went down the Jets 26-14 at Henson Park. The Knights were without four of their VB NSW Cup Representative stars last weekend, however all of them have been named here and are expected to play. Sam Williams also played in the VB NSW Cup rep match on Wednesday night at ANZ Stadium and scored a try as he helped the boys to a 22-18 win over QLD. He too is expected to back up here. The Knights still comfortably sit inside the top four, however they won’t want to become complacent over the concluding rounds while Mounties need to starting winning and will be buoyed by playing this game in the ACT.

Talking Point:
Home is where the points are – Mounties look locked in a battle with Wenty for eighth place on the ladder at present however there is reason to be optimistic if you are a Mounties fan. This is the first of two matches that Mounties will play at Canberra Stadium between now and the end of the season, and with other very winnable games at home against the Bulldogs and Wyong also still to come, Mounties may yet still make a late season charge.

Prediction: Feel an upset brewing in the nation’s capital. Mounties by 8.
  
  
Newtown Jets Vs Auckland Vulcans
Henson Park, Saturday, July 20
Kick-off: 3.00pm
Referee: Liam Nicholls
Broadcast: Radio Coverage courtesy of Steele Sports Radio (Link available via the www.nswrl.com.au Broadcast page)


Summary:
They are generally always entertaining affairs when these two clubs do battle and with the prospect of decent weather in Sydney this weekend, much of the same should be on offer once again. Sitting right beside one another on the ladder, the fifth place Jets will be looking for a win over the sixth place Vulcans to move them even closer to a possible top four finish. However the visitors would have similar ambitions and if they can bring their home form with them to Henson Park, we should all be in for a real treat. The Jets have been down on troops somewhat recently but will certainly be happy to have Dylan Napa back for this one while Tinirau Arona is also likely to be a late inclusion despite not being named, as long as he pulls up well from his midweek rep commitments. The Vulcans and Warriors, like many of the sides in the VB NSW Cup, have started to understand the importance of blooding their young players in the competition. Most recently this has been the case with the likes of David Bhana and David Fusitua with Bhana in particular a player that the Jets will need to look out for on the weekend.

Talking Point: Like a bat out of Wells – Is there a ‘hotter’ player than Henare Wells in the VB NSW Cup right now? If there is, I haven’t seen him go around. Like a number of other young players on the Jets roster, it took Wells some time to find his footing in the higher grade, but now he looks like a seasoned veteran scoring six tries in his last three appearances. His speed is exhilarating and brings the fans in the stands to their feet every time he touches the ball. But with the likes of Minichiello, Tuivasa-Sheck and Tupou all ahead of Wells in the Roosters pecking order, look for Wells to be shopped around in the off season by his management with plenty of interest from rival clubs.

Prediction:
Should be a cracking contest, favouring the home side ever so slightly. Jets by 2.
  
  
Canterbury Bulldogs Vs Windsor Wolves
Belmore Sports Ground, Saturday, July 20
Kick-off: 3.00pm
Referee: Ziggy Przeklasa-Adamski
Broadcast: Radio Coverage courtesy of Hawkesbury Radio 89.9FM (Link available via www.hawkesburyradio.com.au or on the www.nswrl.com.au Broadcast page)


Summary:
While finals action for last year’s Minor Premiers is certainly out of the question, their attention now must turn to avoiding the dreaded wooden spoon. Unfortunately like in most sports, someone must always finish last, however you would have received long odds back in the pre-season if you would have been bold enough to suggest that it would be the Dogs who claimed this inglorious title in 2013. It now looks a race in two between the Dogs and the Roos, and perhaps you could also add Manly to the mix given their comparative poor for and against however one more win for them should almost be enough to avoid that honour one would have think. This match looms as a tough one for a side that needs wins though as they host a Windsor side that currently sits in the top four and looks set to make a charge towards the finals. The Wolves had strung together solid wins against both Manly and North Sydney before they went down in a gutsy showing against the Sharks and will likely start prohibitive favourites here. Sam Anderson and Geoff Daniela will both be back on deck for the Wolves following midweek rep duty, as will Paul Carter for the Bulldogs while we are also hearing whispers that George Jennings and possibly even Blake Austin may be a late inclusions for the Wolves.

Talking Point:
The next big thing – People at the foot of the mountains will already know what they have, but some other fans that have not yet been exposed to Bryce Cartwright will be in for a real surprise when they see this kid play. Having already represented NSW in various age groups over the past few years, Cartwright has already been tagged as a future NSW Origin star despite not yet having played NRL. He is physically gifted with both size and pace but it is his innate understanding of the game for a man that is so young that really makes him standout. Try and take the opportunity to get out and watch him while he is still in the VB NSW Cup because he won’t be here for long and next year it will cost you the price of an NRL ticket to see him play.

Prediction:
Hard to mount a case for the Dogs at present. Wolves by 14.
  
 
Wyong Roos Vs Wests Tigers
Morry Breen Oval, Sunday, July 21
Kick-off: 3.00pm
Referee: Alan Shortall


Summary:
The seventh placed Tigers head up the F3 on Sunday to face the Wyong Roos in a match that promises to be a high scoring affair. When these two sides met at Campbelltown Sports Stadium back in Round 11 it was the Tigers who prevailed 39-26 in a match that the home side didn’t have won until very late in the piece. Paul Fletcher and his men would have remembered that day no doubt and will not take the Roos lightly on Sunday. Both of these sides had players involved in Wednesday night’s representative match, and while Mitch Williams is likely to back up for Wyong, the same cannot be said for the competitions leading try scorer in Taqele Naiyaravoro who injured his ankle during the match and is expected to spend a number of weeks on the sideline. In good news though for Tigers fans, their other Fijian flyer in Marika Koroibete has been named to make his return from an extended injury lay off and one would expect Paul Stringer to put Etu Uaisele on whichever side of the park he plays on. Eloni Vunakece is a former Tiger and he will be fired up for a big performance on the weekend against his old club.

Talking Point:
Give the fans what they want - As we alluded to above, the last time these two sides played there was 65 points scored with 12 tries run in. The last Wyong home game against the Bears saw some beautiful weather and the crowd turned up in their droves to watch some high class footy. With more good weather predicted this weekend and the promise of a high scoring encounter, Morry Breen Oval looms as the perfect place to spend a few hours this Sunday afternoon.

Prediction: Expect another valiant display from the home side but the Tigers should get the points. Wests Tigers by 13.

North Sydney Bears have the BYE

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.

Source: www.nswrl.com.au




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