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Preview: Round 20 VB NSW Cup

Jamie Anderson from NSWRL Media previews Round 20 of the VB New South Wales Cup.
Preview: Round 20 VB NSW Cup
by rleague.com

Jamie Anderson
NSWRL Media

Illawarra Cutters Vs Auckland Vulcans
WIN Stadium, Wollongong, Saturday, July 27
Kick-off: 1.10pm
Referee: Phil Henderson
Broadcast: LIVE on Fox Sports 1


Summary:
A draw last weekend against the Sharks kept the Cutters finals dreams alive for one more week, however anything less than the two points here against the visiting Vulcans may well end those ambitions. The Vulcans who currently sit in seventh spot on the ladder have a three point break over both the eighth placed Mounties and ninth placed Wenty Magpies entering this round and they will know a loss here may see them fall back into the ‘danger zone’ so to speak and will be hell bent on victory in a winnable game. The Vulcans road woes sprung its ugly head up once again last round after they lead the Jets 14-0 early only to then concede 40 points to the home side to eventually go down 40-26. A win here for the Cutters could really springboard them into finals calculations with another home match to come against the Bulldogs next week and then the bye in Round 22. The Cutters will be without Harry Siejka for the rest of the season after he suffered a knee injury last weekend and this means that Josh Drinkwater will come back into the side while for the Vulcans, they will be boosted by the inclusion of the very talented Pita Godinet.

Talking Point:
Halves Merry-Go-Round – On face value the Cutters season on a whole has probably been a disappointing one to this point however you do feel a little sorry for Paul McGregor. Week in and week out it seems the coach has had to name and play differing halves combinations, and anyone will tell you that regardless of how much talent a side has in and around their halves, if you have no continuity in the six and the seven jersey, it makes it very tough to win on a consistent basis. High profile halves like Drinkwater, Soward, Siejka and most recently Quinlan have all had a shot this season and have been partnered by a number of supporting cast such as Ryan and Dureau. We doubt anyone down in Wollongong will use any of the above as an excuse if they ultimately fail to make the finals, but they would certainly have a strong case to do so if they wished.

Prediction:
The inclusion of Godinet may be enough to tip things in favour of the visitors. Vulcans by 4.
  
  
Mounties Vs Canterbury Bulldogs
Aubrey Keech Reserve, Saturday, July 27
Kick-off: 3.00pm
Referee: Adam Cassidy


Summary:
A match that looked a certain two points to the home side a week ago changed complexion immensely when the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs knocked off the Windsor Wolves 32-30 over the weekend. The win for the Dogs was their first since a four point win over Wenty way back in Round 11 and they will now head into this game against Mounties with renewed confidence. The home team won’t be short of confidence either though as they are coming off arguably their best win of the season after they knocked off the second placed Knights 28-16 down at Canberra Stadium on Saturday. The only negative for Mounties from the match was the loss of VB NSW Cup Representative halfback Sam Williams to an ankle injury and he is not expected back until a fortnight before the finals. The mid-season purchase of Ryan Carr should help to offset the loss of Williams with Carr named in the six jersey for this must win clash but expect him to play at seven with Cronin to shift to six. The Dogs will field a largely unchanged side from last week although Joel Romelo has been named to return to the side.

Talking Point:
Pocket Rockets – An interesting side show to this intriguing clash will be the battle of the fullbacks. Both Drury Low and Dimi Pelo are two of the more diminutive number one’s in the VB NSW Cup but when they are on song and in full flight, both can be two of the most electric. If playing conditions are favourable for an open, attacking game, you can bet your bottom dollar that these pair will be heavily involved in anything good for either side.

Prediction:
If Mounties are serious about making a charge they can’t afford to drop these points. Mounties by 10.
 
 
Manly Sea Eagles Vs Wyong Roos
Brookvale Oval, Saturday, July 27
Kick-off: 3.00pm
Referee: Daniel Olford
Broadcast: Radio Coverage courtesy of Steele Sports Radio (Link available via the www.nswrl.com.au Broadcast page)


Summary:
A very even contest is expected when the Manly Sea Eagles play host to the Wyong Roos this Saturday. The Sea Eagles will be out to avenge a 26-10 Round 12 loss up on the Central Coast but will be confident of doing so having won two of their last four. The Sea Eagles have played some of their best football of the season over the past six weeks and with a strong side named including Peta Hiku, Nick Skinner and Kayne Lawton, the home side will expect to win. Wyong were no match for the Tigers in the first forty minutes last weekend but did manage to salvage some pride as they scored 18 late unanswered points to eventually go down 30-18. Wyong continue to play well in patches of games without really putting together a complete performance. If the Roos are to knock off Manly for the second time in 2013 they will need to complete a high percentage of their sets and keep the man in pink on side throughout.

Talking Point:
Magnus the Magnificent – A former Manly man who now wears the Green and Gold of Wyong is Magnus Stromquist. Stromquist has been a shining light for Wyong all year long and would only trail Mitch Williams in terms of being the clubs best player in their inaugural season. This kid only knows one way to play and that’s hard and straight, and expect him to put his best foot forward against his old club on the weekend.

Prediction: Manly have been much better of late and will look to register a rare home win. Sea Eagles by 8.
  
  
Newcastle Knights Vs Cronulla Sharks
Cessnock Sports Ground, Saturday, July 27
Kick-off: 5.00pm
Referee: Liam Nicholls
Broadcast: www.nswrl.com.au’s NSWRL Match Centre Scoreboard

Summary: A top of the table clash awaits here as the first placed Sharks head up to the Hunter to take on the second placed Knights at the Cessnock Sports Ground. Both of these sides head into this one following disappointing results in Round 19 with the Knights losing down in Canberra to Mounties 28-16 while the Sharks were held to a 16-16 draw by the tenth placed Cutters. The Sharks still look set to claim the Minor Premiership at seasons end regardless of this result, however a loss for the Knights could see them in third place by rounds end with only a small gap separating third and fifth. The Sharks were an undermanned outfit last weekend which contributed to the result against the Cutters but troops are back for this one with Dayne Weston, Nathan Gardner and Chad Townsend all named to play. For the home side, Timana Tahu has been named to play however he was also named last week but didn’t take his place while they will be without Tetevano who is 18th man for the Knights NRL side on Sunday. The Knights biggest loss of the year came against the Sharks in Round Seven when they were beaten 50-16 and we’re sure that this game would not have been forgotten by the players.

Talking Point:
Chanel No.5 – If try scoring emitted a scent, then at present it would smell like Chanel No.5. Chanel bagged all three of the Knights tries last weekend and has scored 10 in his last six outings with only one of those games not yielding a four pointer. A large volume of the Knights attack goes down their left side and the Sharks Young Tonumaipea will need to be on his toes all night long in defence.

Prediction:
The Knights to hand the Sharks just their second loss of the season. Knights by 7.
  
  
Windsor Wolves Vs Newtown Jets
Windsor Sports Complex, Saturday, July 27
Kick-off: 6.00pm
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: The fifth placed Wolves play host to the fourth placed Jets with a spot in the top four up for grabs to the winner. A disappointing loss to the bottom placed Bulldogs not only cost the Wolves momentum, it cost them their place in the top four, ironically enough, it was the Jets who replaced them. The Jets did so following a stirring come from behind win over the Vulcans last weekend. Ryley Jacks and Adam Henry both bagged doubles for the Jets while Henare Wells also kept up his rich vein of try scoring form as he crossed for yet another try. Despite the Wolves loss to the Bulldogs, their Fijian import in Eto Nabuli managed to cross the stripe for three tries to keep himself in the hunt to overtake Taqele Naiyaravoro (Tigers) as the seasons number one four point man. These two clubs have a spirited rivalry and that was on show earlier this year in Parkes when the Jets claimed the win 26-22 and no doubt the Wolves will be looking to return the favour at home.

Talking Point:
Set for take-off – It is hard to get a line on exactly where the Jets season is at in their defence of the VB NSW Cup title. They started the season very slowly by anyone’s standards yet now find themselves in fourth place with just six rounds to play and also have a bye up their sleeves. One could argue that this Jets squad isn’t quite as talented as the one that claimed the title in 2012, but in true Jets fashion, a lack of talent can be overcome with pride, effort and ambition. So are back to back titles on the cards? Only time will tell.

Prediction:
The Wolves to bounce back at home. Wolves by 4.
 
 
Wentworthville Magpies Vs North Sydney Bears
Ringrose Park, Sunday, July 28
Kick-off: 3.00pm
Referee: Michael Laverty
Broadcast: Radio Coverage courtesy of Triple H 100.1FM (Link available via the www.nswrl.com.au Broadcast page)


Summary:
A vital two points is up for grabs here as Wenty look to force their way back into the top eight while the Bears attempt to cement their place inside the top four. Despite sitting in ninth on the ladder, Wenty still have a bye to come as well as the two points that come with it however that reality is tempered by the fact that Wenty still have a trip away to Auckland as well as fixtures against Windsor and Cronulla to come. The Bears also face a tough run home with their Round 25 clash against Manly their only one against a side that is not currently sitting inside the top eight. In team news, Chris Sandow has once again been named to play for Wenty after withdrawing a fortnight ago due to injury and he will be joined in the halves by the very talented Api Pewhairangi. The Bears continue to field impressive sides and that is the case once again here with both Tom and Luke Burgess set to start up front which sees Josh Starling move to lock while Luke Keary comes back in at seven.

Talking Point:
Wenty Family Fun Day – Every year the Wenty Rugby League Club host a great ‘Family Fun Day’ where there are petting zoos and rides for the kids as well as plenty of other entertainment both on and off the park. With three games of footy on the day and the promise of fine weather between now and then, Ringrose Park promises to be the place to be on Sunday afternoon for football lovers and kids alike.

Prediction:
A close contest but the Bears should get home late. Bears by 6.

Wests Tigers 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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