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Preview: Round 25 VB NSW Cup

Jamie Anderson from NSWRL Media previews Round 25 of the New South Wales VB Cup.
Preview: Round 25 VB NSW Cup

Jamie Anderson

Windsor Wolves Vs Canterbury Bulldogs
Windsor Sports Complex, Friday, August 30
Kick-off: 7.00pm
Referee: Daniel Olford
Broadcast: Radio Coverage courtesy of Hawkesbury Radio 89.9FM (Link available via or on the Broadcast page)

Summary: While they still would not have given up hope of securing fourth place, the Wolves immediate attention will be on revenge as they look to turnaround a 32-30 Round 19 loss to the Dogs. Ironically, that loss may well end up being the difference between the Wolves making or missing the top four, and gaining the second chance that comes along with it. The Dogs will fancy their chances of making it two from two against the Wolves in 2013 as they are coming into this one off the back of the upset of the season, when they knocked off the Sharks back in Round 23. The Wolves have named an extremely strong side for this encounter with 10 of their starting 13 having tasted NRL action at some point, and perhaps this is a sign of what is to come once the finals kick off in a few weeks’ time. The Dogs also have plenty of talent in their squad although one player they will miss this week is young Lachlan Burr, who is set to make his NRL debut after a wonderful season in the VB NSW Cup. The Wolves have tasted defeat a few times this season to sides that they would feel they should have beaten, and no doubt Guy Missio and his troops will not want a re-occurrence of that here as they attempt to build momentum towards the finals.

Talking Point: Friday night’s a great night for football - The Wolves will finish the regular season with back to back home Friday night fixtures in what is a bit of a rarity in the VB NSW Cup. With the League’s club attached to the Windsor Sports Complex, one can imagine many western Sydney residents heading to the club for dinner and a beverage, and then just walking outside for the 7pm kick-off, enjoying the game, and then heading back inside the club post match to enjoy what the home side will be hoping is a big win.

Prediction: The Dogs have all rights to feel confident but I just can’t see the Wolves letting this one slip. Wolves by 14.

Auckland Vulcans Vs Mounties
Mt Smart Stadium, Saturday, August 31
Kick-off: 12.50pm NZST, 10.50am AEST
Referee: Daniel Caddy
Broadcast: LIVE on Sky Sports NZ and Fox Sports 1

Summary: Mounties cannot just assume that Wenty will lose to the Sharks on Sunday and will need to approach this clash against the Vulcans in Auckland as a must win encounter. A win for Mounties will see their top eight hopes live on for one more week at the very least regardless of other results, however a win, combined with a loss to Wenty will see them back in eighth spot and in control of their own destiny. The Vulcans could still finish as high as fifth but most likely look set to remain in their current position of sixth depending on other results. The Vulcans will be happy to be back at home after they have spent the past fortnight on the road which saw them defeat the Roos but go down to Wenty last weekend. The Vulcans have definitely been short on troops of late, however, with the Warriors NRL finals hope hanging by a thread at present, one can assume that the Vulcans will get decidedly stronger for the finals. The next few weeks for the Vulcans will be all about honing Willie Swann’s game plan and preparing for September while for Mounties, they still need a win or two just to get there.

Talking Point: Triple Header bro - Don’t party too hard on Friday night as this match is the first of three LIVE games to be shown on both Fox Sports 1 here in Australia but also Sky Sports over in the land of the long white cloud from Mt Smart Stadium. With action kicking off nice and early at 10.50am over here in Australia, be sure to be up and ready to catch all of the coverage of what is sure to be an exciting and intriguing match.

Prediction: Could definitely see Mounties getting up, but they are not consistent enough to tip with any conviction at present. Vulcans by 4.

Illawarra Cutters Vs Wests Tigers
Collegians Sports Complex, Saturday, August 31
Kick-off: 3.00pm
Referee: Ziggy Przeklasa-Adamski

Summary: Having lost their most recent two clashes by a combined margin of six points, the Cutters season is now officially on the line this round when they host a Tigers team that will be looking to bounce back from a disappointing loss to the Bears last weekend. Having led Norths 16-6 at half time, the Tigers were run over in the second period and Paul Fletcher would be keen for his side to gain some much needed confidence prior to the finals series. Technically speaking, talk of the Tigers and finals is somewhat premature as there is a scenario that may yet see them miss out altogether. If both Wenty and Mounties were to win their last two matches and the Tigers were to lose both of theirs, it is still possible for the Tigers to miss out, albeit highly unlikely. The scenario is far clearer for the Cutters though, they need to beat the Tigers this week and then repeat the does against Wenty in Round 26 and hope that Mounties drop at least one of their final two games against the Vulcans and Tigers and also hope that Wenty don’t upset the Sharks this round. Josh Drinkwater has been recalled to the Dragons NRL squad, meaning that Todd Ryan will once again deputise at halfback for the Cutters while for the Tigers, they get back the very talented Joel Luani after his recent stint in the NRL and he is bound to be full of confidence following that exposure.

Talking Point: Keep the paramedics on stand-by - Poor Paul McGregor… I mean regardless of what happens over the concluding rounds in terms of the Cutters qualifying for the finals, what this poor blokes heart at the moment. Here is a rundown of the Cutters last six games. Lost to Manly by 2, drew with the Sharks, beat the Vulcans by 1, beat the Dogs by 4, lost to Mounties by 2 and lost to the Knights by 4. Who would want to be a coach!

Prediction: Hard to tip the Cutters given their recent form and perhaps the Tigers will do just enough. Tigers by 2.

Manly Sea Eagles Vs North Sydney Bears
Brookvale Oval, Saturday, August 31
Kick-off: 3.00pm
Referee: Lawrence McDonell
Broadcast: Radio Coverage courtesy of Steele Sports Radio (Link available via the Broadcast page)

Summary: One of the very few games this round that is likely to have any real bearing on the way sides finish up the season on the ladder. A win here for the Bears would mean that they cannot finish any lower than their current position of third, and it would still give them some hope of claiming second from the Knights, however regardless of their finishing positions, a Bears V Knights final in week one would be the most likely result at present. Manly still look set to finish the season in 11th place but should be all fired up for one final game at Brooky on what is a huge triple header preluding a massive Manly Vs Melbourne NRL clash. The Bears did not play to their potential last weekend against the Tigers, particularly in the first half, and Wayne Lambkin will be hoping for a far more complete performance this weekend before they tackle the Vulcans in the final round. Jason Clark and Matt King may be late inclusions for the Bears depending on what happens on Friday night at Allianz Stadium with the Rabbitohs.

Talking Point: The Northern Eagles - Oh don’t worry, there is always plenty of feeling when these two sides clash. There always was before the failed merger, and there always has been in more recent times. Despite what I wrote above in terms of this game not meaning much to the overall picture, it will still mean plenty to everyone involved come Saturday.

Prediction: The Bears will want to build momentum heading into the finals and can’t afford to slip up here. Bears by 16.

Newcastle Knights Vs Wyong Roos
Newcastle No.2 Sports Ground, Sunday, September 1
Kick-off: 3.00pm
Referee: Liam Nichols

Summary: The Newcastle Knights pulled off the great escape last weekend at the Sydney Cricket Ground when they came back from a 22-0 half time deficit to beat the Cutters 30-26. Rick Stone will be hoping that his troops start a little faster this round when they welcome their neighbours to the south, the Wyong Roos, to the No.2 Sports Ground. The Roos were perhaps a shade unlucky to not get the points against the Jets last weekend when they were arguably the better side for the most part however couldn’t find a way to get over the line late. The Knights finish off the regular season at home with back to back home games against the Roos and Manly respectively. The Knights are yet to taste defeat during a home fixture in 2013 and will certainly look to keep that record intact over the coming fortnight. Former Knight, Marvin Filipo will come face to face with his former club for the first time here and is sure to be fired up for a big performance.

Talking Point: Thoughts and Prayers - The NSWRL would like to pass on their sincerest condolences to the Mata’utia family following the passing of their father last week. The Mata’utia boys are all some of the kindest souls you will ever meet and no doubt that this is a trait they got from their parents, their father included. Our thoughts and prayers are with you all during this difficult time.

Prediction: The Roos will be fired up for the local derby but the Knights class should prove too much. Knights by 13.

Wentworthville Magpies Vs Cronulla Sharks
Ringrose Park, Sunday, September 1
Kick-off: 3.00pm
Referee: Michael Laverty
Broadcast:’s NSWRL Match Centre Scoreboard

Summary: A real ‘David V Goliath’ feel to this one as the eighth placed Wenty Magpies will be out to hold onto their finals dreams for one more week when they welcome the all-conquering Cronulla Sharks to Ringrose Park. An understrength Wenty side pulled off a big surprise last weekend when they convincingly defeated the visiting Vulcans at home, but the Sharks loom large and will take a power of beating. The Sharks quickly rebounded from their Round 23 shock loss at the hands of the Bulldogs to completely blow away Manly to the tune of 54-0 last weekend. With the bye scheduled for Round 26, this will be the Sharks last hit out before a likely week one finals clash against the Jets, so Tony Herman will be looking for his troops to pick up where they left off last week. Two of the more exciting backrowers in the VB NSW Cup will clash here when Tyrone Peachey (Sharks) comes up against Kenny Edwards (Magpies) in what is sure to be an exciting battle. This will be Wenty’s final home game of 2013, and with all three grades on show this Sunday and the promise of fine weather, a big crowd is expected.

Talking Point: Premiership favourites - It is not hard to understand why Cronulla are heavy Premiership favourites when you cast your eyes across their team list this week. Nine of their starting 13 have NRL experience, while their bench consists of players like Matthew Wright, Daniel Moroko and David Fifita. Talent doesn’t always guarantee results, but it is certainly a good head start.

Prediction: Would love to see the Magpies get up but it would be hard to see the Sharks taking the foot off the gas as they approach the finals. Sharks by 12.

Newtown Jets 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.


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