Newtown Jets v Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs
Henson Park, Saturday, 25 May
The Newtown Jets will be out to avenge their tough four-point defeat to Illawarra when they host the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs at Henson Park on Saturday afternoon.
After managing to cross for six tries in an exciting 80-minute display of attacking football, they will be searching for a more disciplined defensive performance than the 38 points leaked last week. Having led 16-0 after 13 minutes against the defending premiers, they were unable to maintain their momentum and eventually conceded four second-half tries that saw them fall short.
Despite a disappointing result, they can take confidence in their previous winning performance against the North Sydney Bears, but will be desperately searching for consistency as they fight for valuable competition points throughout the bye period.
The Bulldogs will be out to continue their undefeated run with impressive performances over the Tigers and Wyong Roos resulting in a win and draw respectively.
Their 30-all draw with Wyong Roos last weekend showed their potential to compete with genuine title contenders in 2017, but much like their opponents, will be looking for a significant improvement defensively after conceding 30 points. Classy playmaker Josh Cleeland will be out for a strong showing against his former club, having signed with the Bulldogs at the back end of last year.
Mounties v Wyong Roos
Aubrey Keech Reserve, Saturday, 25 May
The Mounties will be out to claim back-to-back victories when they take on the first-placed Wyong Roos in a top-of-the-table clash at Aubrey Keech Reserve on Saturday afternoon.
The Mounties held off a valiant Wests Tigers outfit 20-18 in Round 10, but will be looking for a more consistent 80 minute performance after completing at just 67 per cent. Watch for Mitch Kennedy’s strong impact off the bench after running for 126 metres and recording 22 bone-crunching tackles in just 40 minutes of football last week.
Expect a few late changes an hour before kick-off, with Dave Taylor and Scott Sorenson named on an extended bench for the Raiders.
The Wyong Roos’ six-game winning streak came to a halt last weekend, but remain undefeated in seven games after a heart-stopping 30-all draw with the Bulldogs.
Boasting the best attacking record in the competition so far, they will attempt to continue their undefeated streak without star five-eighth Jayden Nikorima who will be sidelined for six weeks with a hamstring injury.
Considering an array of Roosters stars will be out due to Origin duties, expect the potential absence of Eloni Vonuceki, Brock Gray and Mitch Cornish who have all been named on the interchange and extended bench respectively.
New Zealand Warriors v North Sydney Bears
Mt Smart Stadium, Saturday, 25 May
Broadcast LIVE on Fox League (Australia) and SKY Sport NZ
The North Sydney Bears will attempt to end their two-game losing streak when they travel across the ditch to face the high-flying New Zealand Warriors.
The Warriors will be brimming with confident after a hard-fought win over the Wentworthville Magpies and will relish the home-ground advantage against a fellow premiership heavyweight.
The experienced Tu’imoala Lolohea has been instrumental in their success this season, particularly since his move to fullback with Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad’s rise to first grade. Expect another dominant performance from Albert Vete, who has been one of the most damaging front-rowers this season and ran for 172 metres in their win over the Tigers.
The Bears are coming off disappointing performances against the Newtown Jets and Blacktown Workers, however have maintained their position in the top four and their status as one of the best defensive sides throughout 2017. Completing at 49 per cent was their achilles heel last week and continued to dampen their opportunities to their class, but were valiant in defeat after conceding just one try in the second half.
Expect a big response from their brutal forward pack, in particular NSW Residents foward Cheyne Whitelaw and Rabbitohs Junior Cameron Murray, who have arguably been their most consistent performers so far this season.