Round 5 of the VB NSW Cup is here and a number of upsets and close matches in round 4 will ensure an exciting round. The Wentworthville Magpies got their first win of the season last weekend at the hands of the Illawarra Cutters while there were three games with 18-16 score lines.
Illawarra Cutters vs Newcastle Knights @ Ziems Park
The Cutters are struggling with just one win all season, despite boasting a formidable roster. The Knights have a 2 win, 2 loss record but are coming off an impressive display where they beat the defending premiers, the Penrith Panthers. Peter Mata’utia comes up against his younger brother Pat in this clash to be played in Corrimal, just north of Wollongong.
Penrith Panthers vs Wests Tigers @ Pepper Stadium
The third-placed Tigers travel to Pepper Stadium to tackle the Penrith Panthers, with both teams coming off narrow losses. In round 4, the Panthers fell 18-16 to the Knights while the Tigers went down 26-22 to the high-flying Mounties. The Tigers have a number of NRL experienced players in their squad with the likes of Keith Lulia and David Nofaluma which are great assets at NSW Cup level, while Josh Drinkwater has been in excellent form in his return to Australia. The Panthers have a 2 win, 2 loss record and will want to get back in the winners’ circle to maintain pressure on the top 4 sides.
Newtown Jets vs Wentworthville Magpies @ Henson Park
The Jets return to Henson Park to host a Magpies side full of confidence after their first win of the season against the Cutters in round 4. Jets halfback Todd Murphy has been in great form in 2015, and with the Sharks NRL side struggling, he can’t be far away from a call-up. Magpies playmaker Luke Kelly was prominent in his sides’ win over the Cutters. Adam Quinlan returns to the side and he has a chance to impress NRL the Eels’ hierarchy with some solid performances for the Magpies, starting against the Jets.
Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs vs North Sydney Bears @ Belmore Sports Ground
The Bulldogs climbed into 6th position on the ladder following their strong 34-24 win over the Wyong Roos, while the 12th-placed Bears put in an improved showing against the warriors in New Zealand to go down by just 2 points. The key for the Bears will be to back up that performance with another solid display against a strong Bulldogs line-up that is boosted by the inclusion of Antonio Kafusi who boasts 145 NRL games and 77 games in the European Super League to his name.
Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles vs Mt Pritchard Mounties @ Central Coast Stadium
With Brookvale Oval unavailable this game is moved to Central Coast Stadium with the Sea Eagles facing a tough assignment against the undefeated Mounties, who have strolled to 4 straight victories. Much of that success has been on the back of halfback Sam Williams who has been rewarded with an NRL call-up to the Canberra Raiders. In comes Mitch Cornish, a talented playmaker who has been dropped due to the Raiders’ poor form.With just one win to their name, and a leaky defence that has conceded 132 points thus far, it’s hard to see the Sea Eagles stopping the Mounties’ charge.
Wyong Roos vs New Zealand Warriors @ Morrie Breen Oval
After overcoming a determined Bears outfit in round 4, the 2nd-placed Warriors take on a Roos outfit that beat the Knights for the first time in round 4. Nene Macdonald has been named on the wing for the Sydney Roosters at NRL level, but also for the Roos, but he will likely play for the Roosters and a good performance could see him playing for the Roosters for some time. Api Pewhairangi has been in outstanding form for the Warriors and will again be the go-to man in attack.