Newtown Jets and Canterbury Bulldogs will face off in the Intrust Super Premiership Grand Final at Leichhardt Oval on Sunday.
TEAM FORM GUIDE
Newtown Jets finished the regular season in third place and lost their week 1 final against St George-Illawarra Dragons 28-26. They proved too good for Mounties in week 2, before providing the upset of the season in beating runaway minor premiers Penrith Panthers 28-24 last Saturday with Briton Nikorima scoring a double.
Canterbury Bulldogs ended the preliminary rounds in fourth spot and like the Jets needed to go the long way to play on Grand Final day. A loss to Penrith in week 1 was followed by a ten point win over Wyong in week 2. Despite a strong finish by the Dragons in the Grand Final Qualifier, the Bulldogs won 28-26 to book their place in the decider
Newtown Jets are 1-13 for the Grand Final. Familiar faces in the side include former Rabbitoh Aaron Gray, son of NRL Sharks coach Kyle Flanagan playing at halfback and Ava Seumanufagai with over 100 games to his name. Anthony Moraitis skippers the side.
Canterbury Bulldogs will be without Matt Frawley for the decider after leaving the game early last Sunday with a foot injury. Fa’amanu Brown will partner Josh Cleeland in the halves, while Zac Woolford will play at hooker. Lachlan Burr and Chris Smith are handy additions for the Bulldogs.
There will be a wave of support for the Newtown Jets come Sunday as they look to win their first Intrust Super Premiership Grand Final since 2012. That year they came from seventh spot to beat eighth placed Balmain Ryde-Eastwood in the decider.
It could be a wonderful afternoon for Kyle Flanagan. He’s on the cusp of making the Cronulla Sharks NRL side, having already appeared in the top grade this year. Flanagan finished the season as the second highest pointscorer in the competition.
William Kennedy has produced an excellent season out at fullback and his free-running and ball playing skills could prove the difference between the two sides.
A win for the Canterbury Bulldogs will make them the most successful club in the NSW Cup since the competition was restructured in 2008, winning the title back to back in 2010 and 2011.
The desperation to give PNG International Rhyse Martin a three-second cameo just weeks out from the finals series has been a significant boost for the club.
Talented halfback Josh Cleeland will be looking to add the ISP title to his already ISC title with the Ipswich Jets. His running and short kicking game is a big reason why he’s won the best half in the competition two years running.
Newtown won the two regular season encounters against the Bulldogs. At Belmore Aaron Gray’s 77th minute try was the match winner at 22-20, while the Jets were too strong at Henson 20-6 in their last meeting.
JETS: Will Kennedy, Bessie Aufaga-Toomaga, Aaron Gray, Reubenn Rennie, Sione Katoa, Jack A Williams, Kyle Flanagan, Kurt Dillon, Blayke Brailey, Ava Seumanufagai, Briton Nikora, Anthony Moraitis, Jaimin Jolliffe. Interchange: Billy Magoulias, Matt Evans, Braden Uele, Wes Lolo, Jesse Marschke, Addison Demetriou, Malakai Houma.
BULLDOGS (from): Mason Cerruto, Josh Bergamin, Morgan Harper, John Olive, Jayden Okunbor, Josh Cleeland, Fa’amanu Brown, Renouf To’omaga, Zac Woolford, Francis Tualau, Ofahiki Ogden, Rhyse Martin, Greg Eastwood, Bronson Garlick, Lachlan Burr, Jack Nelson, Chris Smith, Zac Cardassilaris, Brandon Wakeham
THE IMPORTANT DETAILS
Date: Sunday, September 23
Venue: Leichhardt Oval
Kick-off: 3pm AEST
RADIO: SWR Sports 99.9 and online https://www.swr999.com.au/ss1.html
SWR SPORTS PREDICTIONS
Dan Pettigrew: Bulldogs by 2
Jack Clifton: Bulldogs by 2
Jon Gallow: Bulldogs by 10
Johnny Pett: Jets by 7
Div Tibdixious: Jets by 4
Keyan Kramer: Bulldogs by 4