NSW Cup preview – Round 9
After a slow start to their 2014 campaign the NSW Cup Sharks have bounced back to form with three consecutive wins before enjoying a week off with the bye last round.
The Sharks edged out the highly rated Panthers in their last encounter and will again need to be close to their best to be a Wentworthville team which moved to the top of the table with a comprehensive victory a week ago.
While set to be without City Origin hooker Michael Lichaa who has been called up onto an extended NRL bench, the Sharks will still field a strong line up, with high hopes for five eighth Penani Manumalealii after his standout performance for Samoa in the Pacific Test match last Saturday night.
Jonathan Wright, relegated from the Sharks NRL team, strengthens the NSW Cup teams’ backline.
The match is scheduled for a 1.00pm kickoff at Henson Park tomorrow (Saturday), with NSWRL media providing its weekly match preview.
Summary: A 50-32 win over the Knights last round saw Wentworthville move to the top of the competition table and they will be licking their lips at the chance to take on the reigning premiers at Henson Park this weekend.
After an indifferent start to the season, the Sharks have rattled off three straight wins and have now joined four other sides on 12 competition points. In fact, a win to the Sharks here would see them join Wenty on 14 points, such is the closeness of this year’s competition.
The Magpies are averaging around 34 points a game in attack and it is easy to see why with weapons like Justin Hunt, Luke Kelly, Vai Toutai and Bureta Faraimo all launching off the back of some wonderful forward play.
Wenty have three inclusions this weekend who all participated in last weekend Under 20’s Origin match. Ryan Matterson (NSW), Kaysa Pritchard (NSW) and John Folau (QLD) will all be out to impress here following solid performances last week for their respective states.
The Sharks had the bye last weekend, and amazingly enough, not one side has won in 2014 coming off the back of the bye.
The early bird gets the worm: We are calling on the Henson Park regulars to get out there early on Saturday and watch what promises to be a cracking game of football between the Sharks and Wenty.
Jets fans haven’t had a lot to cheer about of late, and while they will be willing on their troops in the later game, this match may well end up being the better of the two matches and promises to be worth the early arrival.
Prediction: Look for the Sharks to continue their good form of late and break the bye hoodoo. Sharks by 4.
Cronulla Sharks Vs Wentworthville Magpies
Henson Park, Saturday, May 10
Referee: Damien Briscoe
Broadcast: Radio Coverage courtesy of Steele Sports Radio (Link available viawww.steelesports.com.au)