At the time NSWRL went to Newtown coach Greg Matterson to discuss his game plan for the game against Wentworthville on Sunday, Chris Sandow was very much a focus of his defensive strategy.
Dropped from the Eels NRL side two weeks ago, Sandow played an instrumental role in a 40-point win by Wentworthville over the Warriors at their last start and controlling his unpredictable brilliance was set to provide plenty of challenges to the Jets this weekend.
Matterson’s tactics however will now potentially change somewhat with Sandow rumoured to have been recalled to the Parramatta line-up for their NRL match against Souths, meaning he will be absent at Ringrose Park on Sunday.
While a positive in one respect, the match loses some of its lustre with the Eels playmaker missing as the clash was set to provide a good measuring stick for in-from Sharks and Jets number 7 Todd Murphy.
With Murphy one of Newtown’s best through the first 10 rounds of the NSW Cup competition, the young Queenslander up against Sandow was shaping as a highlight.
The Jets v Magpies match however still promises to be keenly contested, with both teams desperate for a victory to remain in touch with the top teams.
The Jets will be bolstered by the return of a number of Sharks-contracted players, Junior Roqica and Tinirau Arona coming back from injury, while Sami Sauiluma and Pat Politoni, both missing while on the Gold Coast with the NRL team last weekend, have also been included in the Jets line-up.
The match is scheduled for a 3.00pm kick off at Ringrose Park on Sunday afternoon.
Following is the NSWRL.com preview, which was produced prior to the news of Sandow’s elevation to the Eels NRL team to play Souths tonight.
NOTE: also below is a link to highlights from the Jets last match, a narrow 26-24 loss to the Bulldogs at Belmore Sports Ground.
Both teams look to get seasons on track
A star-studded Wentworthville Magpies side featuring NRL star Chris Sandow are looking to make it two in a row against the seventh-placed Newtown Jets.
The Magpies have had a poor start to the year but a Sandow-injected performance inspired a massive 48-6 win last week and Jets coach Greg Matterson is adamant his side needs to vastly improve to stop another Wentworthville onslaught.
“We need to defend properly,” said Matterson. “We’ve got to improve our edge defence with Sandow and (Joseph) Paulo this week.”
When asked about his team's form coming into this week's match, Matterson made it clear that he is not happy with their last few weeks and that all his players need to improve across the park.
“Very disappointing,” said Matterson when asked about the team’s consistency and form. “At the end of the day, as a whole team we need a lot of improvement right across the board.”
Since Round Seven, both teams have only managed to record one win each. The Magpies will have momentum after last week's thrashing - but the Jets early season form proved they are a side capable of being there come Finals time.
The Jets will be looking to eventually force their way back into the top four, and are hoping that a win this week could set the platform to do so. At the same time, the Magpies will be looking to eventually move up the table away from second last where they are situated at the moment.
Sandow and Paulo are full of attack for the Magpies whilst Nathan Gardner and Todd Murphy provide very exciting football for the Jets. These players are capable of scoring and setting up tries from anywhere on the field, and this game will be a very entertaining with lots of attacking flair.
Match Highlights – Jets v Bulldogs – CLICK HERE