The NSW Blues have been named for the first game of the 2017 #Origin series.
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NSW CUP MATCH PREVIEWS - ROUND 5
Auckland Vulcans Vs Newtown Jets
Mt Smart Stadium, Saturday, April 9
Kick-off: 3.00pm (NZST)
Referee: Craig Pascoe
Summary: A cracking game awaits us to kick off Round Five of the NSW Cup when the Newtown Jets cross the Tasman to take on the high flying Auckland Vulcans. Both of these sides posted solid away wins last week and will no doubt be chasing a victory here to keep the pressure on the top of the table Bulldogs who have the luxury of the bye this week.
Joel Moon took his medicine last week after falling out of favour with Ivan Cleary and was clearly best on ground at the Windsor Sports Complex against the Wolves while for the Jets, Mark Kheirallah continues to impress in the seven jersey and his combination with experienced outside back, Phil Graham, was integral in their win over the Bears last weekend.
With both the Roosters and Warriors NRL sides playing on the same card at Mt Smart Stadium, last minute changes to either one of these sides would not surprise particularly given that the Roosters have named a seven man bench. Meanwhile the Vulcans are set to perhaps have the services of the likes of Lance Hohaia and Shaun Johnson if they are not late inclusions in the Warriors NRL side.
Game Breaker: Isaac John - John has been a member of the Warriors extremely successful NYC sides in recent years but has also impressed enough to have played almost 10 NRL games during that same period. An elusive half that is not unlike his Vulcans team mate in Pita Godinet, John brings even more speed and attack to an already explosive Vulcans backline.
Prediction: Almost too hard to predict here but will favour the home side slightly on what should be a great day of league at Mt Smart.
Cronulla Sharks Vs Windsor Wolves
Toyota Stadium, Saturday, April 9
Referee: David Munro
Broadcast: Hawkesbury Radio 89.9FM (Link available via www.nswrl.com.au's Weekend Game-Cast)
Summary: The Cronulla Sharks pushed the defending premiers all the way last week in what was a high quality game of football. The Sharks were in the match right up until the final seconds of play and given the fact that their relatively new nucleus of players have only really been together for a month, the signs are looking good for the boys from the shire.
The Wolves on the other hand have appeared to be a shadow of the side that took to ANZ Stadium last October thus far this season after posting just the one win through four rounds. A lacklustre second half display last week against the Vulcans was not what coach Guy Missio would have wanted from his men and despite several personnel changes in the off season, the Wolves still field a side that should be far more competitive than they currently are.
The news gets worse for the Wolves with the Sharks adding to their roster with the addition of NSW Resident, Jarred Farlow last week plus there is speculation that fellow Resident, Rory Kostjasyn may also make a surprise appearance on the weekend.
Game Breaker: Tim Smith - Smith has been excellent for the Sharks early in the season and this is shown by the fact he is already an early contender for