NSW Cup Previews - Finals Week 2

Cronulla Sharks v Wentworthville Magpies
Leichhardt Oval, Sunday, September 18
Kick-off: 1.00pm
Referee: Matt Noyen
Broadcast: Triple H 100.1FM (Link available via www.nswrl.com.au's Weekend Game-Cast)
Broadcast: 2GB Continuous Call Team (Link available via www.nswrl.com.au's Weekend Game-Cast)

Summary: The Sharks left their run late at Toyota Stadium last Sunday but ultimately flew home with a wet sail to defeat the Bears 28-20. Having trailed 20-6 at the main change and faced with the daunting task of running into the breeze in the second stanza, even the Sharks faithful would have been doubting themselves, however a four tries to none effort in the second forty saw the black, white and blue book themselves a showdown with Wentworthville here. The Magpies effort was the complete opposite to that of Sunday's opponents as they lead the Jets 16-0 at one stage before being run down by the Jets in the second half. These two sides have faced off only twice in the regular season with both victories going the way of the home side. The Sharks were too strong for Wentworthville way back in Round Seven winning 34-6 while Wentworthville returned serve at Ringrose Park in Round 14 winning 33-26. Some quality match ups right across the park but no more so than in the engine room. The clash between the respective book ends in Pele Peletelese and Manase Manuokafoa for the Magpies and Johnny Mannah and Siosaia Vave for the Sharks is one that may have a huge bearing on the outcome of this match. A quality clash between two sides that contain plenty of strikes weapons.   

Talking Point: Tim Smith and Daniel Mortimer - Opposition halves that careers have an eerie similarity about them. Both hit the ground running at Parramatta and drew early comparisons with the likes of Sterling and Kenny before them. As an Eel, Smith claimed the Dally M Rookie of the Year honour in 2005 while Mortimer was just beaten for the same award by Jamal Idris in 2009. Both players possess unquestionable talent however have struggled to hold down a place in first grade recently. However with both of their respective NRL affiliates out of the Telstra Premiership Grand Final hunt, perhaps one of these two men can have the last laugh by leading their side to a NSW Cup Premiership and reinvigorate their careers in the process.

Prediction: The Sharks have been the more consistent of these two sides throughout the season and have to lean their way in this one. Sharks by 4.

Newtown Jets v North Sydney Bears
Leichhardt Oval, Sunday, September 18
Kick-off: 3.00pm
Referee: Jon Stone
Broadcast: Triple H 100.1FM (Link available via www.nswrl.com.au's Weekend Game-Cast)
Broadcast: 2GB Continuous Call Team (Link available via www.nswrl.com.au's Weekend Game-Cast)
Broadcast: NSWRL Match of the Round to be aired on Fox Sports 2 HD and Fox Sports 2, Wednesday, September 21, 4.30pm

Summary: The Newtown Jets put a sluggish start behind them to overcome the Wentworthville Magpies in front of a parochial home crowd at Henson Park last Saturday while the North Sydney Bears couldn't find a way over the try line in the second half and ultimately that cost them any chance of victory against the Sharks. The Jets have had the better of these sides' two clashes thus far in 2011, winning by ten points on both occasions, 34-24 at North Sydney Oval in Round Four and 20-10 at Henson Park in Round 12. The Jets have only lost twice in the last 12 weeks and one of those was a narrow two point loss to the Sharks, so their confidence should be sky high while the Bears form has been slightly more erratic than that of their opposition but they have still had some pleasing results in recent times. One of the match ups that appeals on paper at least appears to be that of Curtis Johnston and Sam Latu. Two vastly different wingers but equally effective in their own right. Johnston is a prolific tryscorer and a noted high flyer while Sam Latu is a devastating ball runner who is never shy to put his hand up for some dirty work. Another clash that could shake the foundations of Leichhardt is that between George Burgess and Francis Tuigamala. Two of the biggest human beings in the game and I for one would not like to be paying for their groceries!                 

Talking Point: The tradition lives on - What a sight it is set to be this Sunday as two foundation clubs facing off in an elimination final at one of our games traditional venues, Leichhardt Oval. The Bears and the Jets, 100 plus years of history, what more can you say? Let's get it on!

Prediction: Starting to think that the Jets could be the Dogs biggest challenger for the title. The Bears are not without a chance but have to favour the Jets style of play if this one turns into a real arm wrestle as expected. Jets by 7.