The NSW Blues have been named for the first game of the 2017 #Origin series.
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NSW CUP MATCH PREVIEWS - ROUND 20
Newtown Jets Vs Auckland Vulcans
Henson Park, Saturday, July 23
Referee: Michael Laverty
Broadcast: www.nswrl.com.au's Weekend Game-Cast, proudly brought to you by Teamm8
Summary: The Newtown Jets were fresh and rested after a three week spell before last weekend's hit out against the Tigers and it showed as they ran away from them in the second half to record a 30-10 win while the Vulcans didn't even have to break a sweat as they were taking it easy back at home courtesy of the bye.
The Jets will not need to be reminded of the potency of this second placed Vulcans side having witnessed it firsthand early on in the season, and no doubt that 60-10 loss at Mt Smart Stadium has not been forgotten by those wearing the Blue of Newtown.
Both of these sides are returning to something like full strength and with the run to the finals on in earnest both of these sides will be looking to not only solidify their respective places in the top four, but also finish as high up the ladder as possible.
With the possibility of this match being played in less than perfect weather conditions, the question must be asked how will the Vulcans razzle dazzle style of play hold up in the wet.
Game Breaker: Mose Masoe - Having burst onto the scene in the NSW Cup early in 2010, Masoe has gone on to play plenty of first grade for the Roosters in the subsequent 12 months but a few niggling injuries of late has restricted the big guys effectiveness.
However a solid first up outing for the Jets last week against the Tigers should see him all fired up for what looms as a big test against a huge Vulcans pack in conditions that are likely to see a lot of the play up the middle third of the park. The Jets will need Masoe and his fellow forwards to keep putting their hands up if they are to get over the line.
Prediction: The Jets should be desperate to atone for a 50 point loss to the Vulcans back in Round Five and the wet conditions forecasted may assist their cause. Jets by 8.
Manly Sea Eagles Vs North Sydney Bears
Brookvale Oval, Saturday, July 23
Referee: Shane Rehm
Broadcast: Triple H 100.1FM (Link available via www.nswrl.com.au's Weekend Game-Cast)
Summary: The Sea Eagles are quickly turning into the Jekyll & Hyde of the NSW Cup, looking like superstars one week and a team that are sitting in tenth place on the ladder the next. After a wonderful showing against the fifth placed Wentworthville the week before last, Manly plummeted back to earth with a 46-6 loss to the Bulldogs last Saturday.
The Bears haven't looked much better recently and would not have been happy dropping the two points at home to the Wolves last round. The Bears are in a dogfight with the Tigers and Centurions for places in the lower half of the eight and with the Wolves winning last week, and given they also get two points for the bye this week, they too can not be fully discounted from top eight calculations.
Neither of these two teams are what you would call