Round 12 of the NSWRL Premier League.
First game is tonight (Friday) between the Bears and the Roosters at North Sydney Oval. Both these sides were involved in draws last weekend, the Bears drawing with Newtown, and the Roosters drawing with the Magpies in a high scoring match. It certainly won't be a walk in the park for Easts, but I'm picking they'll come away with the win.
Bears vs Roosters. Friday 27th June 2003, North Sydney Oval. Kick off at 7.30pm. Ref: Rod Lawrence.
The Balmain side host the Sharks at Leichhardt Oval on Saturday afternoon. After putting in a good performance against the competition leaders, the Tigers will give the Sharks a tough match. The confidence of the Cronulla side will have swayed a little after going down to bottom placed Manly in Round 11.
Although Manly are at the bottom of the ladder at this stage, they have already caused a couple of upsets and will continue to do so throughout the competition. The Dragons have been consistently good of late, so Manly will be hard pressed to cause an upset this weekend.
The Knights face a tough battle at home on Sunday with the visiting Parramatta side back on track in the competition and looking to regain some lost points from earlier rounds.
Knights vs Eels. Sunday 29th June 2003, Energy Australia Stadium. Kick off at 12.30pm. Ref: Jason Weinstein.
For the Souths side talented half Brett Kearney has been named at five eighth in his return from the injured list. Kearney ? who has impressed in his time with the first grade squad - has missed the past six weeks with a fractured left eye socket that required surgery.Souths are hoping to stay in touch with the Premier League top eight after last week?s 28-18 loss to the powerful St George Illawarra Premier League side but Newtown have put in some solid performances and may just burst their bubble.
Souths vs Jets. Sunday 29th June 2003, Aussie Stadium. Kick off at 1.00pm. Ref: Tony Archer.
The Cougars are only one game adrift of the Bulldogs so a win is critical for the Dogs in consolidating a top four placing. Johnathan Thurston will be out of action for a week after being suspended for a dangerous throw resulting from the Dogs loss to the Eels last week. Steven Hughes returns from injury to take his place in the centres replacing the injured Dayne Neirinckx.
Peter Lewis who was on the bench in the Panthers NRL team last week, returns to the Cougars side. This is the match of the round as far as I am concerned, two very even sides, it'll be a cracker!
Cougars vs Bulldogs. Sunday 29th June 2003, Penrith Football Stadium. Kick off at 1.10pm. Ref: Tony De Las Heras.
Jason Bulgarelli returns to the Raiders starting line-up after travelling to New Zealand with the NRL side last weekend. The leaders in the competition should be able to collect another two points, though any team travelling to Campbelltown usually finds the going quite tough.
Games at a glance:
Round 12 - June 27th - 29th.
Bears vs Roosters. Friday 27th June 2003, North Sydney Oval. Kick off at 7.30pm.
Tigers vs Sharks. Saturday 28th June 2003, Leichhardt Oval. Kick off at 2.50pm.
Manly vs Dragons. Saturday 28th June 2003, Brookvale Oval. Kick off at 5.15pm.
Knights vs Eels. Sunday 29th June 2003, Energy Australia Stadium. Kick off at 12.30pm.
Souths vs Jets. Sunday 29th June 2003, Aussie Stadium. Kick off at 1.00pm.
Cougars vs Bulldogs. Sunday 29th June 2003, Penrith Football Stadium. Kick off at 1.10pm.
Wests vs Raiders. Sunday 29th June 2003, Campbelltown Stadium. Kick off at 2.30pm.