The NSW Blues have been named for the first game of the 2017 #Origin series.
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VB NSW CUP MATCH PREVIEWS - ROUND TWENTY
Auckland Vulcans Vs Illawarra Cutters
Mt Smart Stadium #2, Saturday, July 21
Kick-off: 1.00pm (local time)
Referee: Ziggy Przeklasa-Adamski
Summary: The Cutters head across the Tasman on the back of a five-game winning streak and are arguably the form team of the competition. The Vulcans situation is a little different as they need to bounce back from their 24-20 loss against Mounties last weekend.
The Cutters have named one of their strongest line ups of the season with NRL strength players like Jeremy Latimore, Bronx Goodwin, Leeson Ah Mau, Nick Emmett and Atelea Vea are all expected to board the flight to Auckland Friday morning for Coach Paul McGregor.
Vulcans livewire Pita Godinet has again been named at fullback but expect to see him float around the field and pop up in the halves more often than not. The Vulcans have been playing a lot of adlib football in recent weeks but this week that kind of play will hurt them.
The Cutters have one of the most potent backlines in the competition and dropped ball will be punished to the full effect.
Talking Point: Last chance saloon - With seven rounds remaining in the 2012 VB NSW Cup, it is now or never for Ricky Henry and his chargers.
They currently sit three points outside the top eight and a loss here would have even the most loyal Vulcans supporter booking post season holidays.
Prediction: The Vulcans will be desperate and fight till the death but we just think the Cutters are going too good at present. Cutters by 8.
Balmain Ryde-Eastwood Tigers Vs Manly Sea Eagles
Leichhardt Oval, Saturday, July 21
Referee: Chris Sutton
Broadcast: Triple H 100.1FM (Link available via the www.nswrl.com.au Broadcast page)
Summary: The Tigers put in one of the performances of the year last weekend at Leichhardt Oval as they handed the then competition leaders, the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs, a 33-16 defeat. What was most impressive is the fact that they did it with only one specialist front-rower against the best forward pack in the VB NSW Cup.
What would have also pleased Paul Fletcher was the form of Nathan Waters against the Dogs. Waters was in everything, he had the ball on a string, he was putting blokes through gaps and he was dogged in defence.
The Sea Eagles currently sit in 12th position and are probably out of the finals race but we have seen plenty to like from them this year. The Tigers face another week without a plethora of front-rowers so it will be up to experienced players like David Harris, Jarrod Farlow and Masada Iosefa to stand up to the Manly pack. It will be interesting to see if the Tigers can back up their game against the Dogs against a team which has nothing to lose.
Talking Point: Lolly Legs #bro-edition - Krisnan Inu