Toyota Cup: Round 14 Previews
View Michael Buettners Toyota Cup Wrap
Warriors v Newcastle Knights
Friday – 6:20pm: Mt Smart Stadium, Auckland
Round 14 of the Toyota Cup will kick off across the Tasman with the Warriors hosting the Newcastle Knights at Mt Smart Stadium. The Warriors, have finally started to show glimpses of the form that saw them finish in the top four in the inaugural Toyota Cup season, and after recording their first away win last week, will be looking to consolidate a spot in the top eight.
Newcastle on the other hand have lost or drawn matches they were expected to win in the past few weeks, including the record 42-all draw against the fast finishing Bulldogs two weeks ago, and losses to the lowly Roosters and Cowboys. The club however has already defeated the Warriors once this year, and will need to draw upon the experience and knowledge from that game if they plan to turn their season around.
Referee: David Munro
Brisbane Broncos v Bulldogs
Friday – 5:20pm: Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
The second Friday night Toyota Cup match promises to be the match of the round with two of the inform teams of the competition going head to head.
The Broncos, led by future NRL stars lock Guy Ford and halfback Ben Hunt, will be keen to win at home after a tight loss last week to the Storm, whilst the Bulldogs will be looking at consolidating their spot in the top eight.
Keep an eye out for Pakisonasi Afu in the second row for the Bulldogs. Despite starting off the bench most of this season, Afu has an impressive 56 points to his name already this season and scored three tries against the Knights in their last clash.
Referee: Michael Wise
South Sydney Rabbitohs v Melbourne Storm
Saturday – 12:50pm: North Sydney Oval
While the Telstra Premiership sides from both clubs will be in Perth spreading the Rugby League gospel in the west, their Toyota Cup teams will be returning to one of the traditional grounds of the code, North Sydney Oval.
On paper, the Storm would be clear favourites for the match. Sitting in equal first place on the Toyota Cup ladder, the Victorian based side has been one of the most impressive outfits in season 2009. With the second best attack in the league, the Storm will attempt to run around the Rabbitohs, led by point-scoring machine and captain Gareth Widdop.
The Rabbitohs however have their own impressive attacking arsenal in the shapes of centre Junior Vaivai and winger Kane Morgan and will no doubt be looking to surprise the Storm who have a rare day fixture.
Referee: Luke Potter
Sydney Roosters v Gold Coast Titans
Saturday – 3:15pm: Bluetongue Stadium
Live on Fox Sports 2
The televised Saturday Fox Sports match, this game will be a classic battle of two teams desperate to turn their season around. The Roosters currently sit 15th on the ladder with three wins, while the Gold Coast Titans are 12th but have lost their last six matches on the trot.
For the Roosters, the player to watch will be fullback Luke Towers, who has been pivotal to the Bondi Junction based club’s few wins this year, while for the Titans Jordan Rankin, who made his NRL debut last year, will need a big game if his team is to secure their sixth win of the season.
Referee: Adam Devcich
Penrith Panthers v Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles
Saturday – 5:15pm: CUA Stadium, Penrith
Saturday’s match at CUA Stadium is a true David v Golaith encounter. In one corner, you have the impressive Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles who sit first on the ladder and have run over the top of most opponents in the Toyota Cup this year. In the other corner you have the true giant-slayers of the competition, the Penrith Panthers, who despite their inconsistent season so far have collected the caps of powerhouse clubs the Dragons and Raiders.
Players who will need to step up for the Panthers if they are to claim the scalp of another Toyota Cup juggernaut will be the Seijka brothers, Stirling and Harry who are back in the halves combination together.
Referee: Grant Atkins
Canberra Raiders v Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks
Sunday – 11:45am: Canberra Stadium
Live on Fox Sports 2
The National Capital will host the Sunday Fox Sports game, with the defending premiers hosting the current 16th placed Sharks.
On paper, the Raiders are clear favourites, with the side regaining some impressive form of late with the return of Josh Duggan from the NRL. The Sharks are chasing their first win since Round Two of the competition.
Referee: Gavin West
St George-Illawarra Dragons v North Queensland Cowboys
Sunday – 12:45pm: WIN Stadium, Wollongong
With ten wins from their last eleven fixtures, including a 48 – 16 victory over the Cowboys in Townsville in Round Nine, the Dragons are clear favourites going into this clash in front of a home crowd in Wollongong.
Boasting the likes of Beau Henry and Scott Rosser in the halves, and an aggressive point scoring backline featuring Raiwalui, Fai-fai loa, Whare, Linnett and Vickery, the Cowboys will need to improve their leaky defence to have any chance of winning.
Referee: Gavin Reynolds
Parramatta Eels v Wests Tigers
Monday – 4:45pm: Parramatta Stadium
Despite the Parramatta Eels currently sitting fourteenth on the Toyota Cup ladder, their position is not a true reflection of their performances so far this season. While the club has struggled to secure premiership points, they have been competitive and still hold a positive for and against.
The Wests Tigers meanwhile have a negative for and against after conceding over 320 points this season, but sit sixth on the ladder. Their aggressive risk taking style has secured some entertaining victories, but also some ugly losses when the passes haven’t stuck
Going into this clash with the Eels, whether the visitors will win will come down to that simple factor.
Referee: Ricky McFarlane
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