VB NSW Cup Round 20 preview
The business end of the VB NSW Cup season is here with just five rounds left before the finals begin.
There is a four-way deadlock at the top of the table between Mounties, the Wyong Roos, Penrith Panthers and Warriors setting up a riveting finish to the end of the regular season. Mounties, the Roos and the Panthers enjoyed convincing victories over their opponents while the Warriors were stunned at home as the Manly Sea Eagles proved they can't be counted out of the finals race with an impressive 18-16 upset win at Mount Smart Stadium. Paki Afu crossed the try line in the dying minutes for the Warriors to seemingly clinch the win but was denied although replays appeared to show he had scored a fair try. Manly enjoy the bye this week and add another two competition points to their late-season campaign for the finals.
The Newcastle Knights also stole an incredible 35-34 last-minute comeback triumph after trailing 34-12 with 12 minutes remaining in their clash against the Canterbury Bulldogs. The Knights exploded to score four tries and Carlos Tuimavave kicked the winning field goal in an incredible finish. It was one of the all-time great escapes of the VB NSW Cup, as the Knights took sixth spot on the ladder and stamped themselves as a team to reckon with on their day.
The fifth-placed Bulldogs will attempt to bounce back this weekend against the in-form North Sydney Bears, who were too good for the Illawarra Cutters. Cody Walker was exceptional in the Bears' 44-32 win, scoring two tries and playing a major hand in several others. The Bears now sit in ninth spot, outside the top eight on points differential.
Round 21's action also features the eighth-placed Newtown Jets desperate to keep their finals hopes alive against the Warriors as the seventh-placed Cutters host the Penrith Panthers at WIN Stadium.