North Sydney, the Warriors and Illawarra have kept their finals hopes alive with much-needed wins in their Round 21 VB NSW Cup clashes.
The Bears bounced back into the top eight with an upset victory against Andy Patmore’s Bulldogs at Leichhardt Oval. Ben Gardiner’s boys were trailing by six points at the break before exploding in the second half, scoring 30 points in the final stanza. The Bulldogs end the round in sixth position despite the 36-16 loss.
The Warriors, coached by club legend Stacey Jones, consolidated their position near the top of the table (third on for and against) after a two-point win against the Jets at Henson Park, 30-28. It was a tale of two halves on Saturday afternoon, with Warriors no.7 Mason Lino and Newtown’s Sharks-contracted playmaker Todd Murphy both instrumental for their sides. The Jets sit in ninth position, a win below the Bears and Cutters with four weeks of regular-season competition remaining.
The Cutters, however, pulled off perhaps the biggest upset of the weekend by defeating the defending premiers Penrith at WIN Stadium. Scott Logan’s team won on the back of some strong forward play as well as a double to Nathan Green, who has played plenty of first grade with the Dragons.
Round 21, which saw Newcastle, Wests Tigers, Wyong, Manly, Mounties and Wentworthville have a week off, marks the end of the byes for 2015.
Round 22 promises to be one of the highlight weekends of 2015, with Penrith and Moutnies, Norths and Warriors, Wests Tigers and Newtown and Wyong and Canterbury clashing in just some of the mouth-watering match-ups.