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NRL State Championship: Newtown, Burleigh make late changes

Fresh off winning their respective second-tier competitions, the Newtown Jets and Burleigh Bears will fight to be crowned NRL State Champions on Sunday.

The feeder team to the Cronulla Sharks, the entertaining Jets are looking to continue a miraculous run after coming from seventh to clinch the Canterbury Cup NSW title.

Burleigh, meanwhile, have been strong all year in Queensland's Intrust Super Cup, locking down a top-four spot before going up a gear in the finals to reign supreme.

With plenty of first-grade experience and predicted future stars in action, this clash shapes as a gripping precursor to the NRLW and NRL grand finals at ANZ Stadium.

The Rundown

Team News

Jets: There are major changes to the team announced on Tuesday with Matthew Evans and Luke Polselli replacing Aaron Gray and Tyrone Phillips in the backs. Billy Magoulias has switched to five-eighth, replacing Jack Williams, with Greg Eastwood brought in to start at lock. Siosifa Talakai has also dropped off the bench with Wes Lolo getting a call-up to the interchange.

Bears: Headlined by regular Titans winger Anthony Don, Burleigh will field 12 NRL representatives. Oliver Percy has been left off the bench from the final team announced an hour before kick-off with Jeff Lynch elevated to the interchange.

Key match-up

Both fullbacks grabbed man-of-the-match honours in their grand finals – so the battle between Will Kennedy and Kurtis Rowe should be one to savour.

A constant threat with his speed and agility, the Sharks-contracted Kennedy finished the extra-time try that ensured the Canterbury Cup trophy would belong to Newtown.

Former Wests Tigers player Rowe bagged a double and broke seven tackles in Burleigh's triumph. With a dry track forecast, the pair could run amok. 

For the Jets to win

Good things happen when Newtown throw caution to the wind. Having scored 20 points or more in their past nine matches, the Jets boast great confidence in attack and will back themselves to outscore Burleigh in a shootout.

For the Bears to win 

Given they also have a string of high-scoring wins in the bag, the Bears may well adopt the same mindset as Newtown and counter fire with fire. If that's the case, ball control will be crucial – there could be a hefty price to pay for errors with such strike power in both outfits.

Stat Attack 

The opposing halfbacks each possess a booming boot and could decide the outcome through their kicking.

Jets No.7 Braydon Trindall has punted the ball for an average of 179m per match compared to Jamal Fogarty's 248m every outing for Burleigh.

And another thing...

Neither club has won an NRL State Championship. Newtown haven't competed in the fixture since its 2014 inception, while the Bears squandered a chance in 2016.