Saturday, September 16th – Sydney University Square – 4pm Kick Off
- Sutherland Seahawks (0-1) vs. UNSW Raiders (0-2)
- (Last Season SEA 6 – 24 RAI)
Last time these two met, the Raiders were 4-0 and sitting near the top of the GNSW table. The Hawks were stifled by the Raiders D, travelling to the UNSW red zone 3 times with no score coming out of any of them. They fielded Jason Lambropolous for the first time at QB after suffering injuries to their starters so they were chasing the win. Meanwhile, the Raiders D were thriving with star LB Marcos Delana leading the charge… how times have changed. This time around, the Hawks are well rested, coming off a bye in the previous week, whilst the Raiders are licking their wounds after being picked apart by Sydney Uni. Both teams are coming into this one with no wins on their records for 2017 so this will be beginning of a turnaround for one of these two.
Choc’s Prediction: RAI by 7
Saturday, September 16th – Sydney University Square – 7pm Kick Off
- Sydney University Lions (2-0) vs. Northern Sydney Rebels (0-2)
- (Last Season SYD 45 – 30 REB)
When these two teams last met, the Rebels were beginning their run to the playoffs. They had 0 wins on their record and with a close loss to the Lions, this gave them the push they needed to ride the wave of momentum into the playoffs (for the first time). The Lions were beginning to show some cracks in their armour but the heart of a champion showed and they pushed through and got the W in this one. The Rebels don’t look like they did last year, going down twice in the last 2 weeks to UTS and Wollongong, so they will need to come out and give a good performance this weekend to give their boys some momentum leading into the middle of the season. With dual threat Lions QB Ike Fuchs suffering a huge hit last week (by the hands of Raiders DL Ollie Richards), it gave the whole Uni organisation a good scare. However, he was able to come back and take a few snaps in the 4th quarter so it looks like he will be healthy to take on the Rebels this weekend. His run ability will be tested however with the Rebels big D Line looking to keep him at bay.
Choc’s Prediction: SYD by 14
Saturday, September 16th – Slade Park – 3pm Kick Off
- Northwestern Predators (1-1) vs. UTS Gators (2-0)
- (Last Season: NWP 38 – 44 UTS)
This should be an interesting one. Last year when we met, both the Predators and Gators had some injury troubles and were coming into this one with depleted teams. as I already mentoned though, the Gators had a secret weapon in the form of former NRL star, and their starting RB Matt Utai. The Gators pounded the turf and kept the ball moving behind their big O line and let Utai lead the charge. Their team was lacking in depth at the QB position with Jordan Rowland out for the season with an ACL injury so Ben Loudon stepped up. This year, the Gators have all their weapons back and will look to steal the win away from the Preds again. The Preds are coming off a shock loss to the Kings last week so we’ll be coming into this one pissed off and hungry to get back in the W column again. This one should be a great game to watch!
Choc’s Prediction: 😉
Saturday, September 16th – Slade Park – 6pm Kick Off
- Central Coast Sharks (0-1-1) vs. Newcastle Kings (1-1)
- (Last Season CCS 15 – 12 NEW)
Well it feels a lot different adding a “1” to the Kings record under their win record! I have to admit, they came out looking very different to the team we played last year and they deserved the win last week. The Sharks went into their clash with the Pirates last week with only 19 players suited up on the sideline so here’s hoping they have a few extra players when they take on the Kings. Last year, the Sharks just edged out a win over the Kings and took out the title of Kings of the North. This year, I think the battle of the north will be won by the Kings; their huge O line and great run game will be no match.
Choc’s Prediction: NEW by 7
Saturday, September 16th – Craik Park – 3pm Kick Off
- West Sydney Pirates (1-0) vs. Nepean Ducks (1-1-0)
- (Last Season: NEP 14 – 44 WST)
So up on the Central Coast will be the battle of the north, whilst down in Austral the Ducks and Pirates will fight out for the Battle of the West. The Pirates had a close win over the Sharks whilst the Ducks took it out over the Mustangs. It seems HC Glen Bowes had a 3-5-year plan for the Ducks and it looks like it’s beginning to come to fruition this year. QB Emil Johannsen came back from a season ending ACL injury in 2015, to beginning his tenure as the starting QB in 2016. Now in season 2017, Johannsen is linking up well with his receivers and it seems like the Ducks have made quite an improvement since last year. What will be interesting will be how the Pirates DB core, led by FS Blake Wotton, will look to stop the Ducks number 1 receiver Grant McNaughton. This one should be a cracker as well!
Choc’s Prediction: WST by 7
**Wollongong Mustangs have the Bye this week
*Photo Credit: 74Poppet Photography