*Photo Credit: TM Photography
Saturday, September 2nd – Zeims Park – 4pm Kick Off
- Sutherland Seahawks vs UTS Gators
- (Last Season SEA 10 – 0 UTS)
Last season, this was a very low scoring affair. The Hawks came out on top after keeping the UTS offense to just 46 yards of total gains throughout the game. The Gators suffered in this one without talisman RB Matt Utai, putting a lot of pressure on QB Ben Loudon to carry the O himself. This year, the Gators will be happy to see returning QB (and superstar RB) Jordan Rowland back among their ranks, pushing Loudon back out to WR and giving the UTS O some more attacking options. The Hawks will look to turn around their disappointing ending to season 2016, going down to the red-hot Rebels in the Quarter Finals. The Hawks D played outstanding in the latter end of the season, and they will look to continue this into week 1 of the 2017 season.
Choc’s Prediction: UTS by 7
Saturday, September 2nd – Zeims Park – 7pm Kick Off
- Wollongong Mustangs vs North Sydney Rebels
- (Last Season WOL 18 – 47 REB)
Last time around, neither team had a W on their record and the Rebels were able to pick up where they left off from the previous week and get their first win of the 2016 season. As stated in my Season preview, the Mustangs camp are very quiet about their comings and goings so I will have to wait until the season starts before I can give an educated opinion about their squad. But the Rebels, on the other hand, are quite vocal in the strength of their team and I can see this one being a repeat of last season. Watch for the Rebels secondary to get a few picks in this one.
Choc’s Prediction: REB by 7
Saturday, September 2nd – Slade Park – 1pm Kick Off
- Newcastle Kings vs Sydney University Lions
- (Last Season NEW 0 – 58 SYD)
The Lions travel to the Central Coast to take on the new look Newcastle Kings. With the addition of another import player in the likes of Isaiah “Ike” Fuchs, the Lions will look to continue their perfect record against the Kings. The Kings are coming off another successful Hunter Bowl in the offseason and have been recruiting heavily to their new look side so look for them to continue pushing their run game behind their big O Line. I don’t think the Kings will turn this one around but hey who knows, right?
Choc’s Prediction: SYD by 21+
Saturday, September 2nd – Slade Park – 4pm Kick Off
- Central Coast Sharks vs Nepean Ducks
- (Last Season CCS 20 – 26 NEP)
I said it before, and I’ll say it again. Every time these two teams meet, it’s a bloody close game. Last time, the difference was 6 points. Watch this one to continue down the same path. Both these squads match each other in skill, size, and ability so this one will be way too close to call. The Ducks have lost talisman RB (and GNSW legend) Stuart Etcell to retirement so they will be putting in a new RB in Jack O’Donnell. Can the Sharks D, led by LB Rhett Tos (of the legendary Tos lineage), stop the new look run game or will this one be an all Ducks affair? Only time will tell.
Choc’s Prediction: too close to call
Saturday, September 2nd – The David Phillips Sporting Complex – 3pm Kick Off
- UNSW Raiders vs Northwestern Predators
- (Last Season: RAI 48 – 16 NWP)
When we last met the Raiders, it was in the quarter finals. Our team was depleted due to injuries and we were run over by an incredibly strong Raiders outfit. This time around, both teams are meeting each other, fresh at the beginning of the season. There’s been a lot of moving around in the Raiders camp, with Head Coach Paul Manera cementing import QB Lukas Vojnar in for another season. Meanwhile, on the other side of the ball, LB Marcos Delana (who was on fire when we last played the Raiders) has not been cleared by his German team Dresden Monarchs to play in the GNSW so this will be a significant loss to their D; how will they fill that void? Meanwhile, the Preds are looking forward to their second season under HC (and former Offensive Lineman for the Preds) Nadim Sharbean. I don’t want to give too much away but the Preds are looking forward to hitting it out with the Raiders again, it’s always a good time when we meet. Oh and by the way, I’m not predicting my own teams scores anymore hahaha. Proved to be bad luck last season so let’s just see how it plays out.
Choc’s Prediction: 😉
**West Sydney Pirates have the Bye this week