Josh McCrone  : NSW Cup, Mounties V Bulldogs at Gio Stadium, Canberra. Saturday 9th May 2015. Pic by Robb Cox © NRL Photos

Mounties v Wyong Roos

Aubrey Keech Reserve, Saturday 16 May, 3:00pm

Mounties asserted themselves as the competition’s team to beat after a highly-impressive 58-18 victory against the Bulldogs following their first loss of the season against the Panthers.

“Making a statement was something we discussed,” Mounties coach Steve Antonelli said.

“We just wanted to be at our best and make a statement about where we stand in the competition. It could’ve been more had we not gone off track for a 15-minute period. But it’ll be a good test this week. Wyong are pretty tough.”

The Wyong Roos will be eager to bounce back from last week’s disappointing last-minute 28-24 defeat against the Wests Tigers in addition to seeking retribution against Mounties. Wyong pushed Mounties to the limit before they fell 21-18 in the first round of this season.

Mounties will enter the difficult encounter without in-form halfback Mitch Cornish who has been rewarded for his performance with a return to the NRL with the Canberra Raiders.

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“We still have Josh McCrone but I’ve got Sam Duggan who played at five eighth for Illawarra all of last year. He’s been going really well and is one of the form players this year.

“We’ve got a big forward pack too with Clay Priest back from injury so I’ve gained another forward which helps against Wyong because they like to play down the middle. It’ll be very physical.”

The game plan for Antonelli’s men is to dominate in the forwards in order for his talented backline to capitalise.

“100 percent, if you can hold them in the middle of the ground then our outside backs will make the difference,” Antonelli said. “Our backs, like Jeremy Hawkins and Bill Tupou, they’re NRL first graders.

“This week will be good. Wyong is a very physical side so it will be good to see where we stand.”