NSW Cup Preview: Mounties v North Sydney
MOUNTIES V NORTH SYDNEY BEARS
SATURDAY JUNE 13, 3.00PM, AUBREY KEECH RESERVE
Mounties will look to turn around a three match losing streak when they tackle the North Sydney Bears at home on Saturday afternoon.
After a brilliant start to the season which saw them secure seven wins in a row, Mounties has fallen from top perch on the VB NSW Cup ladder following an indifferent month of form.
“We had a great start to the year but we’ve let ourselves down over the last couple of weeks,” prop forward Kyle O’Donnell said. “Our discipline and dropped ball have been the two major things that have let us down. It’s hard to win games when you give the opposition that much ball so that’s something that we’ve got to turn around to get back on top.
Despite their past three results, Mounties is still well placed on the ladder, sitting in second spot and ranked as the second best attacking team statistically.
Giving Mounties further confidence is the fact that they welcome back Glen Buttriss and Mark Nicholls from injury whilst also having the exciting young talents of Luke Bateman and Tevita Pangai Junior back at their disposal.
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“It’s always good having Buttsy in the team, he provides us with a lot of direction from hooker, and having Mark back will lift the team as well,” O’Donnell said.
Unfortunately, Mounties will still be without the creative services of ball-playing fullback Jack Ahearn, who remains sidelined with a quadriceps injury. With Mitch Cronin returning to centre, John Kennedy has been promoted from the club’s Ron Massey Cup outfit.
Kennedy is a former Australian Touch Football representative who has previously had stints with St George Illawarra in the NYC and with Randwick in the Shute Shield.
North Sydney is sitting in 11th place on the ladder and although Mounties will be heavily favoured to beat the Bears, O’Donnell asserts that the team’s current run of results will mean that they will not be taking their opponents lightly by any means.
Whilst the Bears registered an inconsistent start to the year, they have picked up their form in recent weeks and have proven that they can beat the very best of teams in the VB NSW Cup, as evidenced by their 26-18 victory over the top of the table Penrith Panthers in Round 10.
“I think over the last few games they’ve been one of the form teams in the competition, despite the fact that they didn’t have the best start to the year,” O’Donnell said. “They’ve definitely shown their colours in recent weeks.
“You can’t take any game lightly regardless of where the opposition is situated on the ladder. We’ll have to be switched on this week and prepared to have a dig.”