Only two competition points separate the Illawarra Cutters and the Canterbury Bulldogs as they enter their clash this weekend, with a top-four spot up for grabs.
The Cutters currently sit in fourth, but are likely to drop out with a loss, while the Bulldogs could find themselves in the top four with a win depending on other results.
The Cutters have one of the biggest forward packs in the competition. Bulldogs coach Andy Patmore believes shutting them down will go a long way to winning the game.
“They’re the worlds’ biggest football team,” said Patmore.
“We’ve got to make sure that we control their roll on, [that] we try and take momentum off them as often as possible. But as I said they’re a massive team.”
There are many teams in contention for a top-four position, so this game is vital for both sides looking to pick up as many wins as they can at the business end of the season.
“Obviously at this time of year you want to get as many wins as possible, but as I said they’re a very big and a very good football team, so it’s a massive challenge again for us this week.”
Both teams are coming off a bye, however the Cutters entered the bye week with a win, while the Bulldogs carried a loss.
Patmore believes that due to the loss to the Wentworthville Magpies before the week off, the bye came for his team at a good time.
“[The bye came at a good time] due to Origin commitments and obviously coming off a loss against Wenty the week before, it was probably good for us to have a week off.”
The Cutters are the second-best defensive team in the VB NSW Cup, whilst the Bulldogs are ranked third in attack.
With plenty on the line for both teams, this match has all the makings to be an absolute thriller.
Illawarra Cutters v Canterbury Bulldogs: WIN Stadium, Saturday 27 June, 3:00pm
CUTTERS: 1 JUSTIN HUNT 2 TYRON CRANSTON 3 ETO NABULI 4 CHARLY RUNCIMAN 5 KITI GLYMIN 6 DREW HUTCHISON 7 SHANNON CROOK 8 GEORGE ROSE 9 CRAIG GARVEY 10 RORY O’BRIEN 11 NATHAN GREEN 12 ADAM TUIMAVAVE-GERRARD 13 RUSSELL PACKER 14 SAM COSTER 15 SHANNON WAKEMAN 16 TEKINA VAILEA 17 RULON NUTIRA 20 KAYNE BRENNAN 26 BRENT ANDERSON COACH SCOTT LOGAN
BULLDOGS: 1 JALINE GRAHAM 2 TYRONE PHILLIPS 3 CHASE STANLEY 4 JACOB LOKO 5 COREY THOMPSON 6 MATT FRAWLEY 7 DANE CHISHOLM 8 ANTONIO KAUFUSI 9 DAMIEN COOK 10 DANNY FUALALO 11 DAVID MINUTE 12 ADAM ELLIOTT 13 JASON SCHIRNACK 14 LEVI DODD 15 MAKAHESI MAKATOA 16 HERMAN ESE’ESE 17 BRAD CLARK 19 TAUTALATASI TASI COACH ANDREW PATMORE
This article first appeared on NSWRL.com.au