Wentworthville Magpies v Mounties: Fight for the Perch
Pirtek Stadium, Saturday 9 April
LIVE Broadcast on FOX Sports Channel 501
Saturday’s Fox Sports Match Of The Round sees a top-of-the-table clash between Wentworthville and Mounties at Pirtek Stadium, as a curtain-raiser for the Eels’ NRL clash with the Raiders.
The home side, currently perched on top of the Intrust Super Premiership NSW ladder, faces strong opposition in the second-placed Mounties; just two for-and-against points separate the two sides, while Mounties have posted a massive 92 points from their two games on the road this year.
Mounties’ 50-nil thrashing of the injury-ravaged Cutters sent tremors across the rest of the Intrust Super Premiership NSW last week and Magpies coach Joey Grima believes they are deserved competition favourites in 2016.
“Mounties have been a good side over the last two or three seasons,” Grima told NSWRL.com.au.
“They’re a really good side and with the halves that they’ve got and with the experience in the signings they’ve bought, they deserve to be favourites.”
Grima, however, was quick to point out that it’s his own team that will be the focus in the lead-up to the potentially season-defining match.
“I’m not too concerned with them at this stage; it’s just more about the processes that we’ve got to achieve to adhere to our goals and standards,” the Wentworthville mentor said.
“I think it’s the ability to stay in the grind, I know it’s a cliché but completion rates and possession don’t really lie and if you can maintain the ball more than the opposition and complete high, you’re going to give yourself every opportunity.
“The big thing that we’re trying to impress on the whole club is that we’re consistent and the continuity from first grade to Intrust Super Premiership – and to a lesser point, the under-20s – is all the same, so whilst we’re working on our structures and coaching philosophies, completion rates and possession is the key for us.”
Most important to Grima is his responsibility to promote player development to the NRL – and while fill-ins Kaysa Pritchard and David Gower return to the Intrust Super Premiership NSW in Round 6, Daniel Alvaro earns a career-first NRL starting spot after some strong performances for the Magpies this year.
Grima couldn’t be happier with his young prop.
“The results look after themselves and as I’ve always said it’s my job to create an enjoyable and competitive environment in the Intrust Super Premiership. If they’re playing well enough and consistent enough, it’s going to put pressure on players that are above them,” Grima said.
“I’m really stoked that he (Alvaro) has been elevated to NRL and I’m sure that in the not-too-distant future there’s a couple of other guys putting their hands up for positions given any injuries, illnesses or suspensions.”