Wests Tigers Intrust Super Premiership side, Western Suburbs Magpies, will be out to continue their strong season this Saturday when they take on the Blacktown Workers Sea Eagles at Leichhardt Oval for their Round 14 clash.
Fresh off the bye last weekend, Brett Hodgson's side head in to the match sitting in third position on the competition ladder — a standing that doesn't tell the full story of the team's success so far this year.
After running dead last in the Intrust Super Premiership competition in 2017, a new-look NRL squad and reserve-grade coach in Hodgson saw the side improve greatly in depth and experience and start the year with a string of impressive performances. Two big wins to start the year were haltered by a stunning upset in Round 3 — Wyong fighting back to win 23-22 after the Magpies lead the match 18-2 at half-time.
That wasn't to be the only time the side would suffer a heartbreaking defeat in the final minutes, with a a 25-24 loss to the North Sydney Bears in Round 6 and 23-22 loss to the Newtown Jets in Round 12 seeing the Magpies drop from top spot on the competition ladder to third, two points off the first-placed Mounties.
Saturday's game sparks a crucial three-game stretch for Magpies between the Round 13 and 17 byes, with three consecutive home matches against the Sea Eagles (6th), Bears (10th) and Dragons (4th).
They'll follow that up with a home game in Round 18 against the top-of-the-table Mounties, before finishing the year with an incredible six away games in a row — something which will require the side to maintain the same discipline and resolve shown throughout the first half of the season to date.
So far this season, the Magpies currently lead all teams in tackle breaks, post-contact metres, kicks, kick metres and kick return metres and also rank inside the top three teams for offloads, run metres.
Captain Luke Garner has been a standout for the side with eight tries in 12 games (the most by any forward in the competition) while the Magpies have the best defence of any team with 17 points against per game.
Kickoff for the match is at 12:45pm AEST from Leichhardt Oval on Saturday, June 9.
Live coverage is available via FOX League (Ch.502) with coverage to begin from 12:30pm.
INTRUST SUPER PREMIERSHIP ROUND 14
Western Suburbs Magpies vs. Blacktown Workers Sea Eagles
Saturday, June 9 at Leichhardt Oval (12:45pm AEST)
1. Watson Heleta
2. Harry O'Toole
3. Braden Robson
4. Toni Tali
5. Lucas Price
6. Tyson Gamble
7. Pita Godinet
8. JJ Felise
9. Jacob Liddle
10. Sauaso Sue
11. Chris McQueen
12. Luke Garner (capt.)
13. Bayley Sironen
14. Joseph Ratu
15. Cowen Epere
16. Patrice Siolo
18. Matt McIlwrick
Coach: Brett Hodgson