The Platinum Preview | Rounds 6 & 7

by Billy Johnson

We’ve reached the halfway point of the Platinum Pennant season and are starting to see which teams are making a firm push for the Top 5. Statistically speaking, every team is still capable of making the finals, but the road ahead for some sides will be far more difficult than others if they’re going to feature in the finals weekend at Warilla from 17-19 May.

Rounds 6 & 7 will be played this weekend and will likely turn out to be season defining for some of our sides! Let’s take a look at where each side sits and their upcoming matches.

Raymond Terrace Jets

Current Position: 1st

Upcoming Matches: Wenty Leagues (H), Merrylands (H)

The Jets are flying in first place and will look to consolidate top spot and a finals berth with two wins this weekend. Two home games at the Hangar is a significant advantage for Raymond Terrace when they take on Wenty Leagues and Merrylands.

The Jets will know that Wenty Leagues’ season is on the line this weekend and the Magpies will be travelling to the Hangar solely focused on a win. Following this match is a clash with the Merrylands Magic who are flirting with a Top 5 spot at the moment, just 1.5 points outside fifth place.

Keep an eye on the rink of Ian Lean, Lachlan Freeman, Shannon Gittoes and Peter Taylor who sit atop the player ladder and are just one of two teams unbeaten after five rounds with four wins and one draw with an impressive +46 margin.

Cabramatta Bullants

Current Position: 2nd

Upcoming Matches: Carlingford (H), St Johns Park (A)

Cabramatta bounced back from a loss to Taren Point with a statement win over the Warilla Gorillas last weekend and will be keen to continue their winning form against Carlingford who have lost their last four on the spin. The lone change for the Bullants is Jayden Gebbie coming into the side in place of Michael Phillips.

The same 12 will line up for their Round 7 clash against fierce rivals St Johns Park. These two clubs have a long history and another chapter will be added on Sunday morning when they go head-to-head. A win in this match will go a long way in securing a Top 5 finish for either team and the added bragging rights of winning their latest clash means that there is so much on the line in this match!

St Johns Park Saints

Current Position: 3rd

Upcoming Matches: Taren Point (H), Cabramatta (H)

Four wins from their first five games will have St Johns Park feeling good about their start to the season. They face 11th-placed Taren Point in Round 6 but will be wary knowing that The Point put Cabra to the sword last weekend, ousting the unbeaten Bullants. The Saints are coming off their first loss of the season and will have no intention of continuing that streak this weekend in front of their home crowd.

Following their match against Taren Point is a blockbuster derby clash with the Cabramatta Bullants. As we’ve already mentioned, there is no love lost in this fierce rivalry and the two sides will be desperate to claim a win – particularly if they meet again during the finals.

Look out for the rink of Cameron Cooper, Mat Pietersen, Phil Clarke and Ben Twist who will be aiming to keep their unbeaten streak going and lay the foundations for a St Johns Park win.

Mount Lewis Lions

Current Position: 4th

Upcoming Matches: Warilla (H), Engadine (H)

What an interesting season it’s been so far for the Mount Lewis Lions. They’ve won four matches on the trot after their Round 1 loss to Cabramatta and are coming into some serious form. Their Round 6 clash against Warilla poses a new test for the Lions though who are yet to beat a team in the Top 5. A win against the Gorillas at home will no doubt confirm Mount Lewis’ status as a force within this competition.

It’s another match in the Lions’ Den on Sunday, this time against the Engadine Cougars. Engadine are within touching distance of the Top 5 and will relish the opportunity to play teams above them and the chance to take their place. For the Lions, it’s another opportunity to cement their spot in the Top 5 as we work our way to the pointy end of the season. It will be particularly interesting to follow the rink match-up between South Australian legends and former Jackaroos Scott Thulborn and Wayne Ruediger who go head-to-head in this clash.

Warilla Gorillas

Current Position: 5th

Upcoming Matches: Mt Lewis (A), Carlingford (A)

The good news for Warilla – they’re in the Top 5. The bad news for Warilla – it’s by only 1.5 points. The Gorillas will want to solidify their spot in the Top 5 with two wins this weekend, and their Round 6 clash against fourth-placed Mount Lewis is the perfect opportunity to do so. A win will see the Gorillas jump the Lions on the ladder, and it promises to be a brilliant match with Kelly v Wise, Teys v Spurr and Henry v Thulborn.

Round 7 will see the Gorillas take on Carlingford and we’re thrilled to be live streaming all the action from this clash through our Facebook and YouTube channels!

Merrylands Magic

Current Position: 6th

Upcoming Matches: East Maitland (A), Raymond Terrace (A)

A trip to Newcastle faces the Magic who will line up against East Maitland and Raymond Terrace. Both the Griffins and the Jets have tasted defeat at home this season, which will boost Merrylands’ confidence as they make the journey north.

Despite winning three of their first five matches the Magic sit just outside the Top 5, and they will be without superstar Aron Sherriff for their Round 6 clash with East Maitland. Despite his absence, the Magic will be confident they can secure a win on Saturday before ‘Omar’ returns to the side on Sunday in time for a blockbuster clash with the Jets.

That’ll be the plan for the Magic, and only time will tell if it plays out that way!

Engadine Cougars

Current Position: 7th

Upcoming Matches: Belrose (A), Mt Lewis (A)

Engadine round out the three teams sitting on three wins after five rounds, and it’s only an inferior rink win total that’s keeping the Cougars out of the Top 5. They’ll look to change that when they play Belrose in Round 6, the winless Bulls still searching for that first victory. Engadine will know that previous records count for nothing on the day and will be looking to secure the win, ideally with as many rink wins as possible.

The Cougars then travel to the Lions’ Den to face-off against Mount Lewis. Despite being below the Lions on the ladder, the Cougars will be coming in confident knowing that a win will seriously boost their chances of a Top 5 finish.

East Maitland Griffins

Current Position: 8th

Upcoming Matches: Merrylands (H), Wenty Leagues (H)

It’s been a rollercoaster season for East Maitland with a combination of tight wins and heavy losses across their first five rounds – reflected in their hefty -71 margin despite winning two matches. Margin will mean little to the Griffins so long as they can win games, and having back-to-back matches at home will be a welcome boost for them.

Round 6 sees the Griffins up against the Magic, who will be without star player Aron Sherriff. Even without Sherriff the Magic still possess an imposing line-up, but the Griffins will be buoyed by his absence and hoping they can produce a win. Following Merrylands is Wenty Leagues, a team in a very similar scenario to the Griffins. Both East Maitland and Wenty are in need of back-to-back wins, and this match up may just guarantee that for one of them.

The Griffins have experimented moving marquee Jake Rynne into third for Josh Walker-Davis, and it paid dividends in Round 5 with a solid 24 – 15 rink win in Round 5. It will be interesting to see if this new combination unlocks something for the Griffins in the second half of the season.

Carlingford Koalas

Current Position: 9th

Upcoming Matches: Cabramatta (A), Warilla (H)

The season started so well for the Koalas with a statement win over Wenty Leagues in Round 1, but there has been little joy since with four-straight losses to their name. Incredibly, despite the 1 win 4 loss record the Koalas only have a net margin of -4 and have won almost half of the 15 rink points available to them in the first five rounds.

Turning their season around this weekend will be no easy task as they travel to Cabramatta to face the Bullants, and on the return journey will host Warilla at home. Despite the ominous challenge, Carlingford are doing what they can to get back into the winners’ circle, including shifting Zel Trbara into third for Darren Burnett, allowing for Stewart Anderson to take on a rink at skip with namesake Kevin Anderson slotting in at third for him.

Wenty Leagues Magpies

Current Position: 10th

Upcoming Matches: Raymond Terrace (A), East Maitland (A)

Wenty Leagues will also be preparing for a trip north to face Raymond Terrace and East Maitland over the weekend. The Magpies snapped a four-game losing streak last weekend beating Taren Point by 16 shots, and know that their winning ways will have to continue if they’re a chance of making the Top 5.

Raymond Terrace at the Hangar will provide a huge test for the Magpies, although having an undercover surface of their own may give them an extra bit of confidence in taking on the ladder leading Jets. It’s a similar story for the Magpies taking on the Griffins the next day, needing a win to keep their improved run of form going.

Taren Point

Current Position: 11th

Upcoming Matches: St Johns Park (A), Belrose (H)

Taren Point have a tough weekend ahead of them without star players Ray Pearse and Jay Bye-Norris, however if there’s one club that’s thrived under pressure over the years it’s The Point. An away match against St Johns Park will be no easy feat, but if they can manage a win there they will be looking for a double up in victories playing at home against Belrose the following round.

Much like Carlingford and Wenty Leagues, Taren Point will need something to start a revival for the second half of their season, and they’ll be looking to skippers David Axon, Harley McDonald and Kane Nelson to provide that spark.

Belrose Bulls

Current Position: 12th

Upcoming Matches: Engadine (H), Taren Point (A)

Belrose will be the first to admit that this is not the way they intended their season to start, anchored to the bottom of the ladder and searching for their first win. Despite this, there are still some positives to take away for the Northern Beaches side. Three of their five losses have been by nine shots or less, and in only one match have they failed to pick up a point, showing that they are in the fight.

You get the sense that the Bulls’ first win might be just around the corner, and a live streamed match at home in Round 6 could be the perfect platform to start their winning ways.

Click here to visit the Platinum Pennant webpage