NSW Cup Round 4 Match Preview vs St George Illawarra

By Wayne Cousins

Blacktown Workers are out to build on a strong last-start win when they tackle St George-Illawarra Dragons in Wollongong on Easter  Saturday for round four of the Knock-On Effect NSW Cup.

Coach Wayne Lambkin wanted to see how his players ‘bounced’ back against Parramatta Eels last week after a disappointing loss to the Sydney Roosters at home in round two.

The Sea Eagles turned in a dominant first-half performance to lay the foundation for an impressive 40-20 win over the Eels at CommBank Stadium.

“Defensively, we certainly improved our contact,’’ Lambkin said.

“Attacking-wise, we got back to what we trained for more in the pre-season and fell into that shape well which created plenty of opportunities.”

Lambkin said he was impressed with the performances of tryscoring lock Josh Schuster in just his second game of the season after missing the NRL trials.

“Josh created a lot of space for his halves, being able to dig in at the line and play the ball through the middle of the field,’’ he added.

“He is also in there defensively in the middle of the field which encourages him to lift his workload with the opportunity to go back and play on an edge. This helps his match fitness and keeps him more in the game for longer periods.”

Lambkin said the signing of experienced Fiji international half-back Brandon Wakeham is already paying off for the team.

“Brandon is very good at getting the team around the field and for your end of sets as his kicking game is very good,’’ Lambkin said.

“He has freed up (five-eighth) Jake Arthur to play some footy on the other side of the field knowing quite well that Jake doesn’t have to worry about all that other stuff.

 “It’s nice to have just two balanced halves there at the moment.”

New winger Watson Heleta crossed for three of Blacktown’s seven tries in the win over the Eels. He was the NSW Cup Player of the Year in 2019.

“Watson is just a solid footballer. He defends well. For not a tall winger, he does well under the high ball,’’ Lambkin added.

“He finishes off his tries and is always in a good position to score them too.”

Blacktown Workers will again field a strong side against the Dragons with Jamie Humphreys selected to return after missing the Eels game through a hip pointer injury.

Lambkin is very pleased with the progress of Humphreys and Gordon Chan Kum Tong as his hookers.

“Gordon started the game well and then finished the game well for us last week,’’ he said.

“There is nothing between them as players at the moment. They are both doing a good job.

“We have got everything to play for against the Dragons. The talk has been about backing up our performance from last week and building off the back of it.”

Kick-off is 3.10pm at WIN Stadium, Wollongong. The match will be shown live on Fox League.