Jamberoo face tough test as finals approach

Nowra's Michael Blattner pushes down APOF's Shane Faricy in the Sunday derby. Picture: GREG TOTMAN

Nowra's Michael Blattner pushes down APOF's Shane Faricy in the Sunday derby. Picture: GREG TOTMAN

RUGBY LEAGUE

Jamberoo captain-coach Matt Coelho believes the Superoos face their moment of truth this weekend against premiership favourites Warilla.

The fifth-placed Roos moved a step closer to a finals berth with Saturday's 44-20 road win over Berry-Shoalhaven Heads.

Fullback Jarrod Schodde had a day to remember, crossing for three tries and booting six goals for a personal 24-point haul.

But Jamberoo kept victory celebrations in perspective, knowing they still weren't assured of a top-five place.

The Roos have the most challenging schedule of any team over the closing two rounds. After taking on competition leaders Warilla away on Saturday, they finish the regular season with a home game against second-placed Shellharbour.

"We've got two massive games coming up and that will really tell us where we're at and if we're going to be a force in the competition," Coelho said.

"We'll definitely have to step up another notch because they're the best two teams in the competition. We're really excited to play them."

If not for a surprise loss to last-placed Port Kembla three weeks ago, Jamberoo would be unbeaten in their past five games.

"If we do end up beating these two teams, it means we've beaten everyone in the top five."

Coelho believes the title race is wide open.

"It's anyone's ball game," he said.

"We believe we've got the team to go all the way."

The Superoos set up their win against Berry with a dominant first-half display, taking a 26-0 lead into the second half.

"We played near-perfect football in the first half," Coelho said.

"The tries we scored were all from good ball movement and our talk in defence was great, probably the best we've had all year."

The Magpies' finals hopes are almost over after four consecutive losses.

Kiama broke a six-game losing slide with Sunday's 44-8 thrashing of Milton-Ulladulla, Shellharbour beat Port Kembla 32-22, while Nowra-Bomaderry cruised to a 66-16 victory over Albion Park-Oak Flats.

Table: Warilla 33; Shellharbour 31; Nowra-Bomaderry 24; Gerringong 23; Jamberoo 21; Kiama 19; Berry-Shoalhaven Heads 18; Albion Park-Oak Flats 12; Milton-Ulladulla 10; Port Kembla 9.

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