There is one Ronald Volkman statistic that will have both the North Sydney Bears and the Warriors on edge during tomorrow’s (Saturday 16 September) Preliminary final in The Knock-On Effect NSW Cup at Leichhardt Oval.
Kick-off is 2pm with the match live-streamed on the NSWRL Facebook page.
From 21 games this year, the Warriors halfback (pictured above) has 27 try assists as well as scoring eight of his own.
So Volkman carries considerable influence in getting his teammates to the NSW Cup Grand Final on 24 September at CommBank Stadium, where South Sydney is waiting.
“He brings a lot of calmness to our team by steering the ship so well for us,” Warriors middle forward Michael Sio told nswrl.com.au
“We all buy into what he wants us to do on the field out there.”
The Bears are well versed in Volkman’s talents – he made his NSW Cup debut with them in 2021 and played two seasons with North Sydney.
“He’s played at Norths so JT (coach Jason Tyalor) knows a bit about him so we’ve been doing some video on him,” skipper and lock forward Zach Dockar-Clay said.
“Both times we played them (in regular season) he was in their team so we’ve been watching him closely,” he said referring to the Bears wins in Round Three (20-12) and Round 10 (30-12).
“He will be their key go-forward and their key direction around the park. If we can limit his involvement that’ll be better for our hopes for sure.”
The Canberra Raiders tried that in last week’s Minor Semi-final and came off second best 49-6 – Volkman had four try assists among the nine the Raiders racked up.
The Bears come into the Preliminary final having lost their past three matches (Round 25 to the Panthers, Round 26 to the Panthers, then the Major Semi-final to the Rabbitohs).
“The thing is we just haven’t done ourselves any favours in those games. We were on top for periods in those games but can’t go on with it or we leave it until too late,” Dockar-Clay said.
The Bears were down 24-4 at half-time against the Rabbitohs but out-scored them 26-6 in the second half to lose the match by a converted try (30-24).
“There’s no second chance this week. Training has had a do-or-die vibe about it.
“This week we had a good opposed session with the Roosters NRL team before they went to Melbourne, which gave us a heap of confidence.”
The Bears also have Jake Turpin in their ranks – the most experienced player in terms of NRL games with 75 (Broncos, Roosters) including 15 this year. He played in the halves last week and returns to hooker this week.
For the Warriors, those nine tries a week ago is all the confidence they need.
“It definitely helps our belief and we’ve got a few boys back from injury and a couple of boys from the NRL so that’s boosted us too,” Sio said.
“I thought we put one of our best performances out there on the field last week and we needed to.
“We wanted to prove to ourselves that we’re a quality side and we can play finals-level football.”