SG Ball Preview - Round Two
It was certainly an interesting Round One of the SG Ball Cup competition which no less than five of the nine games being decided by single digits.
The Sharks snuck home 18-12 against local rivals St George while the Pirates came within a whisker of a rare win over on the east coast when they went down 24-22 at the hands of the Western Sydney Academy of Sport.
Round Two action looks equally as exciting, and it will kick off with a rare Friday night fixture when the Dragons host the Steelers.
We touched on the complexity of this relationship during our Harold Matthews Preview (click here to read) and a number of these SG Ball kids will be vying with one another for spots in the St George Illawarra Dragons NYC squad in a month or so time. The Steelers outside backs had a big day out last weekend and the Dragons defence will need to be on its toes to contain them come Friday night.
Another big clash this round looks to be the one between the Sharks and the Tigers. Both sides posted wins in Round One and loom as early top four hopes. The Tigers have been the most successful side in this competition over the past two years while the Sharks, have knocked on the door of success in recent years only to have it close on them late in the season. A home match against the Tigers should give them an early season indication of just where their Premiership hopes lie in 2014.
One match that also jumps off the draw is the one between the Pirates and Storm over in Western Australia. Neither of these sides was able to post a win last weekend despite very valiant performances and both will have high hopes of registering a win here.
The NSWRL Media team will be at Morry Breen Oval on Saturday afternoon to bring you all of the action from the fixtures involving the Central Coast Centurions and the Canberra Raiders.
The Centurions were no match for the Steelers last weekend and will be hoping for a better performance on Saturday against a travelling Raiders team that will be looking to make it two from two on the road after a win over the Bulldogs at Belmore last Saturday.
A western Sydney battle royale awaits us out at Penrith when the Panthers, fresh from a Round One win over the Eels take on a Bulldogs side desperate to avoid an 0-2 start following their loss to the Raiders. As highlighted in this very column last week, Jayden Okunbor is definitely a player to watch here after he bagged two of the Dogs three tries last weekend. His clash with opposing centre, Robert Jennings should be an absolute beauty.
Other matches this round will see the Western Suburbs Magpies looking to make it back to back wins to start the year as they host Manly out at the Campbelltown Sports Stadium while nearby at New Era Stadium, the Parramatta Eels and Newcastle Knights will both be looking for their first win of the season when they clash at 4.30pm.
The North Sydney Bears will host the Sydney Roosters at TG Milner while the Rabbitohs play their first match of the year at Redfern Oval when the Western Sydney Academy of Sport side make the trip down to the coast.