Harold Matthews Preview - Round Three
Round Two of the 2014 Harold Matthews Cup competition saw a couple of nail biters grouped with some sides stamping their early season authority.
Both the Knights and Panthers registered gritty wins in low scoring affairs against the Eels and Bulldogs respectively while the Roosters and Raiders continued their unbeaten start to the year, posting comfortable wins.
In fact after the two rounds of play there are just the five sides left unbeaten. They are the Roosters, Panthers, Tigers, Raiders and Magpies.
At least one of these sides look set to relinquish this honour by the end of Round Three though because the 1st placed Roosters will head out to Campbelltown Sports Stadium late on Saturday afternoon to face the 5th placed Western Suburbs Magpies in what looms as the match of the round.
The Roosters attack has been in ominous form over the opening rounds, and their 90 points is some 30 more than the 2nd ranked Tigers offence. The Roosters captain, Lachlan Lam, has hit the ground running, having scored four tries already this season while his halves partner, Stephan Blair, has also chipped in with a couple of tries but has managed to convert 13 of his sides 16 tries thus far.
The Magpies form, despite still being unbeaten, has perhaps not been as polished as that of the Roosters. However their away win over the Knights in Round One now looks very good after the Knights tough win last weekend over Parramatta. The Magpies are always a tough proposition at home and the Roosters will need to be at their best to maintain their hold on top spot on the ladder.
Another interesting clash this round is the one between the Sharks and the WSAS. Both of these sides have a win and loss after two weeks of play and this weekend will present both of these sides with a great opportunity to keep their nose in front of the other in the race for finals spots.
The Western Sydney Academy side has been taking some great strides in the Junior Reps over the past couple of seasons and a win here coupled with what could be described as a ‘decent’ run home in relation to their draw gives them a realistic chance of pushing for a top eight finish.
The NSWRL Media team will be at the Cessnock Sports Ground on Saturday afternoon to bring you all of the action from the fixtures involving the Newcastle Knights and Manly Sea Eagles.
The Knights will be looking to make it back to back wins following their tough win over the Eels last Saturday while Manly are looking for win number two following a tough loss to the Magpies last weekend.
For full coverage of this match as well as the SG Ball fixture from Cessnock Sports Ground, head to the NSWRL.com.au homepage from 1.15pm on Saturday and click on the ‘Match Centre’ article for full updates.
Other matches this weekend will see the Parramatta Eels, desperate for their first win of the year, hosting the St George Dragons at New Era Stadium while up the coast at Morry Breen, the Centurions will play host to the visiting North Sydney Bears.
Balmain and the Bulldogs will renew acquaintances at TG Milner on Saturday while over at Erskineville Oval, the Bunnies will host a Melbourne Storm side that is also still looking for their first win of the campaign.
Wrapping things up for Round Three, see the Steelers host the Raiders down at Wollongong and out at Campbelltown Sports Stadium, the SWSAS will kick off a triple header at the ground when they face the Penrith Panthers.
Once again the NSWRL twitter account @NSWRL will be providing halftime and fulltime match scores and you can follow the account by clicking here.