Harold Matthews Preview - Round Four
Despite the big wet late last week, we managed to get through all bar one of the Junior Representative fixtures, with the clashes between the Centurions and Bears scheduled for the Central Coast postponed to a time and date yet to be confirmed.
A number of the games that did go ahead though were severely affected by the weather, and this made for some interesting results.
This was highlighted by an 8-8 draw between the Tigers and Bulldogs which was actually scoreless at half time.
The Tigers remain unbeaten through three rounds thanks to that draw however it is the Panthers, Raiders and Magpies that occupy the top three spots after they all made it three from three last weekend.
Casting our eyes forward to this weekend’s games and there are a number of fixtures that catch the eye, but none more so than the battle of the unbeatens between the Raiders and the Magpies down in the nation’s capital.
Despite having posted three wins to open up the season, the Magpies are yet to win a match by a double figure margin, in fact both their round one win over the Knights and last weekend’s victory against the Roosters were by just the two points. But winning close games is often the hallmark of a good side and Shane Sultana will have a better idea of just how good his side is after this weekend.
The Raiders will be happy to be playing at home and avoiding a trip on the bus after spending the first three rounds on the road, but one possible cause for concern for the home side has been their goal kicking. Last weekend the Raiders scored six tries and didn’t convert one, and the story was much the same the week prior against the Centurions. The Raiders won both of these games comfortably however with a closer game on the cards here, some goal-kicking practice at training seems highly likely.
Another all top eight affair this round is the clash between the Sharks and the Roosters at Remondis Stadium on Friday night.
Both sides have started the year with two wins and a loss and ironically enough, both of the Sharks wins have been by the identical score line of 18-10.
Then on Saturday afternoon at the Belmore Sports Ground, fans will be treated to a smorgasbord of rugby league with not only two Junior Rep matches set to be played, but also two VB NSW Cup fixtures bookending the day.
The Bulldogs will take on the Rabbitohs in both the Harold Matthews Cup and SG Ball Cup at 1.45pm and 3.00pm respectively, and if you can’t make it out to Belmore on Saturday, Steele Sports and 2GLF will both be broadcasting these games as part of their coverage of this bumper day of footy at Belmore.
Other round four Harold Matthews Cup fixtures see the Panthers look to stay unbeaten when they host the Western Sydney Academy of Sport at Sportingbet Stadium in what is the first of five matches to be played at the ground on the day.
At noon on Saturday, Melbourne host the Central Coast down south while Illawarra host North Sydney at WIN Stadium in what is the first of three matches to be played there with the Illawarra Cutters playing the Wests Tigers in the VB NSW Cup at 3.00pm.
The Knights will be looking to maintain their spot inside the top eight when they head to WIN Jubilee to tackle a Dragons side that with a win may very well take the Knights spot in the eight.
The final couple of games of the round will see the South West Sydney Academy of Sport host the Balmain Tigers out Campbelltown on Saturday night while early Sunday afternoon at Brookvale, Manly will take on the Eels.
Once again the NSWRL twitter account @NSWRL will be providing halftime and fulltime match scores and you can follow the account by clicking here.