SG Ball Preview - Round Six
Some cracking games were fought out during round five of the SG Ball Cup with two draws being played out as well another couple of fixtures being decided by less than a try.
You can actually make the above figure three draws in the SG Ball competition over the past seven days when you factor in the 16-16 draw between the Centurions and Bears in Tuesday night’s round three deferred match up at Morry Breen Oval.
The Panthers four point win over the Roosters sees them the only unbeaten side left in the competition after five rounds, and with three home games to finish the season following this weekend’s away match against the Bears, the Panthers must now be favourites to take out the minor premiership.
Turning our attention to this weekend and there are a number of huge matches slated for round six with plenty of sides almost in a position where a loss may well spell the end of their finals hopes.
One such clash is the one between the Balmain Tigers and the Melbourne Storm. Entering this clash the Storm find themselves sitting in seventh place while the Tigers, following a loss away to Manly last week, sit in ninth. The Tigers have been the most successful side in this competition over the past couple of seasons however a loss here would certainly leave them with it all to do over the final three rounds.
Another big clash will be the one between the Centurions and the Sharks up on the Central Coast. The Centurions will need to show plenty of grit and resiliency after they have played out draws against both the Pirates and Bears over the past seven days. A loss here for the Centurions may well end any hopes they had of a spot in the eight by seasons end. The Sharks enter round six in sixth place on the ladder but a loss to the Centurions would almost certainly see them relinquish their spot in the eight by the end of the round. With tough matches still to come against the Panthers and Parramatta, the Sharks will be desperate to head back south with the two points here.
Perhaps the other biggest fixture in terms of defining a sides finals chances will be the one between Wests and Parramatta. After starting the season well, Wests have taken just the one point from their last three outings and as a result find themselves sitting in eleventh position with a tough match up against the Eels here. A loss here for the Magpies would leave them at least a win and a half outside the eight with three match remaining against sides that currently sit in the top four (Penrith, Illawarra & Souths).
Other matches this round see the Bulldogs and the Roosters go at it out at Belmore on Friday night and then on Saturday, the Steelers will look to keep the pressure on the Panthers when they host the Western Sydney Academy of Sport at WIN Stadium.
Manly and the Pirates will be playing for pride when they clash at Brooky on Saturday in a game that look spretty even on paper at least while over at Redfern Oval, the Rabbits and Knights will duke it out in an all top eight clash.
Down in the ACT, the Raiders will take on the Dragons as they look to force their way into the eight while back in Sydney the North Sydney Bears will have their hands full taking on the Panthers after having already played two matches in the last seven days.
Once again the NSWRL twitter account @NSWRL will be providing halftime and fulltime match scores and you can follow the account by clicking here.