Harold Matthews Preview - Round Nine
The final round of the Harold Matthews Cup kicks off this weekend with eleven teams still capable of making the final eight to progress to the finals.
With the Knights, Tigers and Panthers all guaranteed of claiming top-four positions, the Raiders, Roosters, Rabbitohs, Sharks, Eels, Sea Eagles, Bulldogs and Magpies will be left to battle it out for the remaining positions.
Front-runners Newcastle will be confident of claiming the Minor Premiership when they take on the second-last placed Melbourne Storm, but as results have shown throughout the season; anything is possible in Rugby League.
The Sydney Roosters and Manly Warringah Sea Eagles clash takes on extra significance this weekend, with Manly needing to secure a victory to keep their hopes of finals football alive. However, if the Sea Eagles were to lose a close match and any of their remaining competitor’s on ten competition points were to lose by a large margin, Manly could still sneak into the bottom half of the top-eight.
The Canterbury Bulldogs and Western Suburbs Magpies will face do or die matches when they take on Central Coast and South Sydney respectively, with a victory and results falling their way required to keep their hopes alive.
Canberra could secure an unlikely Minor Premiership if they defeat North Sydney and the Knights, Tigers and Panthers all suffer defeats. Whilst Cronulla will need to defeat the third-placed Panthers to assure they are not knocked out of the top-eight on differential.
Balmain will also have their eyes firmly fixed on the Minor Premiership, with a victory over Illawarra and loss to the Knights and Panthers, seeing them claim the top position on superior point’s percentages.
After a tremendous season of Harold Matthews Cup football, the final round promises to be an enticing entrée for finals football in 2014.
Once again the NSWRL twitter account @NSWRL will be providing halftime and fulltime match scores and you can follow the account by clicking here.