SG Ball Preview - Round Nine
After eight rounds of intense competition, the final round of the SG Ball Cup will take place this weekend with eleven teams remaining a mathematical chance of making the top-eight.
With only two points separating the top five teams, the final round could see the Eels, Panthers, Roosters, Rabbitohs or Tigers named the Minor Premiers at the completion of the regular season.
The most vital match of the round looks to be the clash between the Newcastle Knights and Melbourne Storm, with the winner guaranteeing themselves a position in the top-eight and the loser missing out on finals football in 2014.
Cronulla will need to pull off one of the upsets of the season if they are to remain a chance of making the top-eight when they take on the second-placed Panthers. If the Sharks win, they will also need Balmain to defeat Illawarra to guarantee their position. If the Panthers win, they will need Western Sydney to defeat Parramatta to claim the Minor Premiership.
The Eels look most likely to claim the Minor Premiership, with the front-runners taking on eleventh-placed Western Sydney. However, if the upset does occur and Cronulla also defeat Penrith, the Roosters would need to defeat Manly at Henson Park to claim the Minor Premiership.
The Rabbitohs also remain a mathematical chance of winning the Minor Premiership; however they would require the Eels, Panthers and Roosters to all stumble at the final hurdle.
In the middle of this log-jam sits the Canberra Raiders who can finish as high as second position, or as low as tenth depending on various results.
After eight weeks of competition, the SG Ball Cup is set to host one of the most anticipated finals series in recent memory.
Once again the NSWRL twitter account @NSWRL will be providing halftime and fulltime match scores and you can follow the account by clicking here.