Here are the previews for the 2014 Harold Matthews Cup Preliminary Finals: 

Penrith Panthers Vs South Sydney Rabbitohs
St Marys Leagues Stadium, Saturday, May 3
Kick-off: 11.15am
Referee: Patrick Mackey
Broadcast:
NSWRL Match Centre coverage available via NSWRL.com.au

Summary:
 The Panthers have just one question mark on an impeccable season, a 40-0 loss to Newcastle in Round 8 of the regular season. Panthers fans will be hoping for a ‘I wouldn’t worry about that little guy’ situation as should they progress, Newcastle are favoured to be their opponent come Grand Final day. The Panthers are blessed with a wealth of talent and their back-rower Jake Gillett-Gow is a perfect example of this. Gillet-Gow is a NSW Under 16s Indigenous representative and he is everything you want in a modern-day back-rower. He is tireless in defence, has a burst of speed in attack and can create second phase play when it’s needed. The Bunnies are also well served in the back-row. Their lock and captain Cameron Murray was brilliant against Canberra. He just turned up everywhere he needed to be when he was on the field. An interesting stat is that despite having one of the best attacks in the competition, the Panthers have no one that features in the top try-scoring lists. Well balanced team or final series pretenders? Guess we find out that answer come about 1pm Saturday.

Prediction: We are leaning towards the well balanced team side of the argument. Panthers by 4.


Newcastle Knights Vs Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs
St Marys Leagues Stadium, Saturday, May 3
Kick-off: 2.30pm
Referee: Mark Bohan
Broadcast:
NSWRL Match Centre coverage available via NSWRL.com.au

Summary: As discussed above, the Knights snuck under the radar somewhat in the early parts of the season but they let the proverbial cat out of the bag when they flogged Penrith 40-0 in Round 8. This match sees the form team of the latter stages of the season taking on the form team of the Final Series. The Bulldogs have been damaging in their last two finals. Their big men have laid the platform for their outside backs and they have never looked back. If Anthony Gleeson had some time to pop down and watch their game against the Tigers, he would have seen some periods when their Dogs big boys went missing a little bit. They needed them for some tough carries and they weren’t there. If the Knights can hold their defensive structures then they will look to exploit these lapses. The Knights need big games from their props Pasami Saulo and captain Brodie Jones. Jones and Saulo need to get on top of Giordan Panda and George Francis if they are any chance to stop the Bulldogs juggernaut. Whichever side can lay the best platform for their backs will progress to the Grand Final next week. Plain and simple.

Prediction:  People have been talking the Knights up and we tend to agree with the masses although it won’t be as easy as everyone thinks, the Bulldogs will push them all the way. Knights by 4.

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