Here are the previews for the 2014 SG Ball Cup Preliminary Finals: 

Parramatta Eels Vs Penrith Panthers
St Marys Leagues Stadium, Saturday, May 3
Kick-off: 9.30am
Referee: Kieren Irons
Broadcast:
NSWRL Match Centre coverage available via NSWRL.com.au

Summary:
The Eels finished the regular season with just the one loss and coincidentally it was against the Panthers in round one of the competition. The 27-12 loss was the only blemish on an otherwise outstanding season for Mark Mahoney’s men. The Panthers have made their way to the Preliminary Finals the hard way after losing to the Roosters in a high scoring affair in week one of the finals before seeing off a late charge from the Newcastle Knights last weekend at St Marys. The Eels claimed back-to-back Harold Matthews premierships as well as National Championships and many of these players have graduated into this side so the pressure that comes along with finals matches won’t be a distraction. The Eels ooze class across the park. The front-row is one of the most intimidating in the competition and their back-row is as damaging on the fringes as they are in defence. The battle between the two five-eighths will go a long way to settling this match. Jason Vidal (Parramatta) and Nathan Cleary (Penrith) are two of the best young prospects in the SG Ball competition, and whoever can stamp their authority on the match here will more than likely book their side a Grand Final berth.

Prediction: The Eels will still have the round one loss in the back of their minds but their experience should be too much on the day. Eels by 4.


Sydney Roosters Vs South Sydney Rabbitohs
St Marys Leagues Stadium, Saturday, May 3
Kick-off: 12.45pm
Referee: Darian Furner
Broadcast:
NSWRL Match Centre coverage available via NSWRL.com.au

Summary: The big question for Arthur Kitinas and his South Sydney outfit is whether they can match this Roosters side in the firepower department. The Roosters have shown they know how to score points and do it quickly. The Roosters have piled on 122 points in their last three games so the Bunnies have to stop their rampant attack or go try-for-try with them. We saw plenty of promise last weekend in their game against the Tigers with some long range tries to fullback Tom Perrin and Jahmarley Leota-Fuimaono. We like the Rabbitohs halves pairing in Jaiden Brown and Liam Coleman. They both portray everything the green and red jersey represents. They are tough, smart and won’t take a backwards step and they’ll need every bit of their courage this weekend if they want to see their team into the Grand Final. The Roosters spine is all class. Grant Garvey, Jayden Thomas, Chad O’Donnell and Latrell Mitchell have caused team headaches all season. Mitchell’s speed makes him a danger when he decides to go himself and Garvey controls the ruck with ruthless efficiency, picking any weakness close to the line like he did in their 44-42 win over the Panthers a fortnight ago. Two traditional rivals squaring off with everything on the line. What more can you ask for!

Prediction: It is always hard to guess how a team turns up after a week off. The Bunnies will start like a house on fire but the Roosters will run them down. Roosters by 6.

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