Sides Win Through to 2018 Junior Representatives Deciders
Preliminary Finals at St Marys Leagues Stadium on Saturday (28 April) saw six sides – from six different clubs – book their places in the 2018 UNE Harold Matthews Cup, Harvey Norman Tarsha Gale Cup and UNE SG Ball Grand Finals, respectively.
UNE Harold Matthews Cup Grand Final – Parramatta Eels v Manly Warringah Sea Eagles
Runners-up in the Harold Matthews Cup last season, Manly ensured they'll have a chance to right the wrongs of 2017 when they downed the Penrith Panthers 22-10 in the first Preliminary Final.
Newcastle Knights were unable to seal a 2017 Harold Matthews Cup Grand Final rematch as the Under-16s Parramatta Eels overcame a scare to score a 36-12 win over last year's premiers.
Harvey Norman Tarsha Gale Cup Grand Final – Cronulla Sharks v Newcastle Knights
Competition high-flyers Cronulla Sharks kept on their winning ways, withstanding the efforts of St. George to run away 44-30 victors against the Dragons.
Speedy No.3 Faith Nathan bagged five tries in the 14-point win, all-but single-handedly ensuring the Sharks wouldn't be bundled out at the preliminary finals stage – as they were in 2017.
Newcomers Newcastle Knights will line up opposite the Sharks in the grand final on the back of their 26-16 win over the Wests Tigers.
On a tough afternoon for goal-kickers, blustery conditions saw the Knights prevail six-tries-to-four, setting up a clash with the Sharks – the side's last meeting in Week One of the Finals, Cronulla prevailing 40-38 that day.
UNE SG Ball Cup Grand Final – Penrith Panthers v Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs
Penrith slotted an extra time field goal to edge Cronulla Sharks 17-16 in the sides' epic preliminary finals clash.
The minor premiers find their way to the decider having lost to Newcastle in Week One of the finals, overcoming a gallant Sharks outfit to set up a date with the Bulldogs at Leichhardt Oval.
Finishing the regular season in fifth place, the Bulldogs are no strangers to playing with a 'win at all costs' mentality, having played sudden-death football for the past three weeks.
The mind-set was one which, ultimately, proved the difference in the end – Canterbury-Bankstown scoring a late try against Newcastle to nab a dramatic 32-28 win.