The NSWRL Junior Representative competitions seemingly start a week early for a number of associated Wests Tigers teams this week, needing to record a win in their final game of the season.
From the five Harold Matthews, SG Ball and Tarsha Gale sides associated with the club, three are in the hunt for spots in the top eight with a week remaining, while two of the sides can secure a top four berth with a win in their final game this week.
Wests Tigers Tarsha Gale are the first side to watch as they take on Penrith tonight at Panthers Stadium prior to the Round 4 NRL clash between the two teams.
While the fourth-placed Wests Tigers aren't in danger of missing the finals, a win for the girls would secure them a spot in the top four and a crucial second chance. Victory over the Panthers could also see them finish in third (depending on the result of Saturday's game between the second-placed Knights and third-placed Eels) which would see them avoid likely minor premiers Illawarra first-up in the finals.
The Steelers would need to the seventh-placed Raiders and Newcastle would need to beat Parramatta for there to be a change at the top-of-the-table in the final week, so finishing third would be a huge boost for Wests Tigers can they get there.
Match: Wests Tigers v Panthers
Round 9 -
Venue: Leichhardt Oval, Sydney
On Saturday, attention will turn to Leichhardt Oval as Balmain look to secure a spot in both the Harold Matthews and SG Ball finals as they take on the Central Coast.
Currently in ninth position, the Harold Matthews Tigers sit just two points behind the Panthers (6th), Sharks (7th) and Eels (8th) heading in to the final week. Penrith have the bye and are secured a spot in the top eight, meaning that Balmain need either Cronulla to lose to the 13th-placed Dragons or Parramatta to lose to the 2nd-placed Knights and then record a win over the Roosters to sneak in to the eight.
Parramatta's game against Newcastle kicks off half an hour after theirs so they won't know whether their chances at the top eight are alive until after their game ends.
In SG Ball, the Tigers have already secured a top eight berth but are on the hunt for the top four in an incredibly tight ladder, with six teams all mathematically a chance of taking the minor premiership. Balmain are fifth but just two points behind all teams ahead of them and only one point behind the third-placed Raiders and fourth-placed Roosters — the latter of which they face off against at Leichhardt Oval.
Canberra are also up against the top-of-the-table Steelers, meaning that Balmain could feasibly finish third should they win their final game of the season.
Despite a number of impressive wins throughout the season, Western Suburbs will miss the finals in both the Harold Matthews and SG Ball competitions.
It's all set up for a thrilling weekend of action in the junior representative space, so match sure you tune in to the NSWRL Match Centre for all updates on the day!
NSWRL FIXTURES TO WATCH: ROUND 9
Tarsha Gale — Wests Tigers (4th) vs. Penrith Panthers (5th)
Friday, April 5 at Panthers Stadium, Penrith from 5:45pm AEDT
Harold Matthews — Balmain Tigers (9th) vs. Central Coast Roosters (12th)
Saturday, April 6 at Leichhardt Oval, Sydney from 11:30am AEDT
SG Ball — Balmain Tigers (5th) vs. Central Coast Roosters (4th)
Saturday, April 6 at Leichhardt Oval, Sydney from 1:00pm AEDT