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One side recorded a strong win and the other suffered a close defeat, but together the Newcastle Knights junior representative teams have a unified focus of playing finals footy.

That's the situation following round six matches against the South Sydney Rabbitohs at Redfern Oval on Saturday. 

The Club's Harold Matthews team continued their winning form with an impressive 34-16 win over Souths, while the SG Ball fought hard in a close 32-26 defeat. 

With just three matches remaining before the finals, the 16s are in third position and the 18s are clinging onto eighth position. 

Harold Matthews coach Tony Gleeson was pleased with his side's performance against the Rabbitohs, especially in defence.

"In the second half we invited them back in with a bit of ill-discipline, but to the boys credit their defence was really good," Gleeson says.

"We’ve been coming up with some long periods of defence on our line and that’s probably the thing that’s winning us games.  

"We’ve been working hard on that aspect at training as well and the mental side of how they defend off their line.

"I’ve been talking to them a lot how it is their attitude in that situation and they’ve just got to keep working hard.

"So that’s been the most pleasing aspect, because if you want to win rugby league games you have to defend.

"That’s something we weren’t very good at to start the year, but they have really developed in that area."

Gleeson believes every player stood up in a tough game against Souths, but he pinpoints a few stand out performers.  

"Kurtis Dark has been good for us every week, while Nicolas O’Meley also had a really good game on the weekend," he says.

"He is in the centres and he is just getting better and better each week with his defence and strong carries.

"Our captain Brodie Jones always puts his hand up and goes well, as does Luke Casson our front-rower and Tom Starling."

The Harold Matthews side now turns their attention to a home clash against the Central Coast Centurions on Saturday.   

Gleeson insists his side will be ready for the Centurions, especially with the finals just weeks away.

"Top three is good for us, because top four you get a second bite at the semi-finals if you don’t go too well in the first week," he says.

"That has been a target of ours in the last few weeks, but we’ve got three tough games to go.

"So we’ve just got to keep our focus on this week against the Centurions and then we’ll look to the final two weeks after that."

In contrast to the happy scenes in the Harold Matthews camp, the SG Ball side was left shattered after they let a six-point lead in the second half slip to lose. 

As much as coach Trevor Ott was devastated with the result though, he took plenty of confidence out of his team's fight with two key players on the sideline injured.  

The side lost forward Faitotoa Faitotoa prior to kick-off with a broken bone in his foot suffered the week before against Canterbury-Bankstown, while fellow big man Ryan Glanville came off in the first half with a dislocated shoulder.

Ott says his side tried hard in the absence of Faitotoa and Glanville, but couldn't hold on in a closely fought match.

"We are heartbroken with the way that we lost," Ott says.

"We led 26-20 in the second half and in that last 10 minutes we should have put South Sydney to bed.

"But we weren’t good enough and with our execution we came up with a few wrong options.

"We’ll learn from that experience and we’ve got to pull our socks up and move forward.

"It was tough with those injuries, but the guys out there put up a good fight.

"Hopefully both Faitotoa and Glanville will be ok for next week, but we'll assess them later in the week.   

"I suppose moving forward, we’ve just got to regroup at training, set ourselves some goals and look forward to the Central Coast this weekend." 

Harold Matthews:

Newcastle Knights 34 (T: T.Starling 2, L.Casson, B.O’Hagan, B.Musgrove, M.Cooper; O’Hagan 5 goals) d South Sydney 16.

SG Ball:

South Sydney 32 d Newcastle Knights 26 (T: J.Mackin 2, B.Robson, A.Hamilton, C.Edwards tries; B.Lamb 3 goals).