Thursday night: Paramatta v Gold Coast, Homebush
Big game for Parramatta. Embarrassed by Newcastle, the Eels will be desperate to redeem themselves. Encased in the Hayne-Henry drama, the Titans are surely ready for the season to be over already. Expect a big Eels win here.
PARRAMATTA BY 20
Friday night: Souths v NZ Warriors, Homebush
With two straight wins, Souths are building momentum for 2018. The Warriors are a mess with six straight losses, so this should be a fun night for the five Souths fans who bother to show up. Souths by plenty here.
SOUTHS BY 18
Friday night: Brisbane v St. George-Illawarra, Lang Park
Brisbane should extend their 8-2 home record against the Dragons. St. George-Illawarra found form against the Titans, but a Brisbane team keen to secure a vital Lang Park qualifying final will be too hard for them. The Broncos – cheered by Nine’s commentators – will romp it in in front of another huge crowd.
BRISBANE BY 24
Saturday afternoon: Newcastle v Melbourne, McDonald Jones Stadium
Sadly, after three wonderful wins, Newcastle’s streak ends here. Melbourne have all but secured the minor premiership and will be preparing for another grand final push. The Knights will be competitive at home but Melbourne will have too much class.
MELBOURNE BY 10
Saturday night: Sydney Roosters v Wests Tigers, SFS
In bizarro world, the Roosters lost last weekend and the Tigers won. Normal service will resume as the Roosters have a top two spot riding on it. The Tigers are locked in a wooden spoon battle with Newcastle, but does it really matter? Roosters by plenty here.
SYDNEY ROOSTERS BY 18
Saturday night: North Queensland v Cronulla, Townsville
Last year’s preliminary finalists are both struggling with injury and poor form. Cronulla have lost two straight while North Queensland are in danger of slipping from the eight. The top eight is so close only one win separates the fourth-placed Cronulla and eighth-placed North Queensland. The Cowboys’ home advantage will be vital in a close game.
NORTH QUEENSLAND BY ONE
Sunday afternoon: Canberra v Penrith, Bruce Stadium
An early elimination final at Bruce Stadium with two of the pre-season favourites battling for a top eight spot. Canberra are doing their usual late run with three straight wins while Penrith have six straight wins. The big question? Will this game live up to the Bathurst heart-stopper? It probably will, with Canberra’s home advantage to tip them over the line.
CANBERRA BY ONE
Sunday afternoon: Canterbury v Manly, Homebush
Expect a big, angry Manly win here. Canterbury have given up while Manly want to atone for their shock loss to Wests Tigers. Manly also need a win to make their finals spot a little safer. The question is: how many Manly fans will show up to Homebush to watch them demolish Canterbury?
MANLY BY 20