Thursday night: Brisbane v Parramatta, Lang Park
Brisbane can get a step closer to sealing a top two spot by beating Parramatta. The Eels rebounded against Gold Coast but the Broncos should be too strong.
BRISBANE BY 12
Friday night: Canberra v Newcastle, Bruce Stadium
Technically Canberra are still a “mathematical chance” for the finals, so a win over Newcastle is vital. The Knights were overpowered by Melbourne and Canberra’s desperation – and revenge after the Mother’s Day loss – will be enough.
CANBERRA BY SIX
Friday night: Wests Tigers v North Qld, Campbelltown
If North Qld don’t win this, they don’t deserve to play finals. The Tigers upset them in round six, but North Qld have too much to play for to entertain another upset.
NORTH QLD BY 10
Saturday afternoon: Gold Coast v Canterbury, Robina
A tough game to promote, with both teams out of the finals race and the Titans reeling from the Hayne v Henry soap opera. Canterbury had a surprise win over Manly, so that momentum should be enough.
CANTERBURY BY 18
Saturday night: Melbourne v Souths, AAMI Park
This is a surprisingly intriguing game. With the minor premiership sorted, will Melbourne rest their stars for the finals or try to maintain their momentum? Souths have three straight wins and an upset wouldn’t surprise. Still, the Storm are super professional and are unlikely to clock off so close to the finals.
MELBOURNE BY TWO
Saturday night: Cronulla v Sydney Roosters, Shark Park
A massive top four battle at Shark Park. The Roosters are on Brisbane’s tail for a top two spot while the Sharks can seal double chance with a win. Cronulla’s home record is modest (5-6), so the Roosters’ desire for a top two finish should be enough.
SYDNEY ROOSTERS BY ONE
Sunday afternoon: NZ Warriors v Manly, Auckland
If Manly can’t beat a horrible Warriors team, then start booking the post-season trip. It’s simple, Manly MUST win and should win easily.
MANLY BY 12
Sunday afternoon: Penrith v St. George-Illawarra, Penrith Park
Another game with finals ramifications, as it should be in late August. Penrith are in the top four frame with seven straight wins while the Dragons could have a suddenly empty September calender. All signs point to a Penrith win, the margin depends how desperate the Dragons are to keep their finals hopes alive.
PENRITH BY 20