Match Preview

Panthers v Broncos: Same 17 for Cleary; Farnworth named despite scare

Penrith were in devastating touch as they advanced to their fourth-straight grand final with a commanding 38-4 victory over the Storm, which is the biggest preliminary final winning margin achieved in the NRL era.

On the back of an 87 percent completion rate, the Panthers were able to flex their considerable attacking muscle, with Nathan Cleary, Isaah Yeo and Dylan Edwards all having a big influence on the match.

Warriors v Knights: Johnson named to return; Clune in for Hastings

A win over the Warriors would see the Knights equal the club record of 11 in a row, set back in 2001-02 when an Immortal named Johns was the hottest ticket in town.

After sending the Knights faithful home happy on Sunday, Adam O'Brien's men now need to find a way to win in a hostile environment in Auckland against a Warriors outfit that showed plenty of grit in its loss to the Panthers.

Storm v Roosters: Olam recalled, Coates out; Triple backline blow

Not only are the Storm coming off a demoralising defeat but they also have the added anguish of Ryan Papenhuyzen's fractured ankle to deal with as they look to put their premiership campaign back on track.

Perhaps most alarming for coach Craig Bellamy was his side's disjointed attack, with star halves Cameron Munster and Jahrome Hughes throwing very little at the Broncos in a performance far removed from they dished up for most of the season.

Sharks v Roosters: Tracey good to go; Manu returns for Robbo

The Tricolours simultaneously kept their own season alive and ended the premiership hopes of arch-rivals the Rabbitohs last week with a 26-12 win, and heading into Finals Week One only the Knights are riding a better run of form than Trent Robinson’s men.

Cronulla too have enjoyed a strong final month to the regular season, winning four of their last six, and will be battle-hardened after emerging 24-6 winners over the Raiders in a match which for the opening hour had the intensity of finals football.

Panthers v Warriors: Peachey in for Tago; Calf sidelines Johnson

The Panthers could scarcely have been more impressive in their Round 27 demolition of the Cowboys and they head into the finals series brimming with confidence and self-belief.

The absence of five-eighth Jarome Luai had the potential to throw the premiers off kilter but as they have done for the past four seasons they seamlessly slotted in a replacement player in Jack Cogger and barely skipped a beat.

Broncos v Storm: Big guns return; Grant, Hughes to play

While the Storm got up for a 32-22 victory last Thursday at Suncorp Stadium, for a win which lifted them past the Warriors into third spot, that can’t be used too much as a yardstick given both sides will look vastly different as they welcome back the stars they opted to rest in Round 27.

The game will be Brisbane’s first finals appearance since 2018, while for the Storm it’s a case of business as usual as they prepare to play in the post season for the 13th year in a row and do so as a top-four side for the seventh time in the past eight seasons.

Dragons v Knights: JDB back on deck; Shoulder sidelines Ponga

The turnaround has been remarkable for Adam O'Brien's men, who sat 14th after Round 19 and looked anything but premiership contenders.

The Dragons have shown some promising signs in recent weeks but will still finish the season in second-last position, equalling their worst ever finish as a joint venture in 2019.

Having pushed the Storm and Warriors over the past fortnight, the Dragons go into Saturday's game confident of giving their home fans a ray of hope at the end of a tough season.

Panthers v Cowboys: Big guns return; Same 17 for Payten

While North Queensland aren’t totally in control of their own destiny, it all starts with having to win on Saturday night to give themselves a chance of playing beyond the regular season. 

If they can beat Penrith and the Rabbitohs lose to the Roosters then North Queensland are probably through, while they could still make it if the Rabbitohs win and Raiders lose to the Sharks. 

Dolphins v Warriors: Bromwich leads the way; Roache, Going to debut

While the Kiwi side can’t move any higher than their current standing in third, a loss against the Dolphins coupled with a Storm win over the Broncos would see them drop to fourth, so they still have plenty to play for on Saturday.

After holding a team to under 12 points for the first time since Round 20 last Friday against the Dragons, Andrew Webster will be hoping his side have rediscovered their hard edge defensively, as they seek to secure a club record-equaling eighth win in a row.

Rabbitohs v Roosters: Taaffe No.1 man; Manu, Tupou ruled out

The two foundation clubs head into Round 27 in a three-way tie with the Cowboys on 30 competition points, but with contrasting points differentials that may prove crucial in the end. 

A win alone should be enough to see the Rabbitohs through to the finals for the sixth year in a row, thanks to a 37-point differential advantage over the Cowboys, but it's more complex for the Tricolours.