Match Preview

Sea Eagles v Wests Tigers: Jake to hit 200; Da Silva a chance

Fan-favourite Jake Trbojevic will notch his 200th game for both the club and in the NRL in a major motivator for the home side while there's still an unlikely chance the Wests Tigers can claw their way off the bottom of the ladder with a big win. 

It's been a disappointing season for both clubs with some high expectation at the start of the season but injuries and suspensions have cruelled their journeys, along with a rollercoaster of inconsistent performances.

Broncos v Storm: More stars rested with finals looming

Brisbane is on track for their first minor premiership in 23 years with victory over the Storm guaranteeing top spot on the Telstra Premiership ladder after the Panthers surrendered a game against Parramatta last week. 

Melbourne locked in a top four spot thanks to Newcastle's defeat of the Sharks with Craig Bellamy's side a chance of leapfrogging the Warriors if they're able to topple the Broncos and hope the Dolphins beat the New Zealand side.

Warriors survive scare from Dragons to lock in top-four berth

The victory was the Warriors' 16th of the season but looks to have come at a cost with five-eighth Luke Metcalf suffering a hamstring injury.

In a bizarre opening to the match the Warriors allowed the kick-off to bounce and the ball ended up with Dragons centre Zac Lomax who dived over to score, but the bunker ruled Lomax had lost the ball into Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad as he tried to collect it.

Dolphins v Cowboys: Bromwich ruled out; Luki in for Nanai

Five of those defeats have been by 10 points or less and there has plenty to admire about their efforts against Wests Tigers and Newcastle in recent weeks, both games going right down to the wire before slipping out of the Dolphins' grasp.

The Cowboys remain in the hunt for a trop-eight spot despite a three-game losing streak dropping them from seventh to ninth and knocking their points differential down from +57 to +12.

Warriors v Dragons: Martin return on hold; Lomax good to go

Andrew Webster's men won their sixth game on the trot last week by beating the Sea Eagles, becoming the first Warriors side to do that since 2002, while they are now just two wins short of equaling the club record winning streak, also set in that season 21 years ago. 

While it was a more convincing performance than what they dished up in the previous two weeks, some big question marks remain over the Warriors in defence right now, particularly their left edge which allowed Jason Saab to score three tries in Round 25. 

Panthers v Eels: Edwards, Turuva out; Lane returns

The Eels' September hopes were snuffed out in Friday night's loss to the Roosters, leaving them in 11th place with an 11-12 record.

The ladder-leading Panthers, meanwhile, overcame the absence of Brian To'o, Scott Sorensen and Mitch Kenny to roll past the Titans for their 17th win of the season.

If the premiers can down the Eels on Thursday they will likely secure their third minor premiership in four years, potentially giving coach Ivan Cleary the luxury of being able to rest players from the Round 27 clash with the Cowboys should he choose.

Lahanis to pass Gurias

Both teams are expected to come out with all guns blazing to keep their finals hopes alive. Loser bows out while winner proceeds to the preliminary next week.

The Lahanis underdog nametag shouldn’t be an understatement if last week’s upset win over defending premiers Hela Wigmen was anything to go by.

Broncos v Eels: Reynolds back at helm; Asi moves to centre

When the sides clashed in Darwin in Round 8 the Broncos prevailed 26-16 on a night which saw Payne Haas suspended for a hip drop tackle that left Eels big man Reagan Campbell-Gillard sidelined for seven weeks.

The two big men won't get to renew their rivalry this weekend with Campbell-Gillard out suspended, so Haas will turn his attention to matching motors with Junior Paulo in a battle for supremacy in the middle.

Sharks v Titans: Mulitalo good to go; Tino back, AJ rested

Having dropped their last three games ahead of facing the Rabbitohs in Perth last Saturday, Cronulla eased fears of their season descending to disaster with a 26-16 win that keeps them two points clear of the chasing pack on the edge of the top eight.

While they were excellent for long periods of the win, an 11-minute collapse in the second half which saw them leak three tries will be of huge concern ahead of playing a Gold Coast side who can pile on points when they click.

Sea Eagles v Panthers: Keppie in for Lodge; Double blow for premiers

A golden chance to join the top eight went begging last week for Manly when they fell to the Roosters 26-16, despite dominating the possession count and playing against a side who were a man down for the final 18 minutes.

While they remain just one point back from the eighth-placed Rabbitohs heading into Round 24, they will almost definitely need to win one, if not both, of their next two games against the ladder-leading Panthers and third-ranked Warriors to remain a chance of playing beyond the regular season.