Match Preview

Raiders v Wests Tigers: Cotric returns; Twal starts up front

Ricky Stuart's men held onto fifth position after Round 22, despite falling to Newcastle 28-6 to record their second consecutive loss, and will need to restore some pride if they're to be taken seriously as premiership contenders this season. 

With Stuart assured the loss was out of character for his side, the Green Machine will need to get their discipline in check after missing 42 tackles and coming up with 16 errors not good enough to compete with any side in the NRL. 

Eels v Dragons; Brown returns; Bird to centre, Molo to lock

With only three games against the Broncos, Roosters and Panthers to come before a bye in Round 27, it's crucial Brad Arthur's men take care of business against the 16th placed Dragons at CommBank Stadium on Sunday. 

After conceding 70 points in the past fortnight, the Eels will need to contain the likes of Dragons fullback Tyrell Sloan and centre Zac Lomax who produced some moments of brilliance in their narrow loss to Manly on Saturday. 

Rabbitohs v Sharks: Burgess, Chee Kam to start; Hiroti in, Mulitalo out

Cronulla were July's biggest sliders in the top eight after three losses on the trot now mounting pressure on coach Craig Fitzgibbon and his side to reach the playoffs after a strong start to the year.

The Sharks are in all sorts on the injury front which hasn't helped their cause in the past month but defensively is where they've slipped up most, conceding 102 points in three matches. 

Their attack has also hit a roadblock with the Nicho Hynes-led side unable to crack Penrith's defensive line in their loss to the premiers last start. 

Dolphins v Knights: Aitken sidelined; Same 17 for O'Brien

Sitting 14th and floundering after a loss to Penrith in Round 17, the Kalyn Ponga-inspired Knights have peeled off wins over the Bulldogs, Wests Tigers, Storm and Raiders to close to within one point of the top eight.

Ponga has come up with seven try assists, 26 tackle breaks and 54 points across those four games to breath new life into the Knights' season and remind everyone of his sublime talents.

Cowboys v Broncos: Feldt to centre; Reynolds ruled out

With Walters now guiding the club's fortunes and Reece Walsh the new No.1 gun at Red Hill, the Broncos have given themselves a huge chance of finishing on top for the first time since 2000.

They went on to win the premiership that season so the omens are good for a Brisbane side that has won seven of its last eight and racked up 112 points across the past three weeks in disposing of the Roosters, Rabbitohs and Bulldogs.

Panthers v Storm: Hosking in for Peachey; Hughes, Coates out

Penrith are on the cusp on an elusive and rare three-peat with many asking the question of just who can stop them in September as the finals run begins to heat up.

Melbourne will put their hand up and say they can but their inconsistency this season has been uncharacteristic for a Craig Bellamy side despite them well-placed in the top eight after 22 rounds. 

Both these sides only met a month ago at Marvel Stadium with the Panthers - minus Nathan Cleary - running down a Storm side who shot out to a 14-0 lead early. 

Titans v Warriors: Campbell, Randall to start; Tevaga in

The 22-13 victory in front of their home fans ended a four-game losing streak and breathed new life into a season that was threatening to slip away from the men from the glitter strip.

With games against the Warriors, Sharks, Panthers, Storm and Bulldogs to come, sneaking into the finals will be no easy task, but the Titans know they have the firepower to score points provided they can keep their defence in order.

Roosters v Sea Eagles: Butcher sidelined; 'Burbo' boost for Manly

The Roosters sit four points outside the top eight going into Round 23 and would need to win at least four of their final five matches to give themselves any hope of continuing their six-year finals streak. 

Trent Robinson's side were well-beaten by the Broncos last start and will be up against a Sea Eagles outfit who got the job done in Daly Cherry-Evans' 300th NRL match to make it three wins in their last four games.

Both these sides only met a month ago with the match coming down to the wire for an 18-16 victory to the Sea Eagles at 4 Pines Park. 

Titans v Cowboys: Stimson set to start; Finefeuiaki in for Nanai

However, the side did manage to show what they can do in the final 15 minutes of the match where they scored three late tries, but it was a case of much too little, much too late.

The Cowboys however recorded another strong win - their sixth in a row - against Parramatta to move into the top eight and will be keen to keep their streak going in this week's Queensland derby.

However, they will be without the strike of Jeremiah Nanai, who suffered a high-grade AC joint injury in the win against the Eels.

Bulldogs v Dolphins: Wait over for Kikau; JMK back on deck

Canterbury have faced a significant injury crisis this season, with marquee signing Viliame Kikau ruled out since Round 4 and Kangaroos winger Josh Addo-Carr chalking just 10 games for the Belmore club. 

However, with a number of troops expected back this week, Cameron Ciraldo's side will be out to restore some pride after a so far disappointing season has them languishing in 16th position on the ladder.