The finals are here and the eight remaining teams will soon be trimmed to six. We start the weekend with another clash between the old enemies at the SCG. Saturday see the battle of the beaches between Cronulla and Manly followed by Canberra's road trip to Melbourne. The weekend will be capped off by the pumped-up Eels hosting the Broncos at a packed Bankwest Stadium.
Good luck with your tips.
Friday, September 13
Roosters: 1. James Tedesco 2. Daniel Tupou 3. Latrell Mitchell 4. Joseph Manu 5. Brett Morris 6. Luke Keary 7. Cooper Cronk 8. Jared Waerea-Hargreaves 9. Sam Verrills 10. Isaac Liu 11. Boyd Cordner 12. Mitchell Aubusson 13. Victor Radley Reserves: 14. Angus Crichton 15. Zane Tetevano 16. Nat Butcher 17. Siosiua Taukeiaho
Rabbitohs: 1. Adam Doueihi 2. Alex Johnston 3. James Roberts 4. Campbell Graham 5. Corey Allan 6. Cody Walker 7. Adam Reynolds 8. Junior Tatola 9. Damien Cook 10. Liam Knight 11. John Sutton 12. Jaydn Su'A 13. Cameron Murray. Reserves: 14. Ethan Lowe 15. Dean Britt 16. Thomas Burgess 17. Mark Nicholls
Verdict: These teams have met twice this year with the Rabbitohs victorious on both occasions. Coach Wayne Bennett seems to have cracked the secret to beating the reigning premiers, although the Roosters were without Luke Keary and Brett Morris last week. This opening final returns to the SCG where the Rabbitohs were convincing Round 1 winners against the full-strength Roosters. The Roosters will have something up their sleeve for this one, as they switch to finals mode and the Rabbitohs will be without suspended forward leader Sam Burgess. With James Tedesco fresh from collecting back-to-back Brad Fittler Medals, expect teh Roosters fullback to have a blinder against the old enemy.
Saturday, September 13
Storm: 1. Ryan Papenhuyzen 2. Suliasi Vunivalu 3. Will Chambers 4. Justin Olam 5. Josh Addo-Carr 6. Cameron Munster 7. Jahrome Hughes 8. Jesse Bromwich 9. Cameron Smith 10. Nelson Asofa-Solomona 11. Felise Kaufusi 12. Kenneath Bromwich 13. Dale Finucane Reserves: 14. Brandon Smith 15. Tui Kamikamica 16. Max King 17. Joe Stimson
Raiders: 1. Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad 2. Nick Cotric 3. Jarrod Croker 4. Joseph Leilua 5. Jordan Rapana 6. Jack Wighton 7. Aidan Sezer 8. Josh Papalii 9. Josh Hodgson 10. Iosia Soliola 11. John Bateman 12. Elliott Whitehead 13. Joseph Tapine. Reserves: 14. Bailey Simonsson 15. Dunamis Lui 16. Corey Horsburgh 17. Ryan Sutton
Verdict: The Storm survived a tough challenge against the Cowboys last week, while the Raiders would have been disappointed to lose to the Warriors. In Round 22 the Raiders visited Melbourne and came away with a win which will see them hold no fears about repeating the journey. Coach Ricky Stuart will have a plan set out for this game and will rely heavily on Josh Hodgson to execute it. These two teams are very evenly matched on paper and it will come down to which of them executes under pressure. Craig Bellamy has been coaching the Storm through these big games for longer than anyone can remember and with Cameron Smith leading the way, they should be looking to enjoy next week off.
Sea Eagles: 1. Brendan Elliot 2. Jorge Taufua 3. Brad Parker 4. Moses Suli 5. Reuben Garrick 6. Dylan Walker 7. Daly Cherry-Evans 8. Addin Fonua-Blake 9. Apisai Koroisau 10. Sean Keppie 11. Corey Waddell 12. Jack Gosiewski 13. Jake Trbojevic. Reserves: 14. Manase Fainu 15. Haumole Olakauatu 16. Lloyd Perrett 17. Toafofoa Sipley
Sharks: Josh Dugan 2. Sosaia Feki 3. Bronson Xerri 4. Josh Morris 5. Aaron Gray 6. Shaun Johnson 7. Chad Townsend 8. Aaron Woods 9. Jayden Brailey 10. Matt Prior 11. Briton Nikora 12. Wade Graham 13. Paul Gallen. Reserves: 14. Kurt Capewell 15. Jack Williams 16. Andrew Fifita 17. Braden Hamlin-Uele
Verdict: The Sea Eagles lost Tom Trbojevic two weeks ago during a big loss to the Storm. They lost to the Eels last week and now face the Sharks lacking their greatest weapon and all the confidence that flowed from having him in the team. The Sharks are on a high after beating the Tigers at a packed Leichhardt Oval to sneak into the eight. Paul Gallen's farewell tour continues and the Sharks players will be fired up to extend his career for at least another week. There promises to be a massive battle in the halves with Daly Cherry-Evans and Dylan Walker up against Chad Townsend and Shaun Johnson. Manly have won seven out of ten games at Lottoland this season as Des Hasler has worked hard to bring back the fortress mentality. This will be a lot tougher than Shark fans might hope, but Manly's great season should come to an end.
Sunday, September 14
Eels: 1. Clint Gutherson 2. Maika Sivo 3. Michael Jennings 4. Waqa Blake 5. Blake Ferguson 6. Dylan Brown 7. Mitchell Moses 8. Kane Evans 9. Reed Mahoney 10. Junior Paulo 11. Shaun Lane 12. Manu Ma'u 13. Nathan Brown. Reserves: 14. Brad Takairangi 15. Daniel Alvaro 16. Ray Stone 17. Marata Niukore
Broncos: 1. Anthony Milford 5. Jamayne Isaako 3. Kotoni Staggs 4. Alex Glenn 2. Corey Oates 6. Darius Boyd 7. Jake Turpin 8. Matthew Lodge 9. Andrew McCullough 10. Payne Haas 11. David Fifita 12. Matt Gillett 13. Joe Ofahengaue. Reserves: 14. James Segeyaro 15. Thomas Flegler 16. Gehamat Shibasaki 17. Patty Carrigan
Verdict: Parramatta enter the finals on the back of a confidence-boosting win over the Sea Eagles, while the Broncos limp in having been humbled by the Bulldogs. These teams met two weeks ago in Brisbane with the Broncos scraping home in golden point. The Broncos will need a big performance out of their young pack to overcome the Eels at their Bankwest fortress. The new stadium will be packed and the atmosphere in the confined arena is incredible. The referees won't be able to hear themselves think over the roar of "get them onside!". The Eels players will be physically lifted by the "Parra! Parra! Parra!" chant, even if it is prompted by a recorded version. The Eels suffered the humiliation of collecting the wooden spoon last year and will be fired up to go as deep into the 2019 finals as possible.