The NRL hurtles towards the pointy end of the season with a clear-cut Top 8 emerging. There are still four teams with a shot of jumping the Sharks, but they can't afford to lose any more games, so expect some real desperation football this weekend.
We start the round with another blockbuster between the fired up Rabbitohs and the Eels. The rest of the round looks relatively straight forward.
Good luck with your tips.
Thursday, August 27
Parramatta Eels vs South Sydney Rabbitohs, Bankwest Stadium, 7:50pm (AEST)
Eels: 1. Clinton Gutherson 2. Maika Sivo 3. Michael Jennings 4. Waqa Blake 5. Blake Ferguson 6. Dylan Brown 7. Mitchell Moses 8. Reagan Campbell-Gillard 9. Reed Mahoney 10. Junior Paulo 11. Shaun Lane 12. Ryan Matterson 13. Nathan Brown
Reserves: 14. Ray Stone 15. Andrew Davey 16. Kane Evans 17. Oregon Kaufusi 18. Stefano Utoikamanu 19. Haze Dunster 20. Will Smith 21. Brad Takairangi
Rabbitohs: 1. Latrell Mitchell 2. Corey Allan 3. Campbell Graham 4. Dane Gagai 5. Jaxson Paulo 6. Cody Walker 7. Adam Reynolds 8. Tevita Tatola 9. Damien Cook 10. Thomas Burgess 11. Jaydn Su'A 12. Bayley Sironen 13. Cameron Murray
Reserves: 14. Mark Nicholls 15. Liam Knight 16. Patrick Mago 17. Keaon Koloamatangi 18. Jed Cartwright 19. Steven Marsters 20. Troy Dargan 21. Kurt Dillon
Verdict: The Eels were too good for a depleted Storm side last week, while the Rabbitohs hit top form to demolish the similarly weakened Sea Eagles. With both teams full of confidence this promises to be a tantilising preview of the finals that lay ahead. The Rabbitohs are only two points behind the Roosters who are clinging to the vital fourth place, while the Eels would still hold aspirations of snatching the minor premiership.
Tip: Rabbitohs by 8
Score: Rabbitohs 38-0 Eels
Friday, August 28
St George Illawarra Dragons vs. Gold Coast Titans, Netstrata Jubilee Stadium, 6:00pm (AEST)
Dragons: 1. Matthew Dufty 2. Jordan Pereira 3. Euan Aitken 4. Zac Lomax 5. Mikaele Ravalawa 6. Corey Norman 7. Adam Clune 8. Blake Lawrie 9. Ben Hunt 10. Josh Kerr 11. Tyson Frizell 12. Jacob Host 13. Cameron McInnes
Reserves: 14. Kaide Ellis 15. Trent Merrin 16. Jackson Ford 17. Billy Brittain 18. Eddie Blacker 19. Tristan Sailor 20. Jayden Sullivan 21. Max Feagai
Titans: 1. Alexander Brimson 2. Corey Thompson 3. Brian Kelly 4. Young Tonumaipea 5. Phillip Sami 6. Ashley Taylor 7. Jamal Fogarty 8. Jarrod Wallace 9. Mitch Rein 10. Jaimin Jolliffe 11. Sam Stone 12. Beau Fermor 13. Tyrone Peachey
Reserves: 14. Erin Clark 15. Sam Lisone 16. Keegan Hipgrave 17. Jai Whitbread 18. Tanah Boyd 19. Anthony Don 20. Treymain Spry 21. Darius Farmer
Verdict: The Dragons continued their improved form of late, doing enough to beat the Broncos last week, while the Titans slumped to a heavy defeat at the hands of the Raiders. With the distractions of Paul McGregor well behind them the Dragons look to be rallying behind interim coach Dean Young as they make an unlikely lunge at eighth place. They should be too good for the Titans in this one.
Tip: Dragons by 14
Sydney Roosters vs Brisbane Broncos, Sydney Cricket Ground, 7:55pm (AEST)
Roosters: 1. James Tedesco 2. Daniel Tupou 3. Josh Morris 4. Joseph Manu 5. Brett Morris 6. Drew Hutchison 7. Kyle Flanagan 8. Jared Waerea-Hargreaves 9. Jake Friend 10. Siosiua Taukeiaho 11. Boyd Cordner 12. Sitili Tupouniua 13. Isaac Liu
Reserves: 14. Freddy Lussick 15. Poasa Faamausili 16. Nat Butcher 17. Lindsay Collins 18. Daniel Fifita 19. Ryan Hall 20. Max Bailey 21. Egan Butcher
Broncos: 1. Darius Boyd 2. Richard Kennar 3. Kotoni Staggs 4. Jordan Kahu 5. Herbie Farnworth 6. Sean O'Sullivan 7. Tom Dearden 8. Joe Ofahengaue 9. Cory Paix 10. Rhys Kennedy 11. David Fifita 12. Ben Te'o 13. Patrick Carrigan
Reserves: 14. Brodie Croft 15. Jordan Riki 16. Ethan Bullemor 17. Jamil Hopoate 18. Jesse Arthars 19. Pride Petterson-Robati 20. Tyson Gamble 21. Corey Oates
Verdict: The Roosters snapped out of a mini-slump last week with a resounding victory over the Tigers, with the Morris twins leading the way. They did however lose their main strike weapon in Luke Keary. The Broncos showed signs of improvement but couldn't get up over the Dragons. There are still plenty of dramas unfolding at Red Hill with Anthony Seibold sure to be a distraction again.
Tip: Roosters by 18
Saturday, August 29
New Zealand Warriors vs. Newcastle Knights, Scully Park, Tamworth, 3:00pm (AEST)
Warriors: 1. Roger Tuivasa-Sheck 2. Adam Pompey 3. Hayze Perham 4. Peta Hiku 5. George Jennings 6. Kodi Nikorima 7. Chanel Harris-Tavita 8. Jamayne Taunoa-Brown 9. Karl Lawton 10. Lachlan Burr 11. Eliesa Katoa 12. Tohu Harris 13. Jazz Tevaga
Reserves: 14. Wayde Egan 15. Adam Blair 16. Daniel Alvaro 17. Jack Murchie 18. Isaiah Papali'i 20. Gerard Beale 21. Josh Curran 22. Paul Turner
Knights: 1. Kalyn Ponga 2. Starford To'a 3. Enari Tuala 4. Gehamat Shibasaki 5. Hymel Hunt 6. Mason Lino 7. Mitchell Pearce 8. David Klemmer 9. Kurt Mann 10. Jacob Saifiti 11. Lachlan Fitzgibbon 12. Aidan Guerra 13. Mitchell Barnett
Reserves: 14. Phoenix Crossland 15. Herman Ese'ese 16. Josh King 17. Pasami Saulo 18. Brodie Jones 19. Chris Randall 20. Tex Hoy 21. Jirah Momoisea
Verdict: The Knights did enough last week to beat the Cowboys at home, but lost another trump card in Blake Green who was starting to look at home in Newcastle. The Warriors came home strong in the second half to beat the Bulldogs, keeping the finals within mathematical reach. The Knights are only one point behind the fourth-placed Roosters and must keep winning to have a shot of Top 4 finish.
Tip: Knights by 8
Cronulla Sutherland Sharks vs. North Queensland Cowboys, Netstrata Jubilee Stadium, 5:30pm (AEST)
Sharks: 1. Will Kennedy 2. Sione Katoa 3. Josh Dugan 4. Jesse Ramien 5. Ronaldo Mulitalo 6. Connor Tracey 7. Shaun Johnson 8. Braden Hamlin-Uele 9. Blayke Brailey 10. Aaron Woods 11. Briton Nikora 12. Wade Graham 13. Toby Rudolf
Reserves: 14. Siosifa Talakai 15. Scott Sorensen 16. Jack Williams 17. Royce Hunt 18. Teig Wilton 19. Bryson Goodwin 20. Matt Moylan 21. Andrew Fifita
Cowboys: 1. Scott Drinkwater 2. Kyle Feldt 3. Justin O'Neill 4. Murray Taulagi 5. Valentine Holmes 6. Daejarn Asi 7. Michael Morgan 8. Francis Molo 9. Reuben Cotter 10. Jordan McLean 11. Mitchell Dunn 12. Coen Hess 13. Josh Mcguire
Reserves: 14. Jake Granville 15. John Asiata 16. Tom Gilbert 17. Corey Jensen 18. Shane Wright 19. Jake Clifford 20. Connelly Lemuelu 21. Peter Hola
Verdict: The Sharks were well and truly put in their place last week by the rampaging Panthers, while the Cowboys gave the Knights a good run without scoring a point. The Sharks simply have to keep winning to maintain their grip on eighth position and this game should be one of the easier ones they have remaining.
Tip: Sharks by 6
Penrith Panthers vs. Wests Tigers, Panthers Stadium, 7:35pm (AEST)
Panthers: 1. Dylan Edwards 2. Josh Mansour 3. Brent Naden 4. Stephen Crichton 5. Brian To'o 6. Jarome Luai 7. Nathan Cleary 8. James Tamou 9. Mitch Kenny 10. Moses Leota 11. Isaah Yeo 12. Liam Martin 13. James Fisher-Harris
Reserves: 14. Tyrone May 15. Spencer Leniu 16. Billy Burns 17. Zane Tetevano 18. Daine Laurie 19. Kurt Capewell 20. Matt Burton 21. Pat Hollis
Tigers: 1. Adam Doueihi 2. David Nofoaluma 3. Joseph Leilua 4. Moses Mbye 5. Tommy Talau 6. Luke Brooks 7. Benji Marshall 8. Josh Aloiai 9. Harry Grant 10. Thomas Mikaele 11. Luke Garner 12. Luciano Leilua 13. Alex Twal
Reserves: 14. Matt Eisenhuth 15. Elijah Taylor 16. Jacob Liddle 17. Shawn Blore 18. Chris Lawrence 19. Sam McIntyre 20. Josh Reynolds 21. Asu Kepaoa
Verdict: The Panthers took care of the Sharks last week, while the Tigers were thumped by the Roosters at Leichhardt Oval. The Panthers will look to continue their winning streak and march towards the minor premiership, while the Tigers have to win to stay in the hunt for a finals berth. The Panthers should be too strong in this one, even if the Tigers turn up to play.
Tip: Panthers by 28
Sunday, August 30
Melbourne Storm vs. Manly Warringah Sea Eagles, Sunshine Coast Stadium, 4:05pm (AEST)
Storm: 1. Ryan Papenhuyzen 2. Marion Seve 3. Brenko Lee 4. Justin Olam 5. Josh Addo-Carr 6. Cameron Munster 7. Jahrome Hughes 8. Jesse Bromwich 9. Cameron Smith 10. Christian Welch 11. Felise Kaufusi 12. Tom Eisenhuth 13. Nelson Asofa-Solomona
Reserves: 14. Nicholas Hynes 15. Tino Fa'asuamaleaui 16. Sandor Earl 17. Darryn Schonig 18. Ryley Jacks 19. Chris Lewis 20. Albert Vete 21. Isaac Lumelume
Sea Eagles: 1. Tevita Funa 2. Jorge Taufua 3. Brad Parker 4. Jack Gosiewski 5. Reuben Garrick 6. Cade Cust 7. Daly Cherry-Evans 8. Addin Fonua-Blake 9. Danny Levi 10. Martin Taupau 11. Joel Thompson 12. Curtis Sironen 13 Jake Trbojevic
Reserves: 14. Lachlan Croker 15. Corey Waddell 16. Sean Keppie 17. Taniela Paseka 18. Albert Hopoate 19. Abbas Miski 20. Morgan Boyle 21. Haumole Olakau'atu
Verdict: The depleted Storm couldn't match the Eels last week, while the Sea Eagles were trampled by the Rabbitohs. The Sea Eagles really need to turn things around with a big performance here. They face a relatively easy run home after this game and can still make a charge at the Top 8, but they'll need to find the form that has deserted them of late.
Tip: Storm by 6
Canberra Raiders vs. Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs, GIO Stadium, 6:30pm (AEST)
Raiders: 1. Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad 2. Jordan Rapana 3. Jarrod Croker 4. Curtis Scott 5. Nick Cotric 6. Jack Wighton 7. George Williams 8. Josh Papali'i 9. Siliva Havili 10. Dunamis Lui 11. John Bateman 12. Elliott Whitehead 13. Hudson Young
Reserves: 14. Tom Starling 15. Joseph Tapine 16. Ryan Sutton 17. Matthew Timoko 18. Sam Williams 19. Harley Smith-Shields 20. Kai O'Donnell 21. Matt Frawley
Bulldogs: 1. Will Hopoate 2. Nick Meaney 3. Marcelo Montoya 4. Kerrod Holland 5. Dallin Watene-Zelezniak 6. Kieran Foran 7. Lachlan Lewis 8. Ofahiki Ogden 9. Jeremy Marshall-King 10. Dylan Napa 11. Josh Jackson 12. Raymond Faitala-Mariner 13. Aiden Tolman
Reserves: 14. Sione Katoa 15. Renouf To'omaga 16. Dean Britt 17. Matt Doorey 19. Luke Thompson 20. Jack Cogger 21. Reimis Smith 22. Tim Lafai
Verdict: The Raiders played some good football last week in beating the Titans, while the Bulldogs had their usual good 20 minutes against the Warriors before completely forgetting that they had to tackle. The Bulldogs have shown promise in patches, but that wont be anywhere near good enough against the Raiders who could run up a cricket score at home.
Tip: Raiders by 22