THE RAMIFICATIONS OF EVERY GAME OF AN INTRIGUING FINAL ROUND OF THE NRL
BRISBANE v MELBOURNE, Thursday, 7.45pm, Suncorp Stadium
Will have a bearing for both the race for top spot and fourth. Broncos will finish with the minor premiership if they win and Sydney Roosters lose the next night. Melbourne could jag a top four berth with a win and if Cronulla lose to Manly.
SYDNEY ROOSTERS v SOUTH SYDNEY, Friday, 7.45pm, Allianz Stadium
If the Roosters win, they’ll claim the JJ Giltinan Shield for the third year in a row. If they lose, they risk being pipped at the post by Brisbane. The Rabbitohs need to win and have results run their way to jump back into fourth. The lowest they can finish is seventh.
PENRITH v NEWCASTLE, Saturday, 3pm, Pepper Stadium
This is almost certain to decide the wooden spoon. The Panthers (15th) and Knights (16th) go into the final round trying to avoid last spot and the loser will likely be left holding the dreaded spoon. The only twist will be if the Tigers suffer a massive loss and fall behind the loser of this game on for and against.
ST GEORGE ILLAWARRA v WESTS TIGERS, Saturday, 5.30pm, ANZ Stadium
Unless the Dragons suffer a massive loss here, they look assured of finishing eighth. The Wests Tigers jumped into 14th with a win over the Warriors on the weekend and appear to have avoided the wooden spoon. However if they go down by a big margin, they could drop down to 16th again and claim last.
NORTH QUEENSLAND v GOLD COAST, Saturday, 7.30pm, 1300 Smiles Stadium
The Cowboys would need a miracle to jump the Sydney Roosters and Brisbane into first and look likely to finish third.
PARRAMATTA v CANBERRA, Sunday, 2pm, Pirtek Stadium
Canberra (10th) and Parramatta (11th) both look set to finish middle of the table and are out of the race for the eight.
CRONULLA v MANLY, Sunday, 4pm, Remondis Stadium
If the Sharks win, they grab fourth spot but can slide as low as seventh. Manly’s chances of making the eight are negligible – they will need a win, the Dragons to lose and somehow claw back a 61-point for-and-against deficit to overhaul Paul McGregor’s side.
CANTERBURY v WARRIORS, Sunday, 6pm, ANZ Stadium
The Bulldogs are one of four teams in the running for the final top four spot. Like Cronulla, Melbourne and South Sydney, they can finish as high as fourth and as low as seventh.