THURSDAY: Broncos V Storm – Suncorp Stadium – 21.50NZT
Round 27 has lots of stars being rested, and none more so than this fixture here.
Feels like two fringe first grade teams going at it, which is crazy to think because these sides usually play each other full strength and are always so competitive.
Brisbane win and secure the Minor Premiership, for the first time since 2000. Melbourne, win or lose, will finish third or fourth so not much really changes for them.
Hard to get a decent gauge on this, but the Storm’s record over Brisbane is far superior, which leads me to believe even with their outs, they will still be good enough to get one over the Broncos.
TIP: Storm 1-12
FRIDAY: Sea Eagles V Wests Tigers – 4 Pines Park – 20.00NZT
A failure of a year once again for both of these sides, more so for the Tigers who will finish the season with the wooden spoon but also drop down a place due to the addition of the Dolphins.
Judging on form for the end of this season, Manly will finish well and truly with a flourish and should dispose of the Tigers, especially with Jake Trbojevic celebrating his 200th match for the Sea Eagles.
The Tigers need to regroup in the off-season.
TIP: Sea Eagles 13+
Rabbitohs V Roosters – Accor Stadium – 22.00NZT
I always enjoy when these two teams come together, especially when there’s so much to play for.
The Roosters have now won four in a row and look likely to sneak into the top eight.
For Souths, they’ve had so much negative press over the last fortnight, they’ve been woeful on the field too and are without their best player in this one.
This rivalry is always fierce, and for some reason, Souths are more likely to be inspired and get up for it than the Roosters.
My only hesitancy around that is the form guide. Fresh off a bye, itl could either be a great thing or an awful thing for the Bunnies. Roosters have a lot of momentum and that is always a bonus.
I’m still for some reason leaning towards Souths.
TIP: Rabbitohs 1-12
SATURDAY: Dolphins V Warriors – Suncorp Stadium – 17.00NZT
Let’s just take a moment to acknowledge the Dolphins in their inaugural year. They started with a hiss and a roar, had massive injuries, but have never given up despite missing the playoffs.
This is their last chance for the year to nab a win, which they should against a Warriors side missing lots of key players.
Wahs are resting their stars which is necessary, as they secured two bites at the cherry with a top-four finish.
A sunny Brisbane afternoon will turn on some great attacking footy. Dolphins to win in a shootout.
TIP: Dolphins 1-12
Panthers V Cowboys – BlueBet Stadium – 19.30NZT
One side not really resting their players is Penrith, which is probably quite annoying for the Cowboys who need some results to go their way, including a win in this one.
After being embarrassed at home last week those Panthers will be ready to stamp their mark on this game to give them a boost heading into week one of the finals.
The Cowboys may have left their run too late. A side that started very slow but gained some momentum around Origin.
They won’t want this year to be a ‘what if?’, and have to put everything on the line in order to upset the two-time premiers.
TIP: Panthers 13+
Dragons V Knights – Netstrata Jubilee Stadium – 21.30NZT
A competitive Dragons side will finish the season second to last in an utterly disappointing year, but they have one last chance to get up one last time.
It helps that the Novacastrians have rested their key players, and the Dragons line up about as strong as they possibly can for Round 27.
This Knights hot streak has been brilliant to watch, and are deservedly playing at home in week one of the finals. They will want the momentum of a win here to roll that on, but the Dragons will have the added motivation of ending a tough year on a high.
Will be quite close.
TIP: Dragons 1-12
SUNDAY: Titans V Bulldogs – CBus Super Stadium – 16.00NZT
Both played some awful footy in 2023, but the Titans definitely played better than the Bulldogs have.
You can blame injuries and whatnot for the lack of success Canterbury-Bankstown have had this year, but one thing that has stuck out to me is their lack of effort for 80 minutes each week.
The Titans get to say goodbye in front of their faithful for another year. The way they’ve played this season has once again shown us glimpses of what they can do, just not consistently enough.
The Bulldogs just look rattled and need this last game like a hole in the head.
TIP: Titans 13+
Sharks V Raiders – PointsBet Stadium – 18.05NZT
What an ending to the competition, we could see this game have massive implications, or not!
The Raiders have some massive outs through suspension and injury which will poke holes in their forward pack.
Cronulla have proven this year that they’re able to really turn it on when they want. The Raiders haven’t been able to put too many points on in 2023, but they’ve found themselves to be in almost every game.
The Sharks forwards have the chance to lay down the challenge to this Raiders outfit and get a win. A big performance could ignite their finals campaign.
TIP: Sharks 1-12
BYE – Eels
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