The end is in sight and results are beginning to become vital to the finals hopes of several clubs.
Round 20 of the NRL boasts several mouth-watering contests, beginning on Thursday night when the Roosters take on the Eels in Mackay.
A few games will be played in regional Queensland this week and the action heads to Rockhampton on Saturday afternoon for the Dragons vs Souths, but focus will be back to Brisbane later that night for a Grand Final rematch between the Storm and the Panthers.
Check out our full round preview and complete NRL Round 20 Tips below.
This is set to be an outstanding contest, and there is a case to be built for both the Roosters and the Eels.
The Roosters delivered the Knights another comfortable defeat in Round 19 and subsequently kept the pressure on the top four.
The Eels suffered what was seemingly a shock loss to the Raiders in Round 19, but given that club has now won three on the bounce, there is every chance that they have actually returned to form.
Brad Arthur is sure to have used the result to spark his players in action and fill the gaps, and with finals just around the corner, I doubt that they will be as flat this week.
I can’t split them, and I think that the value lies with backing the Roosters as the line, as outsiders.
Wests Tigers (proudly sponsored by Neds) have returned some eye-catching performances recently, and they have opened market favourites ahead of their Round 20 clash with the New Zealand Warriors.
Having weathered a competitive fight from the Broncos in Round 18 before eventually marching out comfortable winners, the Tigers were again good in the early stages of their Round 19 tie with Manly, but ultimately beaten by a decent team.
They take plenty of confidence and fight into this clash and they are justifiable favourites.
The Warriors have been extremely frustrating all year, and they were absolutely destroyed by South Sydney last weekend.
To add insult to injury, star fullback and captain Roger Tuivasa-Sheck has left the club this week, and they really are in tatters.
I’m happy to stick with the Tigers.
There’s little chance that it will live up to the quality that we have grown accustomed to, but the Brisbane Broncos and North Queensland Cowboys will reignite their rivalry on Friday night, and betting suggests it will be one of the better contests of the round.
The Broncos have been poor again in season 2021, and while they did show some fight against the Panthers last week, they have seemingly forgotten how to win a game of footy.
The Cows have clearly been a better side this season, and they were unlucky not to pull off an enormous upset win over the Storm in Round 19.
A repeat of that effort this week would see them winning easily, and I cannot figure out why they have been priced as outsiders.
The PBR isn’t the only sporting event taking place in the Beef Capital of Australia this week – the Dragons and Rabbitohs will reignite their time-honoured rivalry at Browne Park on Saturday afternoon.
The Dragons have continued to underperform in 2021, and they were given another touch up by the Neds Titans in Round 19.
Given this is another rise in class from that match, it’s almost impossible to make a case for them.
Souths utterly destroyed the Warriors in Round 19, and this match represents similar prospects.
I don’t think that there is much more to say about it, and I am happy to take Souths to cover a sizeable line.
The resurgent Raiders are back in action on Saturday evening, and they are offered another terrific opportunity to win when they face the Knights.
They were down and out less than a month ago, and while I personally need to see a couple more wins before I believe they’re back, it certainly appears as though they are on the correct course.
Their win over a depleted Manly was franked with subsequent efforts to sink the Sharks and the Eels, and a repeat of last week’s performance particularly would find them hard to beat
The Knights would need to improve noticeably to make the 2021 NRL Finals, and probably also just to compete in this match.
Happy to ride the green wave again.
Expecting a big crowd in Brisbane on Saturday night when the Storm and the Panthers saddle up for their Grand Final rematch.
The Storm have been nothing short of outstanding in 2021, and they appear to be on the short and narrow towards another Provan Summons.
They were given a little fright by the Cows in Round 19, but winning is winning, and it is onwards and upwards this week.
Just weeks ago, this would have easily been the match of the season, but given how dominant the Storm have been, and how injury ravaged the Panthers are, I think that the market has just about got it right.
The Neds Titans enter Round 20 in impressive winning form, and they can record another win over the last-placed Bulldogs on Sunday afternoon.
It has been said plenty of times, but there is no denying the Titans’ overall talent, they have merely been undone by inconsistency all year.
I have no doubt that tightening a few screws in the offseason will lead to a top six finish in 2022.
The Dogs have been nothing short of awful, but it’s fair to say that they have somewhat improved as the season has progressed, and they are at least managing to score a few points each week.
A massive class difference remains, and I’m more than happy to stick with our boys.
Typically, if Turbo turns up to the footy with his boots on, Manly (or any side he is lining up for) wins.
Of course, he has been named at fullback for the Sea Eagles’ Round 20 clash with the Sharks, so I will be tipping them to win.