The Newsroom previews round 24 of the National Rugby League.
Brisbane Broncos v Canterbury Bulldogs
The Broncos and the Bulldogs will play in an expected blockbuster at Suncorp Stadium tonight. Brisbane demolished the Parramatta Eels 38-16 last week as they found their groove thanks in part to Anthony Milford. Milford was back to his glittering best, scoring a try and setting up two more with his dazzling footwork and skill. He sustained a minor leg injury in the game, but it has been confirmed that he will line up tonight. If Brisbane win tonight they inch closer to cementing a spot in the top four but if they lose they can only finish in fifth. Canterbury coach Des Hasler has won grand finals in the past when coaching the Sea Eagles and has taken the Bulldogs to several final series since he took over in 2012. There are several key match ups between the two massive forward packs but the individual players to watch are Canterbury skipper James Graham and Broncos second rower Sam Thaiday. These two have a lot of experience and can inspire a team with their hit-ups and defence.
North Queensland Cowboys v New Zealand Warriors
The Cowboys head home to Townsville to face the Warriors on Saturday night. The Cowboys are in a form slump after losing consecutively to the Wests Tigers, Sydney Roosters and the Melbourne Storm. Captain Johnathan Thurston will expect his side to shake off the cobwebs and get back on track for their title defence. The Warriors are desperate and need to win to stay in finals contention. The Warriors dropped their star fullback Tuimoala Lolohea after some scrappy performances; David Fusitua will don the number one jersey. Players to watch are Warriors’ Manu Vatuvei and Cowboy Antonio Winterstein.
Sydney Roosters v St George Illawarra Dragons
The Roosters and the Dragons will grace the field on Sunday afternoon at Allianz Stadium. The Roosters are coming off a massive win over the reigning premiers thanks to Mitchell Pearce, Boyd Cordner and Jared Warea-Hargreaves. The Dragons are also coming off a big victory after they defeated competition favourites the Cronulla Sharks. With the finals run so close, the Dragons could scrape into the eight at season’s end if they manage to keep winning. The return of Josh Dugan helped the Dragons attack and will be a big boost for this week. The Roosters on the other hand are playing for pride and can only build for next season. Players to watch are Latrell Mitchell for the Roosters and Dragons’ Dugan. Both fullbacks are dynamic, can find a try-line and are strong in defence. – Jesse Mullens
Penrith Panthers v Wests Tigers – Friday, Pepper Stadium, 7:50pm
Newcastle Knights v Gold Coast Titans – Saturday, Hunter Stadium, 3pm
Manly Sea Eagles v Melbourne Storm – Saturday, Brookvale Oval, 5:30pm
Canberra Raiders v Parramatta Eels – Sunday, GIO Stadium, 2pm
South Sydney Rabbitohs v Cronulla Sharks – Monday, ANZ Stadium, 7pm
Photo of James Graham running the ball from the Canterbury Bulldogs Facebook page.