NRL Round 24

Four straight defeats have knocked the stuffing out of the Broncos  and it doesn’t get any easier for them on Friday night. Melbourne  has historically had the wood over Brisbane, winning nineteen of the 31 matches between the sides, including eight of the past ten. The Storm has few injury worries and have been in ominous form in the past fortnight after losing five straight. Their dominance over the injury stricken Broncos should continue. Storm 13+

The Bulldogs are undoubtedly the form team in the competition at the moment, with last week’s come from behind win over the Broncos stretching their unbeaten run to eleven matches. The Tigers  have strung together back-to-back wins over the Eels and Dragons in the past fortnight to move into eighth on the ladder, but this is a serious test of their finals credentials. The Bulldogs triumphed by twelve points when these sides met last month and is similar result seems highly likely. Bulldogs 1-12

The Canberra Raiders  have had a relatively disappointing season but are one of the form teams in the competition at the moment. They have won five of their past seven matches but the two defeats during that period were both in home matches that they were expected to win. They are certainly expected to beat the Roosters – who lost to cellar dwellers Parramatta in round 23 – and should do so to keep their slim finals hopes alive. Raiders 13+

After looking like a top four side for most of the year, the Sharks are now a chancing of missing the top eight all together after winning just one of their past five matches. Monday night’s 26-4 defeat to the Knights was particularly disappointing and things certainly don’t get any easier against Souths  this week. Greg Inglis returns for the Rabbitohs after missing the past five weeks through suspension and his return will be a huge boost to a side that lost just once in his absence. Rabbitohs 1-12

The Warriors  season is over after losing their past five matches, with 40 and 41 point defeats in the past fortnight showing just how bad they are going. Fortunately for them they face the Panthers  this week, who are only avoiding bottom spot on the ladder by points difference. The way these two are going, neither of them deserves two points, but New Zealand surely must win in front of their home crowd. Warriors 1-12

Defeats to Melbourne and South Sydney in the past fortnight have put paid to the Titans chances of playing finals football, but they certainly haven’t lost any admirers with the way that they have played. The loss of Luke Bailey is a big blow to them and they have won just 12 of 34 matches without him, but should be too good for the Eels , despite the fact that the visitors have won three of their past four. Titans 13+

Reigning premiers Manly  have made the rest of the competition sit up and take notice with their recent form, having beaten Souths last weekend and the Cowboys in Townsville the week before. Back home at Brookvale Oval, the Sea Eagles will be out to continue their push for a top two spot against the in-form Knights . Wayne Bennett’s side is finally starting to click and six wins in their past eight games bears testament to that. Despite losing to Newcastle by 26 points last month, Manly should be too good back at ‘Brooky’. Sea Eagles 13+

Monday night football sees the Dragons  face the Cowboys at WIN Stadium. The Dragons season is over but this is a big game for North Queensland, who can still finish in the top four. The have firepower right across the field and can match it with the best in the competition on their day. Although they have lost to Manly and the Bulldogs in the past fortnight and have won only three of nine games at WIN Stadium, they have more to play for and can score a rare win in Wollongong. Cowboys 1-12

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