The Cowboys will bring the curtain down on 1300Smiles Stadium.
The Cowboys will bring the curtain down on 1300Smiles Stadium. Alix Sweeney

Durko's Dissections: NRL previews for Round 24


Thursday, 1300Smiles Stadium, 7.50pm

History: Played 38, Bulldogs 23, Cowboys 15. Last met: Bulldogs 24-12, round 7, 2019. Ladbrokes odds: Cowboys $1.75, Bulldogs $2.07

If the Cowboys can reproduce the spirit displayed last weekend - but missing for most of the 2019 season - they should end the quite remarkable four-game winning streak of the rejuvenated Bulldogs and jump above them on the ladder. While the 'Dogs may still have a faint yet highly-improbable chance of a finals berth, the Cowboys also have a burning reason to win. Tonight, they say goodbye to their home of 25 years, the former Old Willows Paceway. TIP - Cowboys


Friday, Mt Smart Stadium, 6pm (AEST)

History: Played 34, Warriors 19, Rabbitohs 15. Last met: Rabbitohs 28-24, round 5, 2019. Ladbrokes odds: Warriors $2.60, Rabbitohs $1.48

Away from home against a fired-up club and with everything to play for, the Rabbitohs displayed outstanding spirit and a will to win last weekend when well below full strength. Tomorrow evening in Auckland, with troops back and opposed to a team that has just one finals berth in the past seven seasons to its credit, the Rabbitohs should account for the wretched Warriors, whose flimsy defence has conceded an average 24 points per game. TIP - Rabbitohs

Darius Boyd will be looking for a better season in 2020. (AAP Image/Darren England)
Darius Boyd is under pressure to perform. DARREN ENGLAND


Friday, Suncorp Stadium, 7.55pm

History: Played 55, Broncos 32, Eels 22, drawn 1. Last met: Eels 38-10, round 14, 2019. Ladbrokes odds: Broncos $1.65, Eels $2.24

Staunch Broncos fans will not have forgotten the round 25 clash of 2017 when the Eels humbled the homeside 52-34, the result eventually costing the Broncos a valuable top-two finals berth. With a spot in the eight on the line tomorrow night, the Broncos cannot afford a similar slip or their season could be over. Home fans can only hope for some leadership and organisation from their under-fire captain Darius Boyd and fullback Anthony Milford, while the Eels will again be depending on the brilliant Mitchell Moses to make the difference. The forward clash will again produce a genuine battle of attrition. TIP - Broncos


Saturday, McDonald Jones Stadium, 3pm

History: Played 21, Knights 11, Titans 10. Last met: Titans 38-14, round 6, 2019. Ladbrokes odds: Knights $1.26, Titans $3.75

When these sides met back in round six, the 38-14 thrashing at the hands of the Titans seemingly kicked the Knights into gear, and they ventured off on a six-match winning streak. But the rot set in again and both teams are currently licking their countless wounds and, under fill-in coaches, are contemplating next season. Surely the Knights, fielding five current State of Origin players, can offer much more than the insipid performance turned in last weekend. TIP - Knights

Daly Cherry-Evans of the Sea Eagles kicks the winning drop goal during the Round 19 NRL match between the Melbourne Storm and the Manly Sea Eagles at AAMI Park in Melbourne, Saturday, July 27, 2019. (AAP Image/Hamish Blair) NO ARCHIVING, EDITORIAL USE ONLY
Daly Cherry-Evans kicked the Sea Eagles the last time they played the Storm. HAMISH BLAIR


Saturday, Lottoland, 5.30pm

History: Played 35, Storm 19, Sea Eagles 15, drawn 1. Last met: Sea Eagles 11-10, round 19, 2019. Ladbrokes odds: Sea Eagles $2.10, Storm $1.72

After their courageous win against the odds in Canberra, the Sea Eagles have not only climbed into the top four but have gained genuine premiership respect. Injuries, however, have struck but they have two returning to replace the duo lost. Storm, on the other hand, have seemingly started to wobble after appearing impregnable for much of the season. But memories of the golden-point field goal from Daly Cherry-Evans which sunk them in round 19 - and revenge - will be all the professional Storm will need to produce their best. TIP - Storm


Saturday, Sydney Cricket Ground, 7.35pm

History: Played 89, Roosters 54, Panthers 34, drawn 1. Last met: Panthers 19-10, round 13, 2019. Ladbrokes odds: Roosters $1.20, Panthers $4.40

Upsets in the NRL do occur, but at $4.40 in this two-horse race the Panthers are a forlorn hope of beating the Roosters and as such, their finals hopes are doomed. Having lost four of their past five following a seven-game winning streak, there is no respite for the Panthers with the only change for the imperious Roosters the return of Latrell Mitchell, the competition's leading pointscorer. TIP - Roosters

NRL Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks captain Paul Gallen poses for a photograph at PointsBets Stadium in Sydney, Tuesday, August 27, 2019. Paul Gallen will play his last home-game match this weekend before his retirement. (AAP Image/Bianca De Marchi) NO ARCHIVING
Paul Gallen will play his last home game on Sunday. BIANCA DE MARCHI


Sunday, PointsBet Stadium, 2pm

History: Played 72, Sharks 39, Raiders 33. Last met: Raiders 22-20, round 14, 2019. Ladbrokes odds: Sharks $2.00, Raiders $1.80

Having won their past four at home and with the Raiders saluting on just a dozen occasions on their 33 trips to the Shire, this is a golden opportunity for the Sharks to flex their 2019 premiership muscle. Fielding a workaholic team, the 2016 premiers can match the Raiders up front but will need spark from the sometimes-brilliant Shaun Johnson. But the Raiders, upset last weekend after a huge win against the Storm seven days earlier, must win to maintain their tenuous hold on a vital top-four berth. This looms as a thriller. TIP - Sharks


Sunday, Sydney Cricket Ground, 4.05pm

History: Played 36, Dragons 20, Tigers 16. Last met: Dragons 20-10, round 23, 2018. Ladbrokes odds: Dragons $2.05, Tigers $1.77

In bygone days the Sydney Cricket Ground hosted some classics between the parent clubs of these teams - St George and Western Suburbs. And while both need to win - the Dragons to restore some pride, the Tigers to keep their finals hopes alive - only a massive swing in form and attitude could result in victory for the famous Big Red V. Sitting ninth and coming off a huge win, the Tigers look the goods in this. TIP - Tigers