The Rabbitohs and Roosters will resume their rivalry inwhat shapes as an intriguing final round.
The Rabbitohs and Roosters will resume their rivalry inwhat shapes as an intriguing final round. DAN HIMBRECHTS

Durko's Dissections: NRL previews for Round 25

RABBITOHS v ROOSTERS

Thursday, ANZ Stadium, 7.50pm

History: Played 220, Rabbitohs 114, Roosters 101, drawn 5. Last met: Rabbitohs 26-16, round 1, 2019. Ladbrokes odds: Rabbitohs $2.34, Roosters $1.58

Fittingly, the final round of the season kicks off with a ripper between the two oldest clubs and while victory for both is crucial, the Rabbitohs must win to secure their top-four possie. And following two victories after four successive losses, the Rabbits are not without a chance of repeating their 26-16 upset back in round one. While the Roosters remain premiership favourites, injuries to key players have not helped and some combinations are looking a tad shaky. With the very real chance these sides could meet again next week, a psychological advantage is important. TIP - Roosters

EELS v SEA EAGLES

Friday, Bankwest Stadium, 6pm

History: Played 140, Sea Eagles 84, Eels 52, drawn 4. Last met: Sea Eagles 36-24, round 18, 2019. Ladbrokes odds: Eels $1.55, Sea Eagles $2.40

The loss of Tom Trbojevic is massive for the Sea Eagles - almost fatal. While they are by no means a one-man team, his brilliance gave them the attacking X-factor that wins big games. They do still have Daly Cherry-Evans on board and his clash with Mitchell Moses, who was virtually unseen last weekend, could be the clincher. After winning four on the trot the Eels have dropped two in succession but will no doubt be re-energised back at their flash new home. The bookies say the Eels and, with no Tommy Turbo, I agree. TIP - Eels

Brodie Croft remains on Brisbane's radar. Picture: Alix Sweeney
Brodie Croft remains on Brisbane's radar. Picture: Alix Sweeney

STORM v COWBOYS

Friday, AAMI Park, 7.55pm

History: Played 39, Storm 29, Cowboys 10. Last met: Storm 18-12, round 5, 2019. Ladbrokes odds: Storm $1.14, Cowboys $5.40

With yet another minor premiership in the bag and a massive winning record against the Cowboys, anything but a Storm victory in this is unthinkable. While the Cowboys have been much better in their back-to-back wins and would love to finish season 2019 with another, the Storm have too much at stake. With Cameron Munster to be rested, the out-of-favour Brodie Croft gets an opportunity to win back the confidence of coach Craig Bellamy. TIP - Storm

RAIDERS v WARRIORS

Saturday, GIO Stadium, 3.00pm

History: Played 41, Raiders 22, Warriors 19. Last met: Raiders 46-12, round 20, 2019. Ladbrokes odds: Raiders $1.30, Warriors $3.40

On the back of five losses from their past six outings, the woeful Warriors can't wait for yet another substandard season to finish. And it is sure to end in tatters at the hands of the impressive Raiders who have sealed a valuable top-four berth. These teams met five weeks ago in Auckland and the Kiwis were whipped, so imagine what the score might be in the national capital if the visitors again fly the white flag. TIP - Raiders

Darius Boyd will be hoping his improved form continues. Picture: AAP
Darius Boyd will be hoping his improved form continues. Picture: AAP

BULLDOGS v BRONCOS

Saturday, ANZ Stadium, 5.30pm

History: Played 55, Broncos 31, Bulldogs 23, drawn 1. Last met: Broncos 28-6, round 18, 2019. Ladbrokes odds: Bulldogs $2.40, Broncos $1.55

Their finals berth is still tenuous, so the Broncos cannot afford to drop their guard in this. And having lost just one of their past nine - with a rampaging young pack and skipper Darius Boyd finally finding some energy, leadership and form - being beaten by the 13th-placed 'Dogs would be a major disaster. If they continue their recent improved form and muscle up in a desolate stadium, the Broncos will send a warning to those premiership aspirants above them on the ladder. TIP - Broncos

TITANS v DRAGONS

Saturday, CBUS Super Stadium,7.35pm

History: Played 21, Dragons 14, Titans 7. Last met: Dragons 40-28, round 21, 2019. Ladbrokes odds: Titans $2.28, Dragons $1.62

The Titans have sealed the wooden spoon and irrespective of this result, the proud Dragons will finish second last after a season in which many figured they could challenge for the crown. Neither club has much from season 2019 on which to hang their hat and while a win means nothing in the overall scheme of things, to finish a woeful season on a high is an achievement of sorts. TIP - Dragons

 

Paul Gallen's career could come to an end against the Tigers. Photo: Brett Costello
Paul Gallen's career could come to an end against the Tigers. Photo: Brett Costello

TIGERS v SHARKS

Sunday, Leichhardt Oval, 2pm

History: Played 30, Tigers 17, Sharks 12, drawn 1. Last met: Sharks 24-16, round 14, 2018. Ladbrokes odds: Tigers $2.00, Sharks $1.80

Lose and the season is over - that's the scenario facing both sides in what will likely go down to the wire at Leichhardt, where the Sharks, who have not lost to the Tigers since 2014, have won just three times in eight visits. Following two successive losses the Tigers have muscled up with 88 points in their past two wins and have looked the goods. Conversely, the Sharks have are on something of a rollercoaster ride and will need the goal-kicking of Shaun Johnson if they are to win this. If at their best, the Sharks might have too much class. TIP - Sharks

PANTHERS v KNIGHTS

Sunday, Panthers Stadium, 4.05pm

History: Played 48, Knights 24, Panthers 21, drawn 3. Last met: Panthers 16-14, round 2, 2019. Ladbrokes odds: Panthers $1.75, Knights $2.07

Every club has attracted some form of unwanted publicity in 2019, but these under-performers are at the top of the pile where negativity is concerned. In a nutshell, the Panthers and the Knights promised much, delivered sometimes and finished dismally. For the sake of the departing James Maloney, the Panthers might just produce one more decent game. TIP - Panthers