BIG BOPPER: Sam Kasiano of the Bulldogs could be a handful for the Broncos tonight.
BIG BOPPER: Sam Kasiano of the Bulldogs could be a handful for the Broncos tonight. CRAIG GOLDING

Durko's Dissections for round 24



Suncorp Stadium, 7.50pm

History: Played 49, Broncos 27, Bulldogs 21, drawn 1

Last met: Bulldogs 40-14, round 16, 2016

ABSOLUTELY smashed is an apt description of the last time these sides met, with the Bulldogs running for an unprecedented 600m more than the Broncos, who missed a whopping 53 tackles. And while the Broncos are still without key players and the Dogs are at full strength, the home side is in better form and desperate to consolidate its spot in the eight. While the Bulldogs have won seven of their past eight they have not been overly convincing and this is no doubt a game the Broncos can win. Much will depend on how the miniature Broncos forwards - in comparison - handle the Bulldogs giants, especially Sam Kasiano.

TIP: Broncos



Pepper Stadium, 7.50pm

History: Played 28, Panthers 16, Tigers 12

Last met: Tigers 34-26, round 17, 2016

HALFBACK Luke Brooks may be returning, but the loss of fullback James Tedesco is enormous - possibly even fatal to the chances of the Tigers playing finals football. He gave them the one attacking dimension capable of destabilising a Panthers defence that has leaked 21 points a game in 2016. On the back of five wins from their past six outings, the Panthers have finally found some consistency and have emerged as genuine premiership contenders, although still not secure in the eight. This is a must-win for both teams with the clash of the brilliant young halves a feature.

TIP: Panthers



Hunter Stadium, 3pm

History: Played 15, Knights 9, Titans 6

Last met: Titans 30-12, round 1, 2016

CLINGING gingerly to a finals berth and with two top-eight teams still to play, the Titans cannot afford a slip against the dishevelled Knights who have established an NRL record with 15 successive losses. And while Jarryd Hayne has no doubt given the Gold Coasters a massive shot of confidence, their poor record in Newcastle, and against the Knights generally, is a danger sign. To be genuine finals candidates, the Titans need to win this, and win well.

TIP: Titans


Brookvale Oval, 5.30pm

History: Played 29, Storm 15, Sea Eagles 13, drawn 1

Last met: Sea Eagles 12-10, round 8, 2015

STILL premiership favourites and ladder leaders despite their loss on Monday night, the Storm will not want to drop their guard against the Sea Eagles who, despite being out of finals calculations, will want to improve their 9-5 home record against Melbourne. Matt Parcell and Nate Myles return, but the loss of Dylan Walker for the season is a savage blow. Despite Monday night's slip, the Storm remains hungry for yet another minor premiership and should win this in a canter.

TIP: Storm


1300 SMILES Stadium, 7.30pm

History: Played 35, Warriors 18, Cowboys 17

Last met: Cowboys 50-16, round 24, 2015

NOT only are the Cowboys out of form and the defence of their premiership precarious, but even their finals chances are looking shaky following three successive losses. But coach Paul Green remains confident, reminding fans that last time the Cowboys lost three in a row they went on an 11-game winning streak. The Warriors, however, will be desperate and after a shock loss last weekend that has them facing probable finals extinction if they lose and other results go against them. While the Thurston-Johnson clash is pivotal, this will be won up front where the Cowboys have been struggling of late.

TIP: Cowboys



GIO Stadium, 2pm

History: Played 52, Raiders 26, Eels 26

Last met: Eels 36-6, round 6, 2016

ANYONE who still doubts the premiership credentials of the Raiders obviously missed Monday night's demolition of the Storm, and a truly magnificent defensive effort. And with their final three opponents in the remaining premiership rounds below them on the ladder, Ricky Stuart's men look set to finish in the top four for the first time in 12 years. Their monster pack should rumble through the Eels who have not only lost a host of key players, but also their once-steely resolve. The only foreseeable danger to the Raiders is their lack of discipline.

TIP: Raiders


Allianz Stadium, 4pm

History: Played 35, Dragons 19, Roosters 15, drawn 1

Last met: Dragons 20-18, round 8, 2016

IF THESE teams reproduce the rare good form of last weekend, this clash shapes as a beauty, although the winner might be celebrating in vain. The Roosters are out of finals contention but have pride on the line after a disastrous season, and the Dragons must win their remaining three matches to even have a mathematical chance of playing finals. But if both teams attack with the same abandon as last weekend, at least the clash might be worthy of the popular Sunday afternoon timeslot.

TIP: Roosters



ANZ Stadium, 7pm

History: Played 84, Sharks 44, Rabbitohs 37, drawn 3

Last met: Sharks 28-12, qualifying final, 2015

THE question must be asked - following three weeks without a win after an amazing 16-game unbeaten run, have the Sharks hit the wall? Coach Shane Flanagan and skipper Paul Gallen are adamant the answer is no, but conceding 80 points in the past three weeks does raise some lingering doubts. And with the Rabbitohs suddenly back on the charge, nothing to lose and a commanding record against the Sharks at this venue, danger game No.4 looms. Much depends on the availability of Gallen, the spiritual leader of the Sharks.

TIP: Sharks

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