Round 22 marks the the 10th anniversary of the Women In League Round for the NRL which over the years has been a great way to celebrate the role women play in Rugby League at all levels in all areas.
Let's look at the match ups:
Broncos v Dragons (Thu 04/08, 7.50pm)
An absolute must win for both sides. If the Dragons lose it will probably end their 2016 campaign, if the Broncos lose it puts their 2016 season in major jeopardy. The Broncos finally welcome back a (almost) full strength forward pack, while for the Dragons their problem will continue to be generating enough points to win. The difference in this match comes purely down to player personnel and it seems the Dragons are too under-manned. The Broncos will win this up the middle with McGuire and Gillett the deciding factors in a close match. Brisbane by 8.
Eels v Sea Eagles (Fri 05/08, 7.50pm)
The Sea Eagles are racing towards September at a rate of knots, and the surprising factor has been the meteoric rise of Tom Trbojevic. I still have Ash Taylor (Titans) as Rookie of the year, but young Trbojevic is not far behind (literally, judging from last week!). The Eels are depleted and deflated. Brad Arthur still has them showing up each week, but the drama, controversy and injuries of 2016 have caught them. With Lyon still out Walker is in the halves. As a running no 6. Walker should provide some nice inside ball for Turbo Tom. Manly shouldn't be troubled. I have them up by 10.
Knights v Bulldogs (Sat 06/08, 3.00pm)
After showing well in their previous outings round 21 was a step back for the Knights. Poor Nathan Brown must be sick of having to attend press conferences where he has to talk about how his side is a side for 5 years time, not right now. If you look to right now the Bulldogs are still sitting nicely just one back and away from the top 4 pack, ready to pounce should a Raider or Cowboy slip up. This is a big week for the Bulldogs, they should win easily, but is the perfect opportunity for them to really make some gains in the for and against columns of their ladder spot. The Bulldogs by 30.
Sharks v Raiders (Sat 06/08, 5.30pm)
This is the test. Yes Ricky Stuarts young men are 3rd on the ladder, but now they get to test themselves against the best in the competition. The draw last week was the best thing that could have happened for the Sharks. No everyone can stop talking 'winning streak' and they haven't even had to lose a game to do it.
The Sharks had an intense period of extra time on Monday and on a 5 day turn around if the Raiders can go 80 minutes they might just topple the comp leaders late in the game. The key is that they MUST go 80 minutes. The Raiders have had the luxury of getting away with winning games on the back of 60 minute performances and that simply wont wash with the Sharks. A tough one so i will hedge my bets and say that if the Raiders are within a try with 10 minutes to go,they will run over the top of Cronulla. If they dont turn up, they will get slapped by about 18.
Storm v Rabbitohs (Sat 06/08, 7.30pm)
There isn't really whole lot to say about this match. The Storm so controlled, so in form, soon their game, fighting for Minor Premiership with the best no 9 and no 7 in the world. The Rabbitohs, down on form, down on players, travelling down to a cold Melbourne for a frosty Saturday night game. If the Rabbitohs get within 20 of the Storm it will be a surprise.
Titans V Warriors (Sun 07/08, 2.00pm)
Of course everyone is talking about the 'Hayne Plane' of course they are. And even f he turns out and has a terrible game, the best thing Neil Henry can do is play him this week. If he didn't all anyone would be talking about would be when is the Plane landing?. For the Titans who are contesting a spot in the top 8 they just don't need the distraction. So let's just get it out of the way. Hayne will probably get about 15-20 minutes. But anyone looking for fireworks, don't be disappointed if you don't see them. It will take Hayne all of this year, a full pre-season and maybe even 6 or 7 rounds next year to hit his best again. To the game: a win for both sides is crucial in firming their Semi-final hopes and holding back the rush of competition coming up behind them. They play such different styles football the key for the Titans is getting the Warriors in the grind and then watching every single move Johnson makes. If they can contain the light-footed halfback they should get home. Titans at home by 7.
Tigers v Cowboys (Sun 07/08, 4.00pm)
It remains to be seen if Thurston will play. However they wont risk him in this match. Of course top 4 is where they want to be, if resting Thurston to have him fully fit means they finish 5 or 6th they will take it knowing they have the freshest and best player in the world in their side. If any team can win from outside the top 4 it is the Cowboys,especially if Thurston is fit. With both teams missing their first string half backs the match will be won between Woods and Scott. Whoever wins the battle of big boys wins this one. The The Tigers are close but they aren't quite in the same echelon as the Cowboys. Green's men by 12.
Panthers v Roosters (Mon 08/08, 7.00pm)
The Panthers are showing all the signs of a young side swaying a bit with up and down form. This match will be closer than if it was played 5 or 6 weeks ago, with the Roosters form firming and they are starting to find some combinations. Ferguson is looking really good at the back and the key match up Ferguson v Moylan. Whoever can control their sides defence from the back should steer their team home. The scores should tip close to 20 points for each team. It should be the Panthers desire to stay in top 8 touch that wins them the match. Panthers in golden point 21-20.