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NRL: Raiders look to jump into the eight

The battle for second spot on the NRL ladder hots up on Saturday with both the Cowboys and Sharks in action, while the Raiders could jump into the top eight.

Saturday looks like being a super one with three games to look forward to and there is all to play for in each one of them with just two rounds remaining.

The Canberra Raiders begin the day with a home clash against the Manly Sea Eagles and a win will see them jump over the Brisbane Broncos and into eighth spot on the ladder.

Then it is the turn of third-place Cronulla Sharks who entertain the Canterbury Bulldogs knowing a win could lift them above North Queensland Cowboys who currently occupy second spot.

Both the Sharks and Cowboys are on 34 points but the latter are in for a real test when they take on South Sydney Rabbitohs in what is shaping up to be the game of the day at Accor Stadium in Sydney.

There are three cracking games to look forward to so let’s take a closer a look at the match-ups with game-day fast approaching.

What: Canberra Raiders v Manly Sea Eagles
Where: GIO Stadium, Canberra
When: 15:00 (AEST) Saturday 27th August
How to watch: Kayo, Foxtel
Odds: Raiders 1/5, Sea Eagles 18/5

The Raiders have a great chance to book their place in finals after the Brisbane Broncos slipped to another heavy defeat against Parramatta on Thursday night.

Two wins should be enough to get the job done but all focus will be on the clash with the Sea Eagles on Saturday when two points will move them into the eight.

They are in great form having won five of the last six games, with the only defeat coming against the minor premiers Penrith.

The green machine also showed their character when coming from behind to beat Newcastle last week so should be full of confidence heading into the clash against the Sea Eagles.

Coach Ricky Stuart has no fresh injury concerns and has named the same 17 that defeated Newcastle.

Manly on the other hand are having a disastrous end to the season. Any hopes of finals were dashed after losing the last five games and they will now be playing for pride in the last two.

Just to make matters worse star trio Jake Trbojevic, Reuben Garrick and Jason Saab have all been added to the injury list.

What: Cronulla Sharks v Canterbury Bulldogs
Where: PointsBet Stadium, Sydney
When: 17:30 (AEST) Saturday 27th August
How to watch: Kayo, Foxtel
Odds: Sharks 7/100, Bulldogs 15/2

The Sharks are flying and look to be peaking at just the right time as they head into finals.

They have won the last four games on the bounce scoring a total of 121 points in the process and they will be out to inflict similar damage on the Bulldogs on Saturday afternoon.

Depending on how the Cowboys go later in the day, the Sharks could find themselves second on the ladder by the close of business.

Nicho Hynes is on fire for the Sharks, who will also be boosted by the return of star centre Siosifa Talakai from a shoulder injury. However Connor Tracey is out after suffering a concussion against Manly last week.

The Bulldogs have shown some signs of improvement but a long, hard season looks to be taking its toll as they crawl towards the finish line.

They have conceded 112 points in the last three games and will do well to avoid another mauling by the Sharks, who beat them 18-6 back in round 16. That game was played in atrocious conditions and was something of a leveller.

What: South Sydney Rabbitohs v North Queensland Cowboys
Where: Accor Stadium, Sydney
When: 19:35 (AEST) Saturday 27th August
How to watch: Channel 9, Kayo, Foxtel
Odds: Rabbitohs 47/100, Cowboys 17/10

Souths versus the Cowboys has all the makings of a classic with plenty on the line for both sides.

The Rabbitohs have been in great form but last week’s defeat against the Panthers means there is still work to do over the last two games to seal their place in finals. A win over the Cowboys will get the job done.

North Queensland on the other hand will be keen to hold on to second spot on the ladder with the Sharks pushing them hard.

Souths winger Jaxon Paulo has been taken out of the firing line after a tough game against Melbourne so Izaac Thompson comes in to replace him. Kodi Nikorima also returns from a hamstring injury.

Tom Dearden has been ruled out for the Cowboys, so Scott Drinkwater will move to five-eighth to fill in. Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow will play fullback.

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