The race to make the top four in the NRL continues on Friday night when the Melbourne Storm take on the Gold Coast Titans, while Manly Sea Eagles entertain the Parramatta Eels.
Just four points are separating third and seventh place on the ladder and with just five games of the regular season remaining there is all to play for.
The Storm have been on a horror run of form but returned to winning ways last week. That stopped the rot and they will now be looking for a strong finish and a place in the top four.
The same can be said of the Eels, who like Melbourne are on 26 points and need a strong finish to have any chance of making the top four.
They will be up against a Manly side that have had a rough couple of weeks in the media spotlight but are still in with a chance of making the top eight and playing finals.
Two exciting games to look forward to on Friday night so let’s take a closer look at the teams involved.
What: Melbourne Storm v Gold Coast Titans
Where: AAMI Park, Melbourne
When: 18:00 (AEST) Friday 5th August 2022
How to watch: Kayo, Foxtel
Odds: Storm 11/100, Titans 11/2
It had been a rough few weeks for the Melbourne Storm before they finally snapped the four-game losing streak when beating the New Zealand Warriors last week.
And they now have a great chance to go back-to-back when they face a Titans side that have lost the last nine games in a row.
Craig Bellamy’s side really need the two points as well as after the Titans clash they face a tough run-in to the season.
There are games against the Panthers, Broncos, Roosters and Eels to come before they head into finals. So there is plenty of work to do if they are to make the top four.
There is some good news though as the treatment room is finally starting to clear a little. There have been some big names missing in recent weeks which has made life tough.
However the return of hooker Brandon Smith from suspension comes as a huge boost, while Xavier Coates also returns from the injury he picked up while playing State of Origin.
David Nofoaluma who has been drafted in from the Wests Tigers, will start on the wing. While Cooper Johns, Jordan Grant and Young Tonumaipea also return.
It is not all good news though as Nick Meaney is out through injury while Justin Olam is sick.
The Titans are having a horror season and are on course to pick up their second wooden spoon in four years unless they stop the rot.
A trip to AAMI Park is daunting to say the least, but if they can cause an upset it could be the spark they need.
They have lost nine on the bounce to sit bottom of the ladder, but did run the Broncos close recently and can take heart from that.
The Gold Coast do have some big players in their ranks and they need them to step up. Namely David Fifita, AJ Brimson, Jayden Campbell and Tino Fa'asuamaleaui.
What: Manly Sea Eagles v Parramatta Eels
Where: 4 Pines Park, Sydney
When: 19:55 (AEST) Friday 5th August 2022
How to watch: Channel 9, Kayo, Foxtel
Odds: Manly 41/50, Parramatta 1/1
There is a huge rivalry between the Sea Eagles and Eels and there is plenty at stake when the old foes clash on Friday night.
When the two sides clashed in round 11 it was the Eels that edged it 22-20 and another close game could be on the cards here.
The Sea Eagles sit just two points outside of the eight and are in need of a win following a disruptive couple of weeks which no doubt contributed to their loss against the Roosters last week.
Manly are boosted by the return of Jason Saab, Christian Tuipulotu, Tolutau Koula, Haumole Olakau'atu and Toafofoa Sipley for the game but Sean Keppie remains on the sidelines with a shoulder injury.
As far as Parramatta are concerned, again it will be a case of which Eels side turns up. If it is the one that beat Penrith for the second time this season last week then they have a great chance of taking the win.
They will have to do it without the injured Mitch Moses though after he suffered a finger injury against the Panthers. Jake Arthur will step into the halves as cover.
Parramatta are sixth on the ladder but level on points with fourth-placed Manly and just two away from the Sharks in third so it is another huge game for Brad Arthur’s side.