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The battles to decide NRL's top eight

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GAMES TO DECIDE NRL'S TOP EIGHT

Round 23: Wests Tigers v Newcastle at Campbelltown

A massive match that is sudden death for both sides. Both teams have very winnable games in round 24 followed by a clash with a fellow fringe side in round 25, meaning Saturday's winner is in a good spot to play finals. Both teams are inconsistent and unpredictable, and have trouble at No.9 with the Tigers' Robbie Farah and Jacob Liddle injured, while the Knights' Connor Watson is in doubt.

Round 23: Brisbane v South Sydney at Suncorp

Big game for Brisbane who can go to 25 points and within touching distance of safety with a win over the struggling Rabbitohs. Brisbane then have Parramatta and Canterbury to finish. Two wins from their final three will be enough for Brisbane to progress, unless both the Sharks and Penrith are undefeated for the final three rounds.

Round 24: Cronulla v Canberra at PointsBet

While Newcastle and the Wests Tigers face the lowly-ranked Gold Coast and St George Illawarra in round 24, Penrith have the Sydney Roosters and the Sharks host the Raiders. While both the Panthers and Cronulla will enter as outsiders, two points from either of those matches would be vital. The Sharks look the most likely to pull off an upset, with their side now back to full strength and appearing a force to be reckoned with if they make the finals.

Round 25: Wests Tigers v Cronulla at Leichhardt

The first game of what shapes as a blockbuster final day of the regular season. Cronulla will most likely head into this match still requiring a win to wrap up a finals spot, while depending on the Tigers' results it could become a virtual knockout match. The match will double as Robbie Farah's official farewell, but it remains to be seen if he will recover from a fractured tibia in time to figure. If the Sharks lose, it could also be Paul Gallen's last in the NRL.

Round 25: Penrith v Newcastle at Panthers

A match that could mean absolutely all or nothing by the time the two teams run out. Depending on the result in the Tigers-Sharks game played just hours earlier, it's possible both teams could enter a must-win game with calculations in mind to make the finals on for-and-against. Newcastle's equations will be more favourable, with a current points differential of +15 as opposed to Penrith's -75.

Other live matches:

* Rd 23 - North Queensland v Penrith, Cronulla v Warriors.

* Rd 24 - Brisbane v Parramatta, Newcastle v Gold Coast, Sydney Roosters v Penrith, St George Illawarra v Wests Tigers.

* Rd 25 - Canterbury v Brisbane.

© AAP 2019