Melbourne produce the goods, the Roosters' incredible run, Newcastle's unwanted history and the Bulldogs leave it late. The key numbers that defined Round 26.
Melbourne will begin their road back to finals redemption when they step onto Allianz Stadium against the Roosters on Friday night.
Melbourne found themselves in strange waters late Sunday afternoon, cheering on arch rivals the Sea Eagles as they helped secure the Storm a top-four spot.
The Roosters will clash with the Storm, Bulldogs will take on Dragons, Broncos host the Cowboys and the Sharks will meet the Rabbitohs.
Broncos coach Wayne Bennett has warned players to be careful not to bite the hands that feed them following concerns raised Cameron Smith and Craig Bellamy.
Storm captain Cameron Smith has signalled the intention of the Rugby League Players Association to put an end to five-day turnarounds in future NRL scheduling.
The finals came a week early with Melbourne getting the better of a depleted Broncos side in a grueling contest at Suncorp Stadium on Thursday night.
The Broncos prepare to farewell captain Justin Hodges in a positive frame of mind while the Storm are refreshed after a Sunshine Coast camp.
The finals have come a week early with a grudge match between two premiership heavyweights to begin Round 26, with history very much with the visitors.
Storm star Cooper Cronk is playing down the battle of the halves ahead of Thursday night's showdown against Brisbane duo Ben Hunt and Anthony Millford.