Last week might have been Rivalry Round, but a quick look at the blockbusters coming up this week means footy fans should set themselves for an enthralling weekend of gripping footy!  There is no love lost between Manly and Wests Tigers, their feud has been going seemingly forever, and in recent years, the tension between the two sides has been palpable.  Expect fireworks tonight when the two sides meet at Bluetongue Stadium.  


But it doesn’t start and stop on Friday night, not by a long shot.  What about Roosters v Bulldogs, Dragons v Rabbitohs and Eels v Storm!  No matter where the clubs sit on the ladder, these games always provide great spectacles, the players look forward to them and the fans love them.  You can throw current form out the window, because these sides, for lack of a better term, hate each other.    


With finals just around the corner, the competition is going to pick-up, expect some extraordinary games this weekend.

DID YOU KNOW?

  • NRL Match Officials will join players from the Sharks and Cowboys in wearing green socks this weekend as Rugby League shows its support for Planet Ark’s National Tree Day.
  • The NRL official twitter account has reached over 25,000 followersFollow us @NRL.

THIS WEEK ON NRL.com

Thurston injury will improve us: Hall.  Losing Johnathan Thurston to injury will prove the turning point in the Cowboys season and the catalyst towards a maiden NRL Telstra Premiership, according to forward Glenn Hall.

Official View: Referees co-coach Stuart Raper admits the pass from Carney to Anasta was flat at worse, but says it is very speculative to say that it would have led to a try.

NRL Mailbox: This week we look at home city venues hosting the first week of the finals.  “To ensure as many people as possible are able to attend finals matches it was resolved that finals games should be held at consistent venues in each city that could cater for that demand.”

Stats Insider: We look at the NRL ladder if it were based on pure stats. 

Casualty Ward: The top five teams on the Premiership ladder are among the teams who have used the least amount of players so far this season, which gives their 2011 title hopes a major boost. 

 NRL.com COLUMNISTS

Sterling Gold: NRL.com expert Peter Sterling looks at the return of Matt Bowen as one of the game’s most dangerous players.  “After a horror run with knee injuries there is no doubt that he is back to his best and has lost little of his blinding speed. Any doubt about regaining his zip was definitely eradicated by his superb try-saving tackle on noted speedster David Mead.”

Inside Word: Proud country man Trent Barrett looks at ways the game can help the grass roots areas in the bush.  “I really feel we need to develop a strategy that will alleviate the financial pressure on our bush clubs and help nurture the great talent that is in these areas.”

Next Gen: The defending Premiers could be even better than when they won the title last year, and it looks like the Warriors will become a real force in the NRL over the next few years with so many talented players coming through.  “The young Warriors get great exposure, continue to attract players from rugby union, and are setting the NRL team up for years to come.”

On the Road: Steve Mascord investigates hoodoo’s in Rugby League after the Raiders came from nowhere to win the game in the dying seconds, again proving the Dragons nemesis.  “How can Canberra beat St George Illawarra for 11 years straight at home, securing their latest right on the siren after Jamie Soward kicked what for all money was the winning field goal with a minute left?”

Coach's Box: Graham Murray looks at the run home and says it doesn’t matter if a team can make the finals or not – they are out to win.  “Whether you are third or third last and out of finals contention with six rounds to go, every game is treated the same by the coaches and players.”

In Touch: Leila McKinnon looks at ways to enjoy the finals, even if your team has not made it.  “The relationship between club and fan is passionately loyal. So could someone please explain to me the large number of people who have a "second team".

MATCH CENTRE – ROUND 20

Get all the team lists, head-to-head stats and our match previews in the match centre. Plus live stats and scores, match highlights and much much more!

Updated Team List - all the latest team news.

Casualty Ward – When players were injured and when they are due back.

Match previews

Broncos v Sharks            Last time they played
Sea Eagles v Tigers       Last time they played
Roosters v Bulldogs       Last time they played
Cowboys v Panthers      Last time they played
Knights v Titans               Last time they played
Warriors v Raiders        Last time they played
Dragons v Rabbitohs     Last time they played
Eels v Storm                   Last time they played

VIDEO ON NRL.COM

Petero inspires Panthers:  

Sharks branch out:

Close shave for Sea Eagles:

Petero Civoniceva's press conference


FROM THE CLUBS

There is heaps of great content being produced by your favourite club each and every week.  Both in print and video, the NRL club network is keeping you up to date with your favourite players.  Here is a snapshot of what is making news at some of the clubs.  Make sure you check out your club's website by clicking on their logo in the toolbar above.

Cowboys: Tate opens up on NRL.com chat.

Eels: Shack attack: Shane Shackleton plays roving reporter to find out the nicknames of all his Eels teammates. 

Panthers: Harry Seijka column – young Panthers gun reveals that he is nervous and his sleep pattern is suffering ahead of his NRL debut.

Broncos: Griffin puts Broncos on Gallen alert.

Sharks: Why completion rates matter so much to Cronulla.

Titans: Inagural Titan Anthony Laffranchi proud to reach 200 club. 

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