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A full slate of NRL matches will provide tipsters with plenty to think about this weekend.

As well as taking a close look at who the experts are backing in Round 17, it is worth keeping an eye on the Late Mail to see which players are backing up for club duties after Origin III and who will miss out due to either injury or being granted a hard-earned rest.

Of the eight matches, Friday's Rabbitohs-Manly clash and the Wests Tigers-Eels match on Sunday loom as the closest fixtures this weekend.

Round 17 tips and previews

Panthers v Titans, Friday 6pm at Panthers Stadium

Brett Kimmorley says: People are a bit unsure on what is happening at the Titans with all the Kevvie Walters talk, so I expect a strong player response to that. Penrith have worked out the style of football Ivan Cleary would like them to play. It is has taken half the season but it looks like they are there now. A lot depends on whether James Maloney backs up after Origin. Panthers by 4

Knights v Bulldogs, Friday, 7.55pm at McDonald Jones Stadium

Brett Kimmorley says: Last weekend Newcastle again showed that they are playing a tough brand of football, they just lacked the quality talent needed to get the win in the end. If the Blues win Origin, Mitchell Pearce will jump out of that with his confidence sky-high. Canterbury played reasonably well against the Sharks. The Knights won't have it all their own way here. Knights by 6

Rabbitohs v Sea Eagles, Saturday 3pm at ANZ Stadium

Brett Kimmorley says: This is where we start positioning ourselves for the semi-finals. South Sydney have had a little bit of a quiet period but it's time for them to hit their straps under Wayne Bennett. I don't think we’ve seen their best yet this year. Manly won't let them have things all their own way. This will be a great forward battle and there's a chance Manly will get on top of Souths in the forwards. Adam Reynolds' kicking could prove the difference. Souths by 2

Broncos v Warriors, Saturday 5.30pm at Suncorp Stadium

Brett Kimmorley says: Maybe that victory last week will spur the Broncos on. Their forwards were really good against the Sharks. Pangai jnr, Haas, Lodge and Flegler were all so good. They are back home and they need to play tough again. For the Warriors, Kodi Nikorima is heading back to a venue at which he will know every blade of grass. If they are to win, he needs to star. Broncos by 4

How will rugby league remember Cameron Smith?

Storm v Sharks, Saturday 7.35pm at AAMI Park

Brett Kimmorley says: The Storm don't lose too many milestone games. There doesn't seem to be many records that Cameron Smith doesn't have. The Storm have been flexing their muscles of late and are leading by a fair way. Cronulla have been extremely poor for three losses in a row now, this will be a game they will lift for. They love playing Melbourne and this would be the upset of the round if they're able to do it. But I'll sway just towards Melbourne here. Storm by 1

Roosters v Cowboys, Sunday 2pm at Central Coast Stadium

Brett Kimmorley says: The Roosters are starting to get their team back together. Luke Keary was classy but still not at his best last week. Once the rep players are all back we will see the best team on paper in the league get some consistency and then get their brand of football to where they think they can win the competition. Roosters by 10

Tigers v Eels, Sunday 4.05pm at Bankwest Stadium

Brett Kimmorley says: I liked the way the Wests Tigers played last week. They looked great. As is the case with Ivan Cleary at Penrith, it looks like Michael Maguire has needed half the season to get his team playing the way he would like. Benji Marshall's 300th game is all the motivation they'll need. Parramatta will be fresh but I don't think that will be enough. Wests Tigers by 6

Dragons v Raiders, Sunday 6.10pm at WIN Stadium

Brett Kimmorley says: I've got no idea why they have the Dragons as favourites. The Raiders have been very good this year. They have minimal effect from State of Origin and will have a better preparation than the Dragons will. For the Dragons, Cameron McInnes was amazing last week, I thought he had his best game of the season. The Dragons may be heavily affected by Origin while the Raiders will have a cruisey preparation. Raiders by 8

Acknowledgement of Country

National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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