September 26, 2021

The World Live Breaking News Coverage & Updates IN ENGLISH

The World Live Breaking News Coverage & Updates IN ENGLISH

Who plays who in first week of the NRL finals

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, Who plays who in first week of the NRL finals, The World Live Breaking News Coverage & Updates IN ENGLISH
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, Who plays who in first week of the NRL finals, The World Live Breaking News Coverage & Updates IN ENGLISH
, Who plays who in first week of the NRL finals, The World Live Breaking News Coverage & Updates IN ENGLISH

The NRL premiership race is down to eight teams with the regular season wrapping up on Sunday.

The Melbourne Storm enter the finals as minor premiers after clinching the JJ Giltinan Shield against Cronulla last Friday night.

The Titans on the other hand only just scrapped into the eight to reach the finals for the first time since 2016.

These are the match-ups in the opening week of the finals series.

First qualifying final: Storm vs Sea Eagles

The defending premiers face the Sea Eagles at Sunshine Coast Stadium on Friday night to kick off the finals series.

The Storm will come in fresh after resting several key players in recent weeks.

, Who plays who in first week of the NRL finals, The World Live Breaking News Coverage & Updates IN ENGLISH, Who plays who in first week of the NRL finals, The World Live Breaking News Coverage & Updates IN ENGLISH
The Storm will have to find a way to stop Sea Eagles star Tom Trbojevic.(

Getty Images: Ian Hitchcock

)

But they are sweating on a fitness concern to star five-eighth Cameron Munster, who has an infected knee that needed a surgical cleanout last week.

The Sea Eagles, who finished fourth on the ladder, lost when these teams met at the start of August.

But they have the NRL’s form player in Tom Trbojevic and an array of strike weapons that will ask plenty of questions of the Storm’s defence.

First elimination final: Roosters vs Titans

The Sydney Roosters, who finished fifth on the ladder, face the eighth-placed Gold Coast in Townsville on Saturday.

The Titans qualified for the top eight with a 44-0 thumping of the Warriors on Sunday, but enter the play-offs with the worst record of any team in history to make the finals.

, Who plays who in first week of the NRL finals, The World Live Breaking News Coverage & Updates IN ENGLISH, Who plays who in first week of the NRL finals, The World Live Breaking News Coverage & Updates IN ENGLISH
The Titans grabbed the last remaining finals spot with their won over the Warriors on Sunday.(

AAP: Dave Hunt

)

They will have nothing to lose and appear to have uncovered a game-breaker in young fullback Jayden Campbell, while David Fifita’s impact off the bench cannot be discounted.

Trent Robinson’s Roosters may be undermanned, but they are a finals-hardened team and have won nine of their past 10 matches against the Titans.

Second qualifying final: Panthers vs Rabbitohs

Penrith and South Sydney face off in the second match of the double header in Townsville.

The second-placed Panthers may have missed out on the minor premiership, but a 40-6 win over an understrength Parramatta on Friday was a perfect warm-up for finals.

, Who plays who in first week of the NRL finals, The World Live Breaking News Coverage & Updates IN ENGLISH, Who plays who in first week of the NRL finals, The World Live Breaking News Coverage & Updates IN ENGLISH
Brian To’o (right) made his presence felt in his Panthers return against the Eels.(

AAP: Dave Hunt

)

Brian To’o showed he is back to his best with a hat-trick, while Nathan Cleary sat out the final few minutes when the match was won.

Blake Taaffe put his hand up to fill Latrell Mitchell’s void for the Rabbitohs with a composed display at fullback, as Wayne Bennett’s inexperienced line-up defeated St George Illawarra on Saturday.

The Rabbitohs finished two points behind the Storm and Panthers on the ladder in third position, with a 20-4 win-loss record.

They have lost five straight matches against the Panthers, a run that includes a 56-12 humiliation in Dubbo earlier this year.

Second elimination final: Eels vs Knights

Parramatta and Newcastle will wrap up the opening week of the finals when they meet at Rockhampton’s Browne Park on Sunday afternoon.

Both teams come into the finals on the back of humbling defeats.

, Who plays who in first week of the NRL finals, The World Live Breaking News Coverage & Updates IN ENGLISH, Who plays who in first week of the NRL finals, The World Live Breaking News Coverage & Updates IN ENGLISH
The Knights need Kalyn Ponga (right) firing on all cylinders if they are to beat the Eels.(

AAP: Darren Pateman

)

After spending most of the season in the top four, Parramatta — sixth on the ladder — has no second chance and Brad Arthur is desperate to overcome a finals record that boasts just one win from six finals as a head coach.

The Knights have lost three straight to the Eels, including a 40-4 thrashing earlier this year.

They were placed seventh on the conclusion of the regular season.

AAP/ABC

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