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How the NRL finals are shaping up

Teammates celebrate after Jesse Bromwich scores a try for the Storm on Saturday night.
Teammates celebrate after Jesse Bromwich scores a try for the Storm on Saturday night. JOE CASTRO

ST GEORGE Illawarra's finals future is in their hands.

The Dragons face the Bulldogs on Sunday with a win securing the Red V eighth place and booking their place in the finals.

But if the Bulldogs beat the Dragons, North Queensland hold onto eighth spot and the Dragons miss out.

Already several fixtures have been locked in for the first week of the finals.

Here's what we know ...

THE TOP FOUR

Melbourne (1) finished with minor premiership and play Parramatta (4) at AAMI Park next Saturday (all times for finals TBC)

Parramatta coach Brad Arthur says nobody will give his team a chance which means they have "a free throw at the stumps".

"They tackle well, they work together well, they've got great systems. They're not going to beat themselves," Arthur said.

"We've got to be at our best but you need to complete, you need to be positive with your ball movement and you need to be very good defensively and limit the amount of back-to-back opportunities you give them because if you give them opportunities they make you pay."

 

Kenneth Edwards in action for the Eels
Kenneth Edwards in action for the Eels JOEL CARRETT

The winner of this game has a week off, while the loser plays in a do-or-die scenario at their home ground against a team that finished in the bottom half of the eight.

The Roosters' (2) win over Titans put them into second and will host Brisbane (3) at Allianz Stadium on Friday night.

The winner of this game has a week off, while the loser plays in a do-or-die scenario at their home ground against a team that finished in the bottom half of the eight.

"We've played the scenarios pretty well over the last six weeks. We knew we've been fighting to get back into the top two. We've been fighting to get that home (advantage)," Trent Robinson said.

"It was right there - we could touch it. It was just 80 minutes away. We got a bit tight trying to execute that to go and get that second spot. "It wasn't a great performance from us, but then we weren't tight enough to not still get back into the right mode and finish it off."

THE NEXT FOUR

Manly will almost certainly finish sixth unless Newcastle shock Cronulla on Sunday by at least 21 points.

If that happens, the Sea Eagles could finish fifth.

The Sea Eagles will likely host an elimination final on Saturday night at Allianz Stadium.

The Sea Eagles will play St George Illawarra or Penrith depending on the result of the Dragons v Bulldogs game on Sunday.

"We've got a real opportunity to do something special as a team," Trent Barrett said.

Penrith will also live to fight another day, but only after a scare, given they had trailed 28-0 with 26 minutes to play.

A loss by 38 points or more would've put them into the danger zone.

Topics:  editors picks melbourne storm nrl parramatta eels sydney roosters

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