FUTURE LEADER: Josh Jackson of the Bulldogs has re-signed with the club.
FUTURE LEADER: Josh Jackson of the Bulldogs has re-signed with the club. DARREN PATEMAN

Weekend set to make or break teams' finals chance

RUGBY LEAGUE: The minor premiership, top four and top eight on the NRL ladder could all take on a new look after an intriguing round 24 of matches over the weekend.

For the Wests Tigers, sitting in 10th place on 24 points, their clash with the seventh-placed Penrith tonight could be the last roll of the finals dice.

A loss would leave the Tigers stranded on 24 points with just two games to play against the Warriors away and home to a firing Canberra.

As it stands with three rounds remaining, Melbourne (38 points), Cronulla (37), Canberra (33) and Canterbury (32) should finish in the top four.

Brisbane (28) could make a late run if it wins its final three games against the Bulldogs (last night), Storm and Roosters.

The battle for the top eight goes down to the 10th-placed Tigers who, along with the Panthers (seventh, 26 points), Titans (eighth, 25 points) and Warriors (ninth, 24 points), are locked in a battle for the last two spots.

It's also a huge game for the Warriors, whose season could be over unless they can spring a big upset over North Queensland tomorrow.

The Titans should hold their place in the eight with a win against Newcastle, which is on a 17-game losing streak.

In other league news the Bulldogs have locked up Origin forward Josh Jackson, a possible future NSW captain, until 2020 on a new four-year deal.

And veteran St George Illawarra forward Ben Creagh has decided to retire because of chronic knee issues.

The 31-year-old, who was a member of the club's 2010 premiership-winning side, retired on 270 games for the Dragons, three short of Ben Hornby's club record.


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