How the NRL preliminary finals shape up

How the NRL preliminary finals shape up

How the NRL preliminary finals shape up

FRIDAY, Sept 22

1st Preliminary Final

Melbourne v Brisbane at AAMI Park, 7.55pm

Brisbane stand as the final hurdle for Melbourne to leap for a shot at redeeming last year's grand final defeat. The Broncos were in control for most of their semi-final against Penrith but are expected to find another gear with the expected inclusions of captain Darius Boyd (hamstring) and impact forward Tevita Pangai Junior (knee) back from injury. In contrast, the Storm have had their feet up following their qualifying final win over Parramatta, with almost a full squad at their disposal. They will start as heavy favourites to become the first team to back-to-back grand finals in eight seasons.

SATURDAY, Sept 23

2nd Preliminary Final

Sydney Roosters v North Queensland at Allianz Stadium, 7.40pm

The gutsiest team in the NRL booked a meeting with the best clutch team after North Queensland outlasted Parramatta in Saturday's semi-final win. The Cowboys are now just 80 minutes away from matching the 2009 Eels, who were the most recent team to reach the decider from eighth spot. Standing in their way are the Roosters, who enhanced their reputation as the best finishers in the NRL when they snatched a qualifying final win over the Broncos with a 75th minute try to Latrell Mitchell. All eyes are on whether winger Daniel Tupou has recovered from a groin issue to take his spot in their backline.

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