Townsend clears mind of Cowboys' top-eight scenarios

Scott Radford-Chisholm/AAP PHOTOS

Chad Townsend's been involved in some tight final-round NRL scenarios but the North Queensland captain reckons this one takes the cake.

Sitting ninth, the Cowboys must beat the two-time defending premiers Penrith on the road this Saturday and, to sneak into the eight, hope that either South Sydney or Canberra lose.

The Rabbitohs will have already played the Sydney Roosters, while the standings won't be concrete until the Raiders meet Cronulla in Sunday's final regular-season game.

Also in play is the minor premiership, with the Panthers able to jump Brisbane if the Broncos lose to Melbourne on Thursday.

There is plenty to ponder but Townsend, who has been here before, reckons he's not thinking about it.

"Not much at all," the 241-game veteran said on Wednesday.

"There's a lot of talk about results, who's playing, who's not. We can't control that."

A post-season berth was the carrot for the winner of Townsend's Sharks and Wests Tigers on the final day of the 2019 regular season.

Three Cronulla tries in six second-half minutes, then a Paul Gallen field goal, iced the win in what was Robbie Farah's final NRL game.

"I've seen close competitions before, but this one takes the cake," Townsend said.

"We're sitting in a positive position (with a plus-36 differential) ... it goes to show every game, result, try - it all counts."

The Cowboys will roll out the same team that beat the Dolphins last week while Penrith welcome back Dylan Edwards, Sunia Turuva, Mitch Kenny and Scott Sorensen after they were rested in a round-26 loss to Parramatta.

Jack Cogger replaces the injured Jarome Luai (shoulder).