Round 24 of the NRL gets underway on Thursday night with a huge game between the Brisbane Broncos and Parramatta Eels at Suncorp Stadium.
With just two games of the regular season remaining every point is crucial and both the Broncos and Eels are in need of the win.
Brisbane were once in the hunt for the top four but have since slipped to eighth on the ladder and with the Canberra Raiders breathing down their neck there is a chance they could miss out on finals unless they get their act together.
Fifth-placed Parramatta are guaranteed a spot in finals but they have their eyes on the top four and a victory in Brisbane will keep their hopes alive.
Being the first game of the round, it is a real chance for one of these sides to put the pressure on the teams around them.
There is plenty at stake in a must-win game for both sides so let’s take a closer look at the Broncos and Eels as game-day fast approaches.
What: Brisbane Broncos v Parramatta Eels preview
Where: Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
When: 19:50 (AEST) Thursday 25th August 2022
How to watch: Channel 9, Kayo , Foxtel
Odds: Brisbane 5/4, Parramatta 13/20
The Broncos have made remarkable progress this season as coach Kevin Walters has take them from the lower reaches of the ladder into finals.
However it will be viewed as a disappointing season if they slip out of finals at this late stage after being in and around the top four for so long.
Just two points separate them from ninth place Canberra and the Raiders are fancied to win their last two games of the regular season. It means the Broncos have to win both of the last two games to make sure.
They would love to get the job done against the Eels but there will need to be a big improvement on the performance they put in last week.
The Brisbane fans were alarmed after seeing their side smashed 60-12 by the Melbourne Storm at Suncorp Stadium and will be expecting a response against the Eels.
The two sides did meet in round 19 and it was the Broncos that came out on top when winning the game at CommBank Stadium 36-14.
Since then the Broncos have won just once in four games to leave their finals hopes in danger and they need to bounce back on Thursday night.
There is some good news for the Broncos though as the influential Kurt Capewell looks to have recovered from the ankle injury sustained against the Storm and has been named to play.
Centre Brenko Lee will also return to the side following a hamstring injury.
Parramatta have a great record against the Broncos and need it to continue if they are to force their way into the top four at the expense of Melbourne Storm.
The Eels did lose on home soil to the Broncos in the last meeting between the two sides. However that was the first defeat in six games against Brisbane and they will be hoping normal service resumes at Suncorp.
Brad Arthur’s men are two points behind the Storm in fourth spot but need to win their last two games to have any chance of leapfrogging them.
Just make things even more interesting, the Eels and Storm go head-to-head at CommBank Stadium in the final game of the regular season.
But first things first, the Eels have to beat Brisbane and then hope the Storm lose to the Sydney Roosters on Friday night.
Again the outcome of the game will depend on what Parramatta team pitches up at Suncorp. The one that can beat Penrith Panthers twice in one season, or the one that can lose to the Wests Tigers and Canterbury Bulldogs.
The Eels have won three of the last four games and bounced back well last week following a 26-0 mauling against the South Sydney Rabbitohs.
They gained revenge on the Bulldogs with a 42-6 win and should be feeling good heading into the Broncos game.
Having star playmaker Mitchell Moses back in the fold is a huge boost and he will again have a key role to play. He has set up 22 tries this season and will be needed again.
Arthur will stick with the same side that beat the Bulldogs but Makahesi Makatoa and Jake Arthur return to the bench at the expense of Bryce Cartwright and Ofahiki Ogden.