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A look ahead to NRL round 19

WHAT'S AT STAKE IN NRL ROUND 19

THURSDAY

* Cronulla v North Queensland, PointsBet Stadium, 7.50pm

One side could drop out of finals contention here. Both are on 16 points and one win adrift of the eight. Whoever loses will have a lot of ground to make up.

FRIDAY

* Newcastle v Wests Tigers, McDonald Jones Stadium, 6pm

Both sides are on the fringe of finals spots. Newcastle are hanging on in eighth , but will be slip down the list with a loss here. The Tigers can go level with the Knights on 18 points with a victory.

* South Sydney v St George Illawarra, ANZ Stadium, 7.55pm

Wayne Bennett's side are hunting a top two finish and will smell blood in the water against the out-of-form Dragons. For the Red V, this is a test of just how far they've fallen in 12 months. Last September, they were knocked out in week two of the finals by the Rabbitohs by just one point.

SATURDAY

* Parramatta v Warriors, BankWest Stadium, 3pm

Win and the Eels stay in touch with the top four. Lose and they could find themselves in eighth spot. Two points here and the Warriors could find themselves back in the top eight for the first time since round two.

* Gold Coast v Brisbane, Cbus Super Stadium, 5.30pm

Like the Warriors, the Broncos are just one point behind eight-placed Newcastle. They have a favourable run home and will be banking on two points here.

* Melbourne v Manly, AAMI Park, 7.30pm

What a blockbuster. The Storm are out in front by six points. But Manly are out to prove the competition is more than a four-horse race. Des Hasler's men are two points adrift of fourth-placed Canberra.

SUNDAY

* Canterbury v Sydney Roosters, ANZ Stadium, 2pm

The Roosters are premiership favourites and after tearing Newcastle to shreds, will be out to make another big statement against the lowly Dogs.

* Penrith v Canberra, Panthers Stadium, 4pm

This shapes as the game of the round. The Panthers are searching for an equal-club-record eighth win in a row. A win here and they're just two points behind the fourth-placed Raiders. Ricky Stuart's men are unlikely to drop out of the four with a loss here, but must keep pace with the sides above them.