Who has the aces in the bid for glory?
WITH the NRL finals here, WAYNE HEMING identifies the likely game-breakers and X-factor players for each of the eight surviving clubs.
BRONCOS V TITANS
Tonight, elimination final at Suncorp Stadium
SPORTSBET ODDS: Brisbane $1.28, Gold Coast $3.85.
BRISBANE: Game-breakers: Matt Gillett, James Roberts. X-factor: Anthony Milford (pictured).
GOLD COAST: Game-breakers: Ash Taylor, Ryan James. X-factor: Jarryd Hayne.
HEAD-TO-HEAD: Played 34, Brisbane 27, Gold Coast 7. At venue: Played 14, Brisbane 13, Gold Coast 1. Finals: Played 1, Brisbane 1, Gold Coast 0.
FINALS PLAYED: Brisbane 53 (28 wins), Gold Coast 4 (1 win).
SUMMARY: Brisbane has got its try-line defence back in order and with wins in its past five starts goes into the clash with momentum.
RAIDERS V SHARKS
Tomorrow, qualifying final at GIO Stadium
SPORTSBET ODDS: Canberra $1.67, Cronulla $2.25.
CANBERRA: Game-breakers: Josh Hodgson, Joey Leilua. X-factor: Jarrod Croker (pictured).
CRONULLA: Game-breakers: Andrew Fifita, James Maloney. X-factor: Ben Barba.
HEAD-TO-HEAD: Played 66, Cronulla 35, Canberra 31. At venue: Played 25, Canberra 14, Cronulla 11. Finals: Played 5, Cronulla 3, Canberra 2.
FINALS PLAYED: Canberra 43 (20 wins), Cronulla 40 (15 wins)
SUMMARY: How do you stop the Green Machine, which has rolled powerfully to wins in its past 10 games?
STORM V COWBOYS
Tomorrow, qualifying final at AAMI Park
SPORTSBET ODDS: Melbourne $1.77, North Queensland $2.10.
MELBOURNE: Game-breakers: Cameron Smith, Cooper Cronk. X-factor: Jessie Bromwich.
NORTH QUEENSLAND: James Taumalolo, Johnathan Thurston (pictured). X-factor: Jake Granville.
HEAD-TO-HEAD: Played 32, Melbourne 22, North Queensland 10. At venue: Played 4, Melbourne 2, North Queensland 2. Finals: Played 2, North Queensland 2, Melbourne 0.
FINALS PLAYED: Melbourne 37 (22 wins), North Queensland 20 (11 wins).
SUMMARY: This is the clash between the defending premiers and the minor premiers and to some, a possible preview of next month's grand final. The Storm strangle teams with their wrestle defence and discipline while but their rivals can score from anywhere on the field.
PANTHERS V BULLDOGS
Sunday, elimination final at Allianz Stadium
SPORTSBET ODDS: Penrith $1.50, Canterbury $2.57.
PENRITH: Game-breakers: Matt Moylan (pictured), Bryce Cartwright. X-factor: James Fisher-Harris.
CANTERBURY: Game-breakers: Josh Reynolds, James Graham. X-factor: Moses Mbye.
HEAD-TO-HEAD: Played 89, Canterbury 51, Penrith 35, drawn 3. At venue: Played 1, Canterbury 1, Penrith 0. Finals: Played 3, Canterbury 2, Penrith 1.
FINALS PLAYED: Penrith 21 (10 wins), Canterbury 92 (51 wins).
SUMMARY: Canterbury has wobbled into the finals while Penrith has found some eye-catching form on the back of captain Matt Moylan.