PENRITH, AUSTRALIA - MAY 17: Nathan Cleary of the Panthers is tackled during the round 11 NRL match between the Penrith Panthers and the Wests Tigers at Panthers Stadium on May 17, 2018 in Penrith, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

This is a weekend of massive proportions. First place will take on second place in the Dragons-Penrith class, while third will play fourth across the ditch in the Warriors-Souths clash. Afternoon clashes on the Central Coast and Newcastle, two pre-season favourites go head-to-head while two star recruits take on their former clubs. Round 12 is here and it's a belter!

It's also Beanie for Brain Cancer Round, if you'd like to support this great cause, you can by purchasing a beanie at: https://beanie.markhughesfoundation.com.au

Brisbane Broncos vs. Parramatta Eels

Suncorp Stadium, 7:50pm, Thursday May 24

Team News: Jordan Kahu returns in place of Tom Opacic, while George Fai replaces Korbin Sims on the bench. Corey Norman and Clint Gutherson swap between five-eighth and fullback. Beau Scott is out for the season, with Manu Ma'u shifting to the back-row, Peni Terepo to lock and Siosaia Vave returning at prop.

Injury Watch: Beau Scott has been ruled out for the season with an ACL tear. Josh McGuire is an outside chance of playing this week.

Prediction: Brisbane pulled off a fantastic comeback last weekend courtesy of two brilliant solo tries, while Parramatta are struggling to put together an 80-minute performance. The Norman-Gutherson swap will ignite Parramatta's attack, but Brisbane will be simply too strong to lose this week. Brisbane by 10.

Canberra Raiders vs. Manly Warringah Sea Eagles

GIO Stadium, 6pm, Friday May 25

Team News: Joe Tapine's suspension sees Josh Papalii shift to the back-row, Sio Soliola to lock, Dunamis Lui to prop and Liam Knight joining the bench.  Jorge Taufua returns in place of Matt Wright, who shifts to the bench. Trent Hodkinson starts in place of Dylan Walker, while Lewis Brown starts at hooker in place of Api Koroisau.

Injury Watch: Dylan Walker is looking at 4-6 weeks with a fractured cheekbone, while Koroisau and Tapine are both suspended.

Prediction: Manly pulled off a massive upset last week in Melbourne, but at what cost? Internationals Api Koroisau and Dylan Walker will miss the game following the melee, and certainly tips the scales in Canberra's favour. The Raiders were beat late by the Dragons in Mudgee, but a return to home soil will be a huge boost for the green machine. Raiders by 8.

North Queensland Cowboys vs. Melbourne Storm

1300SMILES Stadium, 7:55pm, Friday May 25

Team News: North Queensland are unchanged. Jesse Bromwich returns in place of Christian Welch, while Cameron Smith's return sees Brandon Smith drop back to the bench and Harry Grant out of the side. Young Tonumaipea replaces the suspended Curtis Scott. Ryan Hoffman has been rested, with Joe Stimson starting in the back-row and Sam Kasiano returning to the bench.

Injury Watch: Curtis Scott will miss two weeks following his brutal punch up with Dylan Walker.

Prediction: Spare a thought for the Cowboys. Coming up against one of the competition's in-form sides, held them to two tries, even led with 20 seconds to go. Fate is cruel, but it'll have North Queensland raring to go this week. It's hard to see the Queensland club losing after such a heartbreaking loss, but Cameron Smith will be due for a big game following his suspension. How the Cowboys react to last week's loss will make or break their season, and don't be surprised to see them snag a win, but Melbourne don't lose in Queensland too often. Melbourne by 4.

Sydney Roosters vs. Gold Coast Titans

Central Coast Stadium, 3pm, Saturday May 26

Team News: The Roosters are unchanged, while Kevin Proctor's return sees Ryan James shift to prop, Max King to the bench and Moeaki Fotuaika out of the side.

Injury Watch: No immediate concerns.

Prediction: The Titans left it late last week, but snapped a five-match losing streak with a win over Newcastle. Meanwhile, the Roosters suffered a heartbreaking loss following the Bronco's last-minute win, and will be keen to bounce back this week. The Rooster's look too juicy, and shred the Gold Coast out wide. Hopefully, the fans turn out in masses to show the Central Coast needs more games played there. Roosters by 16.

New Zealand Warriors vs. South Sydney Rabbitohs

Mt Smart Stadium, 5:30pm, Saturday May 26

Team News: Roger Tuivasa-Sheck returns at fullback, pushing Peta Hiku to the centres and Gerard Beale out of the side. Simon Mannering starts with Isaiah Papali'i moving to the bench. Alex Johnston is out, with Greg Inglis shifting to fullback, Adam Douiehi starting at centre and Mark Nicholls joining the bench. Robert Jennings has been named in the reserves.

Injury Watch: Alex Johnston should only miss a week with a minor hamstring strain.

Prediction: This should be a cracker! New Zealand were impressive without RTS and Shaun Johnson in their win over Parramatta, while South Sydney beat the Cowboys after the final buzzer. New Zealand got the points over the Bunnies in Perth back in Round 1, but South Sydney are a much stronger opposition now. Greg Inglis will don the number one jersey for the first time in 15 months, and the battle between Damien Cook and Isaac Luke will be a belter. Souths should sneak past the Warriors in this one on the back of their stronger defence. South Sydney by 7.

Penrith Panthers vs. St George Illawarra Dragons

Panthers Stadium, 7:35pm, Saturday May 26

Team News: Both sides are unchanged.

Injury Watch: No immediate concerns.

Prediction: Match of the round - first versus second. Penrith were boosted by the return of Nathan Cleary last week, while a trip to Mudgee saw the Dragons bounce back against Canberra. This could potentially be the two Origin halfbacks facing off in Cleary and Ben Hunt, but there's a stack of thrilling match ups all over the park. Reagan Campbell-Gillard are both favourites to crack the New South Wales side as well, and will provide a heavy-hitting contest in the middle third. It's a flip of a coin, but the Dragons spine is running too hot at the moment. Dragons by 1.

Newcastle Knights vs. Cronulla Sharks

Beanie For Brain Cancer Stadium (McDonald Jones), 2pm, Sunday May 27

Team News: Jack Cogger replaces the injured Brock Lamb at halfback, while Jamie Buhrer replaces Jacob Saifiti on the bench. Luke Lewis and Wade Graham return, pushing Joseph Paulo to the bench and Kurt Capewell and Jack Williams dropping to the reserves.

Injury Watch: Brock Lamb will miss four weeks with a cheekbone injury, while Jacob Saifiti will spend 12 weeks out with a shoulder injury.

Prediction: Cronulla are riding a five-game winning streak into this match up, while Newcastle have fallen away since Mitchell Pearce's pectoral tear. But something about a Sunday afternoon in Newcastle, in Beanie For Brain Cancer Round, that gives Novocastrian fans hope. While Cronulla are virtually full strength, there's just something about the Knights this week. Upset of the week. Knights by 4.

Wests Tigers vs. Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs

ANZ Stadium, 4:10pm, Sunday May 27

Team News: Tui Lolohea and Mahe Fonua return, moving Corey Thompson to the wing, Michael Chee-Kam to the back-row and Malakai Watene-Zelezniak out of the team. Robbie Rochow has been dropped. Josh Reynolds replaces Chris McQueen on the bench. Josh Morri's knee injury sees John Olive take his place in the centres. Raymond Faitala-Mariner returns, pushing Adam Elliot to the bench.

Injury Watch: Josh Morris will spend eight weeks on the sideline with a knee injury.

Prediction: Aaron Woods vs. Wests Tigers, Josh Reynolds vs. Canterbury, one of these high profile recruits will be grinning come Sunday night. The Bulldogs have been patchy recently, but their attack has been all over the place. The wheels on Ivan Cleary's bus is starting to shake, which could see this become anyone's game. Moving Corey Thompson away from fullback will prove to be a massive mistake for Cleary, with Moses Mbye to shine. Bulldogs by 12.

Point To Prove

Josh Reynolds. The former Bulldog returns from injury to face his former club. Playing only his second match for the Wests Tigers, Reynolds will be keen to cement his place in the side, albeit on the interchange bench. If the man they call 'grub' can provide some spark from the bench for the Tigers this weekend, it'll go a long way to winning the match.

Struggle Street

Justin O'Neill.  He was playing Origin only 12 months ago, but the Cowboys centre has struggled in recent weeks, making five handling errors against the Wests Tigers a fortnight ago. Marking up against incumbent Maroon centre Will Chambers, O'Neill will have his work cut out for him if his side is to claim victory.

Rookie Watch

Enari Tuala. The 19-year old centre played only the second game of his career last weekend, but is already threatening to bust into the Cowboy's star backline. Tuala spent some time marking Greg Inglis in the Cowboy's loss to South Sydney, and did an admirable job. Don't be surprised to see the Cairns product snare a starting spot in the coming weeks.

Photo of the Week

Quote of the Week

"I don't think the Storm is going to sign me up for one year. If I do move on it will be at the end of this year" - Craig Bellamy, revealing he may take 2019 off before coaching Brisbane in 2020.

Best Bet

Sydney Roosters 13+. The Gold Coast Titans were good last week, but not good enough to beat the tricolours, who are starting to hit their straps. They were unlucky to lose in Brisbane last weekend and will be eager to get the job done this week on the sunny Central Coast

Rumour of the Week

Ben Barba could be back in the NRL as soon as Round 14, with the Wests Tigers extremely keen to snare the premiership and Dally M winning fullback. Tigers centre Kevin Naiqama has announced he'll be joining Barba's Super League side St Helens in 2019, but don't be shocked if the Fijian centre makes a mid-year exit in a swap deal for Barba.

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