The NRL have confirmed the preliminary finals fixtures, with two blockbuster games set to confirm the teams who will go through to the grand final.
After winning their Week 1 qualifying finals last weekend, the North Queensland Cowboys and Penrith Panthers have gone directly into the third week of the finals and will play the preliminary stage on the back of a week off.
The two winners from the Week 2 semi-finals, the Parramatta Eels (who beat the Canberra Raiders 40 points to 4) and the South Sydney Rabbitohs (who beat the Cronulla Sharks 36 points to 12), will switch sides of the draw for the grand final qualifiers.
It means the Eels will travel to Townsville for a clash with the Cowboys on Friday evening in the first preliminary final, before the Penrith Panthers play the South Sydney Rabbitohs in a clash between last year's two grand final teams on Saturday evening at Homebush's Accor Stadium - the location for the grand final the following week, something which was only confirmed by the NRL in the final weeks of the regular season.
Both games are set to kick-off at 7:50pm (AEST).
The winners of next week's preliminary finals will go through to the grand final, to be played on Sunday October 1 at Homebush, with kick-off in that game likely to be at 7:15pm (AEST).
NRL preliminary finals schedule
Friday, September 23, 7:50pm: North Queensland Cowboys vs Parramatta Eels at Queensland Country Bank Stadium, Townsville
Saturday, September 24, 7:50pm: Penrith Panthers vs South Sydney Rabbitohs at Accor Stadium, Homebush