It is the most wonderful time of the year - the business end of the NRL season.

This weekend we will witness two mouth-watering preliminary finals.

On Friday night you have arguably the best team of the modern era in the Panthers. Standing in their way are the Storm, who have three of the biggest "big game" players in the comp.

Then on Saturday night you have the red-hot Broncos hosting the super popular Warriors.

We have two huge occasions awaiting us this weekend, however history has shown that perhaps we may not have two close games.

At this end of the season, the truly elite sides are hitting peak form and sometimes brush aside their competition at the final hurdle.

Sometimes though, we are treated to magnificent games of footy despite the nerves that come along with such a huge stage.

Below are the top four, plus one honourable mention, of those very best games from the past decade:

Honourable Mention: Sharks 30 defeat Cowboys 20 - 2016
I simply could not produce a best Prelims list without including my favourite preliminary final of all time. My favourite game of all time.

This is absolutely personal, as in terms of a contest, this wasn't much of one. A late Cowboys flurry padded a very lopsided score-line.

On the night, 35,500 Sharks fans, and around 800 Cowboys fans, packed the old Allianz Stadium to send the Sharks through to a grand final.

James Maloney played as close to a perfect game as you'll ever see. The Sharks played as close to a perfect game as you'll ever see.

I challenge anyone to find party scenes in the stands like those seen when James Maloney took that late intercept and ran away to book the grand final spot for his side!

2. 2. Eels 24 defeat Cowboys 20 - 2022

This was such a good game! Two monster forward packs bashing each other, superstar outside backs flying high, and two in form halves partnerships battling it out.

For a Prelim this felt like a more attacking game than most. 44 points isn't massive but certainly the most for games on this 'official' list.

The Eels burst out of the blocks here, somewhat stunning a massive and vocal home crowd. I remember thinking that perhaps the lack of experience up north would be telling.

Reuben Cotter's 11th minute try would silence those doubts though as the game really settled into an end to end battle.

The teams would go try for try all night, with the Eels simply scoring last through Maika Sivo with 15 minutes to go.

A frantic finish would follow. The Cowboys would surely score and allow Val Holmes to kick to send them through to the Grand Final, right?

Unfortunately for the home side it was not meant to be, but honestly this entire game felt like an 80 minute coin flip.

The Eels were ever so slightly better across 80 minutes and set up a Western Sydney derby Grand Final a week later.

The Cowboys massively outperformed all expectations in being just one big play away from a decider.


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