Hostplus Match Preview: Round 26
It will take every one of the 26 rounds in the NRL season for both the Panthers and Manly Sea Eagles to clinch their spot in the finals when they meet on Saturday afternoon at Lottoland.
Sitting on 30 competition points apiece, with the Cowboys sandwiched in between, victory will guarantee the winner progression in to September, while a draw will see both sides advance.
After the Cowboys' loss to Brisbane on Thursday night, Manly must avoid defeat or rely on the Bulldogs to beat the Dragons on Sunday to qualify for the top eight. Meanwhile, the Panthers can afford a loss by no more than 37 points.
A win last week for the Panthers against the Dragons would've sealed their passage through however the Red V walked away with a narrow two-point victory to keep their season alive.
The Panthers will be without Dylan Edwards after the fullback suffered a medial ligament tear during the loss to add insult to injury, with Dean Whare named as his direct replacement.
The Kiwi international makes his return to the side after suffering a broken jaw in Round 17 and playing a key role in the Intrust Super Premiership side's charge to the finals as he regained fitness.
Captain Matt Moylan is listed in the reserves and is being given every chance to prove his fitness as he fights to shrug off a hamstring injury for the must-win clash.
A climactic final round was amplified further after the Sea Eagles miraculously overturned a seven point deficit to keep their season alive when they downed the Warriors 22-21 in New Zealand.