The evolving world of sport means a new decade is likely to see widespread change.

With superstars like Lionel Messi, LeBron James, Roger Federer and Lewis Hamilton unlikely to be plying their trades in 2030, the stage is set for new names to come to the fore.

Omnisport's team of writers have tipped 20 20-year-olds to do just that over the next 10 years.

 

Men's football: Joao Felix

A €126m move from Benfica to Atletico Madrid made Joao Felix the second most expensive teenager in football history. His career in LaLiga is yet to truly ignite but the forward's lavish gifts are beyond doubt as he faces up to the decade when Cristiano Ronaldo will leave the stage for their native Portugal. Joao Felix is the anointed heir.

Basketball: Luka Doncic

The 2018 EuroLeague MVP and 2019 NBA Rookie of the Year, Doncic's incredible rise has continued unchecked this season – he is averaging 28.8 points, 9.5 rebounds and 9.0 assists for the Dallas Mavericks. He should earn a first All-Star appearance this season and make his bow in the playoffs, where you would expect to see him featuring regularly in the coming years.

Cricket: Prithvi Shaw

Opening batsman Shaw became the youngest Indian to score a Test hundred on debut in 2018 and followed that up with a half-century in his second appearance. However, last year was one to forget for Shaw, who had injury problems before serving a six-month doping ban having taken a substance typically found in cough syrups. A first-class double hundred last month suggests he is ready to make up for lost time.

Tennis: Marketa Vondrousova

Although she was unable to win a title on the WTA Tour in 2019, Vondrousova was the runner-up at the French Open – one of three final appearances last year – and having risen to 16th in the world rankings she looks set to break the top 10 soon. The Czech's unorthodox playing style and penchant for drop shots makes her a particularly entertaining watch.

Formula One: Lando Norris

Norris enjoyed an excellent debut season in Formula One, helping McLaren to an impressive fourth place in the constructors' championship. After landing three straight points finishes to end the year, he carries momentum into 2020 and looks capable of challenging Charles Leclerc and Max Verstappen over the next 10 years.

UFC: Chase Hooper

Featherweight Hooper was awarded a development deal after winning the second season of Dana White's Tuesday Night Contender Series in 2018 and is the youngest fighter on the UFC roster. He improved his unbeaten mixed martial arts record to 8-0-1 by stopping David Teymur in the first round of a thoroughly impressive UFC debut in December.

American football: Trevor Lawrence

The NFL is blessed with talented young quarterbacks like Patrick Mahomes, Lamar Jackson and Deshaun Watson, but the potential star of the 2020s will not enter the league until 2021 at the earliest. Clemson's Lawrence possess the size, skill and nerve to succeed at the next level. He is still yet to lose a game in college and is one win away from back-to-back National Championships.

Sport climbing: Janja Garnbret

Sport climbing will make its Olympic debut at Tokyo 2020 and Garnbret is a favourite for success. She successfully defended her bouldering and combined titles at last year's world championships and added gold in the lead discipline. The Slovenian's tally of 14 International Federation of Sport Climbing titles is unprecedented.

Rugby league: Tom Flegler

Front-rower Flegler enjoyed a hugely promising breakthrough year with Brisbane Broncos in 2019, featuring 23 times in his maiden campaign. He has reportedly knocked back a host of lucrative offers to remain with Brisbane in 2020 and will now aim to make an even bigger impact.

Women's football: Georgia Stanway

Vastly experienced for her age, Stanway joined Manchester City from Blackburn Rovers and made her Women's Super League debut at 16 in 2015. She won her second FA Cup with a goalscoring player-of-the-match display as City beat West Ham 3-0 in 2019's Wembley final and was the youngest member of an England squad Phil Neville led to the World Cup semi-finals. If the Lionesses are to take the next step over the coming decade, expect Stanway to play a vital role.

Rugby union: Marcus Smith

Harlequins fly-half Smith is knocking on the door for full England selection after an impressive first two years of his club career. He was man of the match in last July's win over Barbarians, which fans of Eddie Jones' side will hope is a sign of things to come over the next decade.

Golf: Matthew Wolff

The PGA Tour welcomed a host of talented rookies in 2019, but Wolff may just be the best of the bunch. A standout college player with an unorthodox swing that generates enormous power, he won last July's 3M Open in only his third professional start.

MotoGP: Fabio Quartararo

After Jorge Lorenzo, the only man to defeat Marc Marquez in a MotoGP world championship, retired, and with Valentino Rossi nearing the end of his career, fans are looking to the next generation. That group looks set to be led by Quartararo, who will ride a factory-spec Yamaha for 2020 after claiming six pole positions and seven podiums in a magnificent rookie season.

Golf: Nasa Hataoka

Already fifth in the women's world rankings, Hataoka has claimed three LPGA Tour titles in the past 18 months, after becoming the first amateur to win a major on the Japan LPGA Tour back in 2016.

Baseball: Vladimir Guerrero Jnr

Guerrero has a lot to live up to but has already shown enough to suggest he may follow his father into baseball's Hall of Fame. Having signed for the Toronto Blue Jays as a free agent in 2015, Guerrero served his time in the minors before making his debut in the Major Leagues last April. He spent the rest of his maiden season displaying the kind of power that has marked him out as a star of the future, hitting .272, mashing 15 home runs and knocking in 69 RBI. By the end of the next decade, his may well be the face of baseball.

Ice Hockey: Quinn Hughes

Hughes, who could not even debut for the Vancouver Canucks until he recovered from an ankle injury in March, is an elite defenseman who also sat top of the rookie assist chart in late December.

Swimming: Michael Andrew

This year is an Olympic one and for the first time since the 1996 Games, Michael Phelps will not be in the pool. The United States needs a new swimming hero, and the hope is that Phelps' namesake can be the next star. Andrew was the youngest US swimmer to ever turn professional when he did so at 14 and, having finished fourth in the 50 metres butterfly at the 2019 World Aquatics Championships, he appears primed to be a breakout star in Tokyo.

Tennis: Denis Shapovalov

Shapovalov finished 2019 at a career-high ATP ranking of 15th, having won his first title in Stockholm. Expect his threat at the 2020 majors to be very real.

Athletics: Sydney McLaughlin

At the 2019 World Athletics Championships in Doha, gold in the 4x400 metres relay followed silver in the 400m hurdles for McLaughlin. Only a Dalilah Muhammad world record was enough to deny her the victory.

Boxing: Joseph Adorno

Currently plying his trade in the lightweight division, Adorno was brought up in Puerto Rico and his thunderous left hook has drawn comparisons to Miguel Cotto – the great four-weight world champion hailing from that boxing-mad island. Promoters Top Rank will look to step up Adorno's level of opposition in 2020, although anyone climbing into the corner opposite a young man boasting a 14-0 record with 12 knockouts should make sure they get well paid.

Brisbane Broncos forward David Fifita will face no disciplinary action from the NRL after his recent arrest in Bali.

The 19-year-old was alleged to have been involved in a nightclub altercation with a security guard and spent two days in custody last month before being released without charge.

However, NRL integrity chiefs said evidence available to them was "inconclusive", leading the league to decide against sanctioning the player.

The Queensland Maroons back-rower said in the wake of the incident he had "learnt a big lesson", with the circumstances examined in an internal review of the circumstances commissioned by the Broncos.

On Thursday, the NRL announced: "The National Rugby League [NRL] will not initiate any disciplinary action against Broncos player David Fifita in relation to the incident in Bali last month.

"The NRL's integrity unit says evidence relating to the incident outside a Bali nightclub was inconclusive. The NRL said it was satisfied that the actions of the Broncos club were appropriate in the circumstances."

NRL chief executive Todd Greenberg added: "It is important that our determinations are based on the evidence before us. In this case, after analysing a multitude of evidence we cannot say with certainty that a breach has occurred."

The Broncos have no plans to penalise Fifita, either.

Club chief executive Paul White said: "We are satisfied with the NRL's decision on this matter – David will pull on a Broncos jersey to play round one and we feel that is a fair result for him and for the club.

"We trust David’s version of events in that he did not commit an assault, but we understand that the integrity unit had a job to do."

Brisbane Broncos forward David Fifita said he has learned a "big lesson" after spending time in a Bali jail following an alleged nightclub altercation.

The teenager was arrested after a reported incident with a security guard last week.

Queensland Maroons back-rower Fifita was released and has now returned to Australia, speaking to the media after touching down on Tuesday.

Fifita will explain his version of events to an NRL Integrity Unit and the 19-year-old expressed his gratitude to those who played a part in getting him back home.

"There has been a lot going on behind the scenes and I am really grateful for that," said Fifita.

"I have learnt a big lesson from what I’ve been through over the past few days."

NRL chief executive Todd Greenberg warned players to be more responsible off the field, or else risk putting their careers in danger.

"It's a timely reminder that players need to be acutely aware of the position they put themselves in," Greenberg said on Tuesday.

"I don't want to see players miss games but if they continue to make poor decisions then they'll suffer the consequences. Players know the decisions they make are important.”

"In relation to David Fifita I am pleased he is home because it would've been a harrowing experience. I'll wait for the report from the Integrity Unit [before deciding if any action is necessary].

"I don't want to have another off-season of players doing the wrong thing. I get frustrated because there are so many good stories to be told. I want to talk about the great things our players do off the field."

David Fifita has been released from a Bali jail just over two days after the Brisbane Broncos forward was allegedly involved in a nightclub brawl.

The 19-year-old second-rower was arrested after a reported altercation with a security guard on Friday.

The Queensland Maroons State of Origin prodigy is no longer in custody and will return to Australia on Tuesday.

A Broncos statement released on Monday said: "The Broncos and local legal representatives have worked with Indonesian authorities to ensure David's release.

"David was respectful of Indonesian law and cooperated fully with local law enforcement throughout his incarceration.

"The Broncos have been working closely with the NRL Integrity Unit, and David will outline his version of events to the Unit in coming days.

"He will arrive home in Brisbane tomorrow, accompanied by a Broncos official who travelled to Bali to provide support after David was taken into custody."

Brisbane Broncos star Matt Gillett has confirmed he will retire from rugby league with immediate effect after failing to recover from a shoulder injury.

Australia international Gillett suffered a severe injury late in the 2019 campaign, with medical experts informing the second-rower that surgery is not yet an option.

Gillett has accepted the advice and announced his retirement on Thursday - a decision which comes the day after South Sydney Rabbitohs' Sam Burgess was similarly forced to quit due to a shoulder problem.

The 31-year-old's retirement brings to an end a career that included 200 NRL matches for the Broncos.

Gillett also made 20 State of Origin appearances for Queensland Maroons, as well as earning 12 Kangaroos Test caps.

"This has been a huge shock to me and my family, and we have taken time over recent weeks to consider what we should do," Gillett said. "I have decided to take the medical advice from the experts and call time on my career.

"I have plenty to be thankful for – I have been part of a great club here at the Broncos for my whole career. I've played for my state and for my country with some legends of the game."

The Broncos announced Gillett would be staying with the club "in an off-field capacity".

Brisbane Broncos hooker James Segeyaro has failed a drugs test, the NRL announced on Thursday.

The league said 28-year-old Segeyaro has been served with a provisional suspension following the 'A' sample result, and can ask for a 'B' sample to be analysed.

In a statement, the NRL said: "The National Rugby League (NRL) has tonight provisionally suspended Brisbane Broncos player James Segeyaro under the NRL’s anti-doping policy.

"The provisional suspension notice asserts that Mr Segeyaro returned a positive A-sample for di-hydroxy LGD-4033 which is prohibited by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and the NRL’s anti-doping policy.

"He was tested by the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA) on 3 September, 2019.

"Mr Segeyaro is prohibited from participating in any WADA compliant sport, including rugby league, while the provisional suspension is in place."

The date of the test fell in the midweek between NRL matches against Parramatta Eels and Canterbury Bulldogs.

The NRL said it had notified Segeyaro and "advised him of support services".

The Broncos said Segeyaro, who joined the club from Cronulla Sharks in May 2019, was overseas on holiday.

He has previously played for North Queensland Cowboys, Penrith Panthers and Leeds Rhinos, and has been capped by Papua New Guinea.

Mitch Moses sparkled as Parramatta Eels pummelled sorry Brisbane Broncos in a record-breaking 58-0 thrashing to set up an NRL finals showdown with Melbourne Storm.

The Broncos were humiliated at a raucous Bankwest Stadium on Sunday, keeping their season alive with an 11-try thumping.

Parramatta's huge margin of victory was the biggest in finals history and their most emphatic over Brisbane, sending a warning to minor premiers the Storm - their opponents in the second week of the finals at AAMI Park next Sunday.

The magnificent Moses claimed a 20-point haul - including a try in each half - as the free-flowing Eels ran riot, with Brisbane having no answer to their expansive brand of rugby.

Anthony Seibold's side were blown away, with Michael Jennings, Moses and Blake Ferguson touching down in the opening 19 minutes.

Maika Sivo claimed a double either side of half-time after a Shaun Lane four-pointer and the Eels showed no mercy, Dylan Brown also scoring twice and Tepai Moeroa claiming his first of the season.

Moses - on target with six conversions - had his brace eight minutes from time and Daniel Alvaro finished in the last minute, with Manu Ma'u adding the extras as the Eels made a big statement.

Brett Morris is set to make a landmark appearance as the NRL Finals kick-off with a heavyweight clash between Sydney Roosters and South Sydney Rabbitohs.

Friday's match between the sides, who finished second and third respectively in the regular season, will be the first Finals game to be played at the Sydney Cricket Ground since the 1983 Grand Final.

Parramatta Eels won on that occasion and they round off the first round of Finals fixtures against the Brisbane Broncos on Sunday.

Minor premiers Melbourne Storm are in action on Saturday, taking on Canberra Raiders, before Manly Sea Eagles host Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks.

Here, we take a look at the best Opta facts for the first round of Finals matches.

Friday

Sydney Roosters (17-7) v South Sydney Rabbitohs (16-8)

- Defending premiers Roosters - who beat the Storm in last season's grand final - have won their past two games against the Rabbitohs, though they have not won three or more in succession against their city rivals since 1988.

- Roosters' Morris is set to play in his 250th NRL fixture. The 33-year-old has not scored a try against the Rabbitohs since 2015.

Saturday 

Melbourne Storm (20-4) v Canberra Raiders (15-9)

- After cruising to the minor premiers title, Melbourne host the Raiders, who have won four of their past eight away matches against the Storm, including a 22-18 victory in their last meeting.

- Suliasi Vunivalu could be the Storm's biggest weapon, with the winger having scored six tries in his last four NRL appearances against the Raiders.

Manly Sea Eagles (14-10) v Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks (12-12)

- The Sea Eagles have won 16 of their past 18 games against the Sharks, including the three most recent fixtures.

- Dylan Walker will be relishing this match, having crossed for a try in each of his previous three NRL meetings with Cronulla.

Sunday

Parramatta Eels (14-10) v Brisbane Broncos (11-12)

- Each of the past four NRL Finals matches played between the Eels and the Broncos have been won by the home side on the day.

- Matt Gillett of the Broncos is set to play his 200th NRL match, while the Eels' Reed Mahoney has made 1,150 tackles in 2019 - more than any other player.

Canberra Raiders will face minor premiers Melbourne Storm in the NRL finals after a shock loss to New Zealand Warriors, while Gareth Widdop and Jeremy Latimore bid a triumphant farewell to St George Illawarra Dragons.

The Raiders were unable to regain third position from South Sydney Rabbitohs – who will face rivals Sydney Roosters in the qualifying finals – as they went down 24-20 at GIO Stadium on Saturday.

Ahead of their meeting with the Storm, Canberra will have concerns over Michael Oldfield after the wing went off with a shoulder injury sustained while touching down in the corner and making it 20-12 in the 53rd minute.

There could also be trouble for Hudson Young, who appeared to make contact with Adam Pompey's eye while attempting to stop him score a try in the 30th minute. Young served a five-match suspension for a similar offence against Canterbury Bulldogs in June. Addressing the latest incident, Raiders coach Ricky Stuart said: "I know he didn't gouge the kid."

The Warriors rallied late on to secure a win, as Roger Tuivasa-Sheck polished off an incredible move after the visitors did superbly to keep the ball alive on the last tackle in the 69th minute and Blake Green ran in to complete a surprise turnaround.

Widdop converted four tries and assisted one in his final match before departing for Super League side Warrington Wolves as the Dragons defeated the Titans 24-16.

Half-back Widdop - who became the first Englishman to score 1,000 NRL points - released Ben Hunt for his second try in the space of six minutes, with Latimore coming on for the final two minutes to help Paul McGregor's side close their season with victory in his final match before retirement.

Brisbane Broncos were unable to guarantee their place in the finals as they fell to a humbling 30-14 loss at the Bulldogs.

Nick Meaney scored a hat-trick and had 22 points as the Bulldogs ended the season with another upset that means the Broncos must hope Wests Tigers and Cronulla Sharks do not draw on Sunday – an unlikely result that would send both teams through at Brisbane's expense.

The last spot in the NRL finals will be determined on Sunday when Cronulla Sharks visit Wests Tigers hoping to hang on to a top-eight berth.

Both the Tigers and the Sharks have 24 points each after 23 rounds, but the latter's greater points differential means they are in pole position to reach the finals.

The sixth-placed Parramatta Eels will look to leapfrog Manly Sea Eagles into fifth while Melbourne Storm, already confirmed as the minor premiership champions, will hope to round off the regular season in style when they host the North Queensland Cowboys.

We take a look at the Opta facts for the last round of NRL fixtures.

 

Thursday

South Sydney Rabbitohs (15-8) v Sydney Roosters (17-6)

- Souths are bidding to beat Sydney twice in the regular season for the first time in a decade following their triumph earlier in the campaign.

- Cody Walker (14 tries, 16 try assists) leads the way with the most try involvements in the NRL and Roosters team-mate Latrell Mitchell will also hope to reach the 30 mark, having crossed 18 times and provided 11 assists so far.

Friday

Parramatta Eels (13-10) v Manly Sea Eagles (14-9)

- This fixture has been a one-sided affair in recent years, with the Eels winning their past four home games in a row against the Eagles by an average margin of 19 points per contest.

- Kane Evans will bring up a landmark 100th appearance for Parramatta.

 

Melbourne Storm (19-4) v North Queensland Cowboys (9-14)

- Though Melbourne have won their past nine successive games against the Cowboys, six of those wins have come by a margin of eight points or fewer.

- The Storm have missed just 27 tackles per game in this year's NRL, fewer than any other team in the competition.

Saturday

Canberra Raiders (15-8) v New Zealand Warriors (8-1-14)

- Canberra beat the Warriors 46-12 earlier in the season and have been victorious in five of their previous seven meetings.

- The Warriors have conceded 40-plus points in three of their past five NRL games having done so only once in their previous 35 games. 

 

Canterbury Bulldogs (9-14) v Brisbane Broncos (11-1-11)

- The home team has won the past seven times the Bulldogs have met the Broncos.

- Brisbane players have made 901 tackle breaks this season, 83 more than any other team and 287 more than the Bulldogs.

Gold Coast Titans (4-19) v St George-Illawarra Dragons (7-16)

- Dragons star Gareth Widdop needs just five more points to reach 1,000 in the NRL.

- Each of the past three meetings between these two have been won by the Dragons, who have outscored the Titans 136-52 in that time.

 

Sunday

Wests Tigers (11-12) v Cronulla Sharks (11-12)

- The Sharks are on a five-match winning streak against the Tigers, their longest run of victories against them.

- Benji Marshall is one of just three players to average more than one assist per game having set up 19 tries in 18 appearances.

 

Penrith Panthers (10-13) v Newcastle Knights (10-13)

- Though they have only led in four of their past 10 NRL games against the Knights, the Panthers have won on eight occasions.

- However, Newcastle have scored 12 tries in the opening 10 minutes of NRL games this season, the second-most of any team in the competition (behind the Sydney Roosters).

South Sydney Rabbitohs remain well-placed for a top-four finish in the NRL after easing past the New Zealand Warriors 31-10 in Auckland, while Brisbane Broncos edged Parramatta Eels 17-16 in golden point to boost their finals chances.

Rabbitohs moved up to third from fifth thanks to the victory, in which Cameron Murray and Adam Reynolds played starring roles.

The hosts lost centre Patrick Herbert to injury in the warm-up and Chanel Harris-Tavita early in the second half, doing little to help their cause.

Herbert's replacement Adam Pompey went over for his first NRL try in the 34th minute, and that was followed soon after by Ken Maumalo touching down, leaving Rabbitohs with a slender 14-10 lead at the interval.

But Warriors failed to register a single point in the second period, with Reynolds taking his points total to 15, made up of four conversions, three penalty goals and a field goal in the last minute.

Murray's brace of tries came either side of Alex Johnston's solitary effort, with Dane Gagai getting in on the act 10 minutes from time.

Jamayne Isaako got the decisive score for Broncos in Brisbane, despite visitors Eels outscoring them 3-2 in the try stakes.

However, Eels were unable to count on the reliable kicking of Isaako, who converted both his attempts for Broncos, added two penalty goals and sealed victory late on.

David Fifita's powerful run opened up the play to Isaako, who, a minute after seeing a field goal effort come back off the post, made no mistake second time around.

They go seventh thanks to the victory, with one match left of the regular season.

High-flying Melbourne Storm look set for a test as they travel to Manly Sea Eagles in the latest round of NRL fixtures.

The Storm sit at the top of the ladder and have a good record at Manly, but the Sea Eagles are fourth themselves and have pushed Melbourne close in previous meetings.

We take a look at that match and more – including a Sydney Cricket Ground double-header – with these Opta facts.

 

Thursday

North Queensland Cowboys (8-14) v Canterbury Bulldogs (9-13)

- The Bulldogs have won four of their past six NRL games against the Cowboys at 1300SMILES Stadium, including a 27-10 victory in their most recent game there.

- Canterbury have conceded 19 penalties for stealing the ball in NRL 2019, more than any other team in the competition.

Friday

New Zealand Warriors (8-1-13) v South Sydney Rabbitohs (14-8)

- The Rabbitohs have won eight of their past nine NRL games against the Warriors, including their last two on the bounce.

- The New Zealand outfit have conceded 40 or more points in a game on four occasions in NRL 2019 – including three times in their past four games – while the last time they did so more in a single season was 2004 (seven times).

Brisbane Broncos (10-1-11) v Parramatta Eels (13-9)

- Each of the past eight NRL games between the Broncos and the Eels at Suncorp Stadium has been won by the team holding the half-time lead on the day, with each side winning four times in that span.

- Mitchell Moses has made 82 kicks in play that have been retained by a team-mate in this NRL campaign, more than any other player in the competition.

Saturday

Newcastle Knights (9-13) v Gold Coast Titans (4-18)

- The Titans have won five of their last seven NRL games against the Newcastle Knights; however, their two defeats in that span have come in their most recent two clashes at McDonald Jones Stadium.

- Gold Coast have been awarded 168 penalties in NRL 2019, more than any other team in the competition and 16 more than the Newcastle Knights.

Manly Sea Eagles (14-8) v Melbourne Storm (18-4)

- The Storm have won four of their past five NRL games against the Sea Eagles at Lottoland; two of those wins coming by a margin of just one point on the day.

- Martin Taupau (350 carries, 620 tackles) is the only player thus far in NRL 2019 to have made 350 carries and 350 tackles.

Sydney Roosters (16-6) v Penrith Panthers (10-12)

- This will be the Panthers' first NRL game at the Sydney Cricket Ground since a 2010 loss to the Wests Tigers; it is a venue where the Roosters have won their past seven NRL games in a row by an average margin of 32 points.

- The Panthers are one of only three teams (also Sea Eagles, Storm) to have had more than one forward start in every one of their 22 games so far this season (James Fisher-Harris, James Tamou).

Sunday

Cronulla Sharks (11-11) v Canberra Raiders (14-8)

- Ten of the past 12 NRL games between the Sharks and the Raiders have been won by the away team on the day.

- Josh Morris has scored seven tries in his past seven NRL games and has a season tally of 13 – his most in a season since 2012 (17).

St George Illawarra Dragons (7-15) v Wests Tigers (10-12)

- The Dragons have won three of their past four NRL games against Wests, as well as having won the only previous meeting between the two teams at the Sydney Cricket Ground (13-12 in 2013).

- St George have made 40 or more tackle breaks in each of their past two NRL games against the Tigers, a mark they have managed to hit just three times so far in NRL 2019.

Damien Cook made a superb last-ditch tackle as South Sydney Rabbitohs edged out Brisbane Broncos 22-20 in the NRL.

The Broncos looked set to grab a late winner when Corey Oates burst through the Rabbitohs line, but Cook came to the visitors' rescue at Suncorp Stadium, cutting the winger down mere centimetres from the line.

Cook's tackle capped a fine individual display from the Australia international, who set up two tries and scored what proved to be the winner on Friday.

Adam Reynolds' penalty had got Souths started, with Dane Gagai helping himself to the game's first try in the 23rd minute.

David Fifita pulled the Broncos to within touching distance, though, and after successfully adding the extras, Jamayne Isaako converted a penalty to level proceedings after the interval.

Another Reynolds penalty and a try from Cody Walker restored the Rabbitohs' lead, though, with Cook going over moments later.

Fifita doubled his tally before Kotoni Staggs' try set up a grandstand finish, but the Broncos could not find a winner.

While the Broncos remain in the top eight, Penrith Panthers missed out on the chance to overtake one of their rivals for a finals spot as they went down 24-10 to the North Queensland Cowboys in Townsville.

The Cowboys took an early lead through Kyle Feldt, and though Brian To'o hauled the Panthers level, Murray Taulagi's try saw the hosts pull clear at half-time.

Feldt helped himself to a second after the interval, with Jason Taumalolo on hand to wrap up a comfortable victory late on, ending a five-game winless streak for the Cowboys.

elbourne Storm can seal the minor premiership this week as the NRL season heads towards its conclusion.

The Storm are four points clear with three games to play and face bottom side Gold Coast Titans on Sunday.

A win in that game and defeat for Sydney Roosters at St George Illawarra Dragons will see Melbourne clinch top spot, while third-placed Canberra Raiders take on fourth-placed Manly Sea Eagles in a crucial clash between two teams out to ensure they cannot be eliminated in the first round of the Finals.

Here we look at the best Opta facts for this round of fixtures.

Thursday

Parramatta Eels (13-8) v Canterbury Bulldogs (8-13)

- The Bulldogs have made the most offloads (287) of any NRL team this year, 21 more than the Eels (266).

- Mitchell Moses (Parramatta Eels) has made the most try assists (20) of any half-back this season.

Friday

North Queensland Cowboys (7-14) v Penrith Panthers (10-11)

- The Panthers have retained the most kicks (145) of any team, 29 more than the Cowboys (116).

- Michael Morgan has had six try involvements (two tries, four assists) from his last four NRL matches against the Panthers.

Brisbane Broncos (10-1-10) v South Sydney Rabbitohs (13-8)   

- The Broncos have made the most tackle breaks (822) of any team this season, 146 more than the Rabbitohs (676).

- South Sydney are one of two teams – along with the Storm – to have more than one player inside the top 13 for try assists this season (Damien Cook on 22 and Cody Walker on 14).

Saturday

Cronulla Sharks (10-11) v New Zealand Warriors (8-1-12)   

- Six of the last seven NRL games between Cronulla and the Warriors have been decided by a margin of four points or fewer, including a 19-18 win for the New Zealanders in their last meeting.

- The Sharks have won six of their last eight NRL matches on home soil (L2), despite leading at half time only three times in that span.

Wests Tigers (9-12) v Newcastle Knights (9-12)  

- The Knights have scored 37 tries through the middle-third of the field, only the Storm (45) have got more through that corridor this term. 

- Luke Brooks (Tigers) has had eight try involvements (three tries, five try assists) from his last six NRL matches against the Knights. 

St George Illawarra Dragons (7-14) v Sydney Roosters (15-6)   

- The Dragons have made the most tackles per game (369) of any team in NRL this year, 30 more than the Roosters (339).

- The Roosters' trio of James Tedesco (11), Latrell Mitchell (8) and Victor Radley (7) have made the most supported breaks of all players this season.

Sunday

Melbourne Storm (17-4) v Gold Coast Titans (4-17)  

- The Titans have scored the joint-most tries (five, also Manly Sea Eagles) on the zero tackle in a set of any NRL team in 2019.

- Cameron Munster (Storm) has had 10 try involvements (six tries, four assists) from his six NRL matches against the Titans.


Canberra Raiders (14-7) v Manly Sea Eagles (13-8)   

- The Raiders have scored the joint-most tries (21, also the Roosters) in the first 20 minutes of matches of any team this season.

- Daly Cherry-Evans (Manly) has had 12 try involvements (five tries, seven assists) from his last eight NRL matches against Canberra.

Brisbane Broncos secured a vital win over Penrith Panthers in the battle for an NRL finals berth, while Parramatta Eels remained in the mix for the top four.

The Broncos and the Panthers lie seventh and eighth in the ladder having traded places on Friday with Brisbane's 24-12 win moving them three points clear of the ninth-placed Cronulla Sharks, who have a game in hand.

The hosts had to recover from a dismal start at Suncorp Stadium as Jake Turpin was sent to the sin bin just seven minutes in for swinging an arm at Dylan Edwards.

But Kotoni Staggs crossed on the quarter-hour mark and the Broncos remained in front at the break despite Nathan Cleary's response, with Jamayne Isaako's penalty goal the difference between the sides.

Isaako would prove the key man for Brisbane following the restart, quickly grabbing a try and then scoring again 10 minutes later before Brian To'o hit back.

An extended scoreless stretch played into the Broncos' hands and Payne Haas went over in stunning fashion to stretch the advantage and set up a comfortable finale, even with Tevita Pangai binned for a high challenge on James Maloney.

Ahead of Brisbane, the Eels are still sixth but now level on points with the teams third, fourth and fifth after hammering strugglers Gold Coast Titans.

Waqa Blake got his first tries for the club as they eased to a 36-12 win, dealing the Titans an eighth straight defeat.

Daniel Alvaro and Manu Ma'u had Parramatta in the clear, although the lead was cut to six points at the interval as Brian Kelly crossed.

However, in a ruthless spell, Shaun Lane went through and Blake followed twice in succession. Marata Niukore scored with 10 minutes remaining meaning Jesse Arthars' consolation counted for little.

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