St George Illawarra Dragons
Current ladder position:10th
Run Home: Roosters(A), Panthers (H), Raiders (A), Titans (H), Broncos (A), Knights (A)
Mid-way through 2014, the Dragons were struggling to avoid the wooden spoon, and this cost Steve Price his job. Enter Paul McGregor and a return to finals contention, following 4 wins from their last 5 matches.
Despite their good form, they are still outside the top 8 and need to win most of their remaining matches to qualify. They should account for the lowly Titans and Knights, while the dreaded road trip to Canberra awaits them in round 23 and they have tough matches to come against the Roosters in round 21 and Broncos in round 25.
What is hurting them at the moment is a points differential of -47, and if it came to points differential, the Dragons would likely miss out, with the Warriors (9th, +54), Broncos (8th +60) and Cowboys (7th, +86) in far better shape in that department, despite being on the same number of points as the Dragons.
For that reason, the Dragons need to win 4 games out of 6 to have a chance of playing in the finals. That would put them on 30 points and, you would assume, a vastly improved for and against. They are in great form, but can’t afford any slip-ups between now and the end of the season, especially against lower-ranked teams. Their round 24 clash against the Broncos at Suncorp Stadium could well decide the fate of both clubs.