Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles
Current ladder position: 1st
Run Home: Rabbitohs (A), Titans (A), Eels (A), Panthers (H), Cowboys (A)
Life is pretty peachy across the Harbour Bridge, on the field that is. Off the field there are a number of issues that would normally derail any other team, just 5 weeks out from the end of the regular season. But the Sea Eagles have been the most dominant team for the last decade and just get on with the job of playing a great brand of rugby league.
They have one hand on their first minor premiership in a unified competition since 1996, and could potentially wrap it up with victory over the second-placed South Sydney Rabbitohs on Friday night. In a season that has yielded 14 wins and just 5 losses in 19 games thus far, it is hard to see anyone beating the Sea Eagles to the JJ Giltinan shield.
Their run home is a little tricky with 4 road trips in 5 weeks. Games against the Rabbitohs in round 22 and a match up in Townsville to face the Cowboys who are finally finding some form will test their resolve while the Eels in round 24 and Panthers in round 25 will be hard-fought affairs.
With the minor premiership all but wrapped up, the Sea Eagles’ biggest challenge will be to maintain the rage for another 5 weeks, then into the finals, a tough ask in the modern game. They will finish in the top 4, and probably finish 1st. I see them winning at least three of their remaining games, and wouldn’t be surprised if they won all 5.