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The day of reckoning: NRL Final 8 to be decided Sunday. Roosters confirmed premiers

North Queensland have given the Sydney Roosters back-to-back minor premierships for the first time since 1980-1981 after they were too good for Manly in Townsville tonight.

Ironically the Roosters and Cowboys could face off in the first week of the finals if Penrith Panthers lose to New Zealand Warriors on Sunday night.

It’s sure to be a Super Sunday with two big games to determine where teams finish in the top eight.

On Thursday night we saw the Roosters win and secure at least a top two finish with South Sydney finishing third.  Melbourne Storm’s Friday night win over Brisbane triggered their move into the top four pending the results of North Queensland’s match against Manly Sea Eagles and Penrith’s game against New Zealand Warriors.  Brisbane moved to ninth in defeat.

Tonight Parramatta’s season was on the line as they traveled to Canberra having only won four games on the road this season.  The Raiders led 20-6 at the break and held on against a fast finishing Eels 33-20.  Sean Hayes report here.

In Townsville North Queensland faced Manly with the Cowboys looking for a top four finish, Manly to win the minor premiership.  North Queensland led 18-4 at half time and went on to complete a 30-16 victory in front of over twenty thousand Townsville locals.

TOP EIGHT AS OF SATURDAY NIGHT

[table]Position,Team,Points,Differential
1,Roosters,36,+230
2,Eagles,36,+101
3,Rabbitohs,34,+224
4,Cowboys,32,+192
5,Storm,32,+76
6,Panthers*,32,+64
7,Bulldogs*,30,+8
8,Warriors*,28,+96
9,Broncos,28,+93
10,Eels,28,-103[/table]

It now comes down to the results of two Super Sunday matches to decide the final make-up of the eight.

At 3pm local time the Gold Coast will farewell Luke Bailey, Mark Minichiello and Ashley Harrison as they take on the Canterbury Bulldogs.  Adam Bagnall’s match preview is here.

The final game of the preliminary rounds takes place at 6:30pm when Penrith will be fighting to make the top four against a Warriors side who will make the final series if they win.  Matt Pritchard’s match preview is here.

Here’s what could happen to Penrith, Canterbury, New Zealand Warriors and Brisbane:

Penrith Panthers

A win will confirm a top four finish ahead of North Queensland and Melbourne.  North Queensland would finish fifth and Melbourne sixth.  A loss could see Penrith fall as low as seventh, but they would need to lose heavily and the Bulldogs to win by a good margin.  Potentially worse case scenario is sixth spot.

Canterbury

A win could see them get as high as sixth place.  A loss could see them finish seventh or eighth,  depending whether the New Zealand Warriors win.  They are most likely to finish seventh.

New Zealand Warriors

A win will see the Warriors make the finals and finish as high as seventh if Canterbury lose to the Gold Coast.  A loss by two points will see the Warriors also qualify for the finals ahead of Brisbane on points difference.  A loss by three or more and it’s curtains.

Brisbane

Had to rely on the Eels losing in Canberra.  One down and one to go!  Now they’ll be cheering Penrith on to beat New Zealand Warriors so they sneak into the eight.

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