Road to the Finals
The Road to the finals has begun. Essentially 6 teams are still battling for four spots in the top eight to join the Broncos, Cowboys, Roosters and Rabbitohs in September. The Knights, Titans and Tigers are the only teams you could guarantee out of the race while the Eels, Panthers and Sea Eagles still have a slim chance. In a season that has had plenty of twists anything could happen but this is how each remaining team’s remaining season looks.
Current Position: 5th place, 24 points
They had a very rough patch throughout origin as you would expect. The biggest issue for the Storm right now is the constant reshuffling of the backline. Cameron Munster has proven himself in Slater’s jersey, Koroibete has solidified his spot in the team since returning from injury and Will Chambers is a no brainer but Craig Bellamy needs to conclusively decide who will fill the other two spots going into the finals or the team my struggle against tougher teams. I predict they will win at least four of their final six games and hold on to 5th place.
Current Position: 6th place, 24 points
The Sharks have been on a bit of a roll and I would expect them to win most of their upcoming games due to easy match ups. Despite winning games I wouldn’t place them as contenders for the premiership at this stage as their performances have been less than convincing.
Current Position: 7th place, 22 points
The Bulldogs have been tipped as strong opposition the entire year however we have only seen snippets of a team that has the potential to win the premiership. They have to play the Roosters, Broncos and Rabbitohs over the coming weeks and I wouldn’t expect them to win any of those games. I would also tip them to struggle against the other match ups. The dogs might only just make it into the eight.
Current Position: 8th place, 22 points
Warriors may have looked very dangerous a couple of weeks ago but that was mostly off the back of Shaun Johnson. Now he is gone and the Warriors will most likely need to win three of their last six. It is possible considering they don’t have the toughest run ahead but I would tip them to miss out without their playmaker.
Current Position: 9th place, 20 points
If any team from outside the current eight will have a chance it is the Raiders. They have looked dangerous all year and proved last week that they can still win without Williams. Apart from the Cowboys this week they have a smooth run into the finals and that will be boosted by the return of game manager Sam Williams in either week 23 or 24.
Current Position: 10th place, 20 points
Despite sitting pretty early in the year they are now on the outside looking in. Luckily for the Dragons they have one of the easiest runs home. They may have lost 8 in a row but in their defence they were damaged by Origin, injury and a tough schedule. Look for the Dragons to breath some fire in the next few weeks with an almost full strength team back.
While the remaining teams, except the Tigers, still have a chance they will struggle too much to find their way in the eight. Manly have been looking competitive however they will need to win four games at the very least to make the finals but I would consider their match ups too tough. The Titans should win a couple more games now that they have Aidan Sezer, Greg Bird and Beau Falloon back but are too far out. The Mullen-less Knights and Sandow-less Eels may as well follow their playmakers to the hospital and England respectively because they won’t be playing finals. The Panthers by all means should have been premiership contenders but their season has just been hit too hard by injury in all the wrong places.
Prediction for the top 8
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