Jason Abraham takes a look how the top four will shape with six rounds remaining in this year’s National Rugby League premiership
This year’s NRL Season is set to be the closest battle for the top four since 1999 when the Melbourne Storm won their inaugural premiership. That season Cronulla finished Minor Premiers on 40 points, with the Roosters in fourth place on 36 points, and Brisbane rounded off the top 8 on 32 points.
With six rounds remaining before the finals only two points separates first from fourth, with Storm, Dragons, and Rabbitohs on 28 points and the Roosters on 26 points. Points differential is all that separates the top 3. Lets take a look at the current top 8 and the run home over the remaining rounds and see who will finish top four.
28 Points – Points For: 412 – Points Against: 272 – Diff. +140
The run home: Canberra Raiders (H), South Sydney (A), Cronulla Sharks (H), Parramatta Eels (H), Gold Coast Titans (A), Penrith Panthers (H)
The reigning premiers are cruising at the top of the table an all to familiar position for one of the most successful clubs over the past decade. With four home games over the remaining six rounds, their toughest game’s will be facing fellow top 4 aspirants the Sharks and Rabbitohs in rounds 21 and 22 respectively. Coach Bellamy and skipper Smith have the experience to guide the Storm to a certain top 4 finish, and potentially top 2.
Predicted Finish: 1st.
St George Illawarra Dragons
28 Points – Points For: 441 – Points Against: 316 – Diff. +125
The run home: Sydney Roosters (A), New Zealand Warriors (H), Parramatta Eels (A), Wests Tigers (A), Canterbury Bulldogs (H), Newcastle Knights (A)
The Dragons form has been questionable lately, with the Storm running up 50 against them, and then a loss against the Tigers, followed by a win against the lowly Cowboys last round. They only face two top 8 teams, with the Warriors at home, they should sneak into the top 4.
Predicted Finish: 4th