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How your NRL team's finals hopes shape up

Ten teams retain a faint hope of playing finals football in 2018, but inside the NRL's top eight there are far tighter battles going on.

How your NRL team's finals hopes shape up

Ten teams retain a faint hope of playing finals football in 2018, but inside the NRL's top eight there are far tighter battles going on.

THE RUN HOME FOR THE NRL'S FINALS CONTENDERS

* SOUTH SYDNEY (1st, 26pts, +122)


To play: Canterbury (a), Wests Tigers (a), Parramatta (h), Melbourne (h), Sydney Roosters (h), Brisbane (a), Canberra (a), Wests Tigers (h).

Outlook: Look a chance of their first minor premiership since 1989 with five games against teams outside of the eight. A crucial three-week period against Melbourne, the Sydney Roosters and Brisbane will determine their fate but top two should be the expectation.

* ST GEORGE ILLAWARRA (2nd, 26pts, +115)

To play: Wests Tigers (h), North Queensland (a), Sydney Roosters (a), Warriors (h), Parramatta (a), Wests Tigers (a), Canterbury (h), Newcastle (a).

Outlook: Will hold hopes of finishing the regular season first with a soft draw that includes the Wests Tigers twice and a clash with the Sydney Roosters the most challenging. Will want to finish top two as a minimum.

* MELBOURNE (3rd, 24pts, +133)

To play: Manly (a), Warriors (a), Canberra (h), South Sydney (a), Cronulla (h), Parramatta (h), Gold Coast (a), Penrith (h)

Outlook: Have a run home that can steel them for their premiership assault. The clashes with South Sydney and Cronulla will ultimately determine if they can secure a top-two finish and the chance to not leave Melbourne until grand final day.

* PENRITH (4th, 24pts, +108)

To play: Cronulla (h), Brisbane (h), Manly (a), Canberra (h), Gold Coast (a), Newcastle (h), Warriors (a), Melbourne (a).

Outlook: Games against Cronulla and Brisbane in the post-Origin lull over the next fortnight will go a long way towards deciding if they can finish in the top four. The last-round trip to Melbourne - where they haven't won for 13 years - could also decide that.

* SYDNEY ROOSTERS (5th, 22pts, +95)

To play: Gold Coast (a), Manly (a), St George Illawarra (h), North Queensland (h), South Sydney (a), Canberra (a), Brisbane (h), Parramatta (a).

Outlook: Need to beat each of their five opponents from teams outside the finals and snag at least two wins out of games against South Sydney, St George Illawarra and Brisbane to make the top four. Could very well come down to a tight for-and-against battle.

* CRONULLA (6th, 22pts, +30)

To play: Penrith (a), Canberra (h), Brisbane (a), Manly (h), Melbourne (a), North Queensland (h), Newcastle (h), Canterbury (a).

Outlook: Remain the premiership dark horse and can do their top-four hopes a lot of good with a win over Penrith on Friday night. Their lowly for-and-against could hurt them.

* BRISBANE (7th, 22pts -6)

To play: Warriors (h), Penrith (h), Cronulla (h), Canterbury (a), North Queensland (a), South Sydney (h), Sydney Roosters (a), Manly (h).

Outlook: Have a tough run home and poor for-and-against which could hamper their top-four hopes. Could be struggling to finish fifth or sixth and claim an all-important home final in the first week.

* WARRIORS (8th, 22pts, -10)

To play: Brisbane (a), Melbourne (h), Gold Coast (a), St George Illawarra (a), Newcastle (h), Canterbury (a), Penrith (h), Canberra (h).

Outlook: Can go one of two ways. Upset some of their higher-ranked opponents and they can earn a home final, otherwise a few losses will make the games against lowly Gold Coast, Newcastle and Canterbury must-wins for the top eight. If all else fails, their last-round clash with Canberra could be crucial.

* CANBERRA (9th, 16pts, +36)

To play: North Queensland (h), Cronulla (a), Melbourne (a), Penrith (a), Wests Tigers (h), Sydney Roosters (h), South Sydney (h), Warriors (a).

Outlook: Desperately need to pull off at least two major upsets to have any chances of playing finals, as well as beating North Queensland and the Tigers. If they do so, and the Warriors falter, the last-round clash between the two could decide the last finals spot.

* WESTS TIGERS (10th, 16pts, -53)

To play: St George Illawarra (a), South Sydney (h), Canterbury (a), Newcastle (a), Canberra (a), St George Illawarra (h), Manly (h), South Sydney (a).

Outlook: Need an absolute miracle given they likely require a minimum six wins from their last eight games and face the teams placed first and second twice. Even if they do pull it off, for-and-against could be an issue.

AAP


AAP




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