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NRL: Finals Picture - How things look after Week 18

3 minute read

Week 18 in the NRL is done and dusted and with the end of the regular season fast approaching, the race to make the top eight is tighter than ever.

Picture: bet365

Melbourne Storm continue to fly high at the top of the ladder and sit four points ahead of Penrith Panthers in second spot.

Storm are priced at 2.10 to be regular season winner, with the Panthers available at 2.20.

However, below them the battle to make the top eight and play finals is just as exciting.

Just four points separate Sydney Roosters in 3rd place and St George/Illawarra Dragons, who are down in 10th spot, while even the Rabbitohs in 13th are still in the mix to squeeze into the top eight.

 Roosters and Sharks target top four 

Sydney Roosters and Cronulla Sharks have done enough already to book their place in the top eight.

Indeed, they should be looking up at the second-placed Panthers who are just two points ahead of them on the ladder.

But cementing a place in the top four, which will in turn boost their chances of winning the grand final, will be the aim.

Cronulla are priced at 1.60 to finish in the top four, while the Roosters are looking nailed on at 1.062.

 Bulldogs and Dolphins looking strong 

Canterbury Bulldogs and the Dolphins are impressing this season and as long as the wheels do not come off, both will play finals.

The Bulldogs are priced at 1.40 to make the top eight, while the Dolphins are available at 2.00.

The Dolphins have lost the last two games, so will need to stop the rot when they play South Sydney Rabbitohs in a massive game on Thursday.

Wayne Bennett's side are 1.78 to take the victory, while the Bunnies are priced at 2.05.

 Broncos in danger of missing out 

Brisbane Broncos find themselves in a tricky position and have work to do if they are to make the top eight.

Last season's grand finalists are 11th on the ladder, two points outside the eight, but with so many sides in the hunt to play finals they have to get their act together quickly.

Kevin Walters side have now lost the last five games on the spin and are priced at 1.70 to turn things around and make the top eight.

 Souths are on a roll 

South Sydney Rabbitohs continue to come with a late charge for the top eight and can be backed at 4.50 to make it.

They have won their last five games on the bounce and need to keep them coming if they are to play finals.

Thursday night's clash against the Dolphins is huge and they have suffered a big setback with the news that star fullback Latrell Mitchell is facing a spell on the sidelines.

 Quartet right in the mix 

Just one point separates Manly Sea Eagles in seventh place and the Dragons, who sit in 10th.

The race to play finals is going to be tight, and it goes without saying, there is no room for errors.

The Sea Eagles can be backed at 1.45 to make the top eight, while North Queensland Cowboys, who currently sit eighth, are 1.61.

Newcastle Knights can be backed at 3.50 to make the top eight, while the Dragons are viewed as the big outsiders at 6.00.

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