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NRL Round 25: Every team’s best and worst possible finishing position

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4th September, 2019
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After 24 rounds of footy, the final round of the season has arrived. The final jockeying for finals positions still has nine teams in the mix, and the make-up of first-week finals matches is anything but settled.

With eight games of the regular season to go, there are some huge clashes still to come in the final week.

In this article, every team’s best and worst possible finishing position is established based on their results this weekend, as well as a breakdown of the possible finals scenarios for the opening week.

First up, here are the fixtures for the final week of action:

Thursday, 7:50pm: South Sydney Rabbitohs vs Sydney Roosters at ANZ Stadium
Friday, 6pm: Parramatta Eels vs Manly Sea Eagles at Bankwest Stadium
Friday, 7:55pm: Melbourne Storm vs North Queensland Cowboys at AAMI Park
Saturday, 3pm: Canberra Raiders vs New Zealand Warriors at GIO Stadium
Saturday, 5:30pm: Canterbury Bulldogs vs Brisbane Broncos at ANZ Stadium
Saturday, 7:35pm: Gold Coast Titans vs St George Illawarra Dragons at CBus Super Stadium
Sunday, 2pm: Wests Tigers vs Cronulla Sharks at Leichhardt Oval
Sunday, 4:05pm: Penrith Panthers vs Newcastle at Panthers Stadium

The team-by-team breakdown

1. Melbourne Storm

Current position: 1st (40 points, +323)
Fixture: Home vs North Queensland Cowboys
Best possible finish: 1st
Worst possible finish: 1st

This won’t come as a surprise to anyone, but the Storm are winning the minor premiership, win, lose or draw. They have had it realistically locked up fo the best part of six weeks.

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Not too much intrigue around their game with the Cowboys, although it is another chance for their new-look spine to keep building for a premiership push following the axing of Jahrome Hughes and promotion of Ryan Papenhuyzen.

2. Sydney Roosters

Current position: 2nd (36 points, + 270)
Fixture: Away, vs South Sydney Rabbitohs
Best possible finish: 2nd
Worst possible finish: 2nd

Like the Storm, the Roosters aren’t going anywhere. They are four points clear of the Raiders and have locked up second place on the table.

Sam Verrills celebrates a try

(Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

3. Canberra Raiders

Current position: 3rd (32 points, + 154)
Fixture: Home, vs New Zealand Warriors
Best possible finish: 3rd
Worst possible finish: 5th

Chances are, the Raiders will roll straight past the Warriors like they aren’t even there and cling onto third spot.

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Should they lose however, they can still lose third spot if the Rabbitohs win, or the Sea Eagles win by many, many points. Should both of those events occur, the Raiders can finish as low as fifth.

4. South Sydney Rabbitohs

Current position: 4th (32 points, + 98)
Fixture: Home, vs Sydney Roosters
Best possible finish: 3rd
Worst possible finish: 5th

The Rabbitohs can get up to third if they win and the Raiders lose, avoiding a trip to Melbourrne. If both sides win, then the Rabbitohs would need to win by 56 points more than the Raiders beat the Warriors by.

On the other hand, the Rabbitohs can still collapse to fifth with a loss.

5. Manly Sea Eagles

Current position: 5th (30 points, + 66)
Fixture: Away, vs Manly Sea Eagles
Best possible finish: 3rd
Worst possible finish: 6th

The Sea Eagles realistically aren’t going to finish third, but could if they have a huge win, and the Raiders a huge loss. Fourth is a more likely target, but even that requires a substantial turnaround in for and against.

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The problem is that a loss is likely to leave them in sixth, although the Sea Eagles, without Tom Trbojevic will at worst have a home elimination final in the first week of finals.

6. Parramatta Eels

Current position: 6th (28 points, + 44)
Fixture: Home, vs Manly Sea Eagles
Best possible finish: 5th
Worst possible finish: 6th

Like the Sea Eagles, the Eels can do no worse than a home elimination final in the first week of the finals, and can not go any higher with a top four finish out of the equation after some sloppy recent performances.

Put simply, if they beat Manly by more than 11 points, they take fifth spot. Any other result leaves Brad Arthur’s men in sixth.

7. Brisbane Broncos

Current position: 7th (25 points – 41)
Fixture: Away, vs Canterbury Bulldogs
Best possible finish: 7th
Worst possible finish: 9th

The Broncos are all but assured of a finals position, however, they will finish either seventh or ninth.

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A win locks them into the finals and a road trip in an elimination final to either Parramatta or Manly.

A loss though, and other results (an unlikely draw) could leave them without a knockout footy experience in 2019.

Alex Glenn

(Photo by Jono Searle/Getty Images)

8. Cronulla Sharks

Current position: 8th (24 points, + 33)
Fixture: Away, vs Wests Tigers
Best possible finish: 7th
Worst possible finish: 10th

Put simply, it’s do-or-die for the Sharks. Win, and they play finals. Lose, and they go home empty-handed.

Draw at Leichhardt against the Tigers, and they could make it in if the Broncos lose to the Bulldogs.

9. Wests Tigers

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Current position: 9th (24 points, + 6)
Fixture: Home, vs Cronulla Sharks
Best possible finish: 7th
Worst possible finish: 10th

Copy and paste from Cronulla’s description. Win and they play finals. Lose and they do not. Draw, and they just might.

Cronulla and the Tigers could both fall to tenth with a loss, should the Knights beat the Panthers… Unless the Panthers win by about a century, in which case they could fall to tenth either way.

10. Newcastle Knights

Current position: 10th (22 points, + 7)
Fixture: Away, vs Penrith Panthers
Best possible finish: 9th
Worst possible finish: 11th

The Knights can’t make the finals anymore, because the Tigers or Sharks (or maybe both) will get competition points one way or another.

They can, however, overtake the loser of that game, quite easily if it’s the Tigers, and with a substantial win if it happens to be the Sharks who lose.

If Penrith win, they could fall to 11th, while the Cowboys and Bulldogs are over 100 points back on for and against.

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11. Penrith Panthers

Current position: 11th (22 points, – 105)
Fixture: Home, vs Newcastle Knights
Best possible finish: 10th
Worst possible finish: 13th

The Panthers could jump up to ninth if they win by 50 points and the Tigers lose by 50, but let’s take it that won’t happen.

Tenth will happen if they beat the Knights though, while a heavy loss could see them mowed down by the Cowboys and Bulldogs.

12. North Queensland Cowboys

Current position: 12th (20 points, – 114)
Fixture: Away, vs Melbourne Storm
Best possible finish: 11th
Worst possible finish: 14th

The Cowboys could still fall into the bottom four, and have one of the toughest road trips in the competition to do it.

While a win against the Storm in Melbourne could land them in 11th place, a loss could see the Bulldogs and Warriors overtake them.

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13. Canterbury Bulldogs

Current position: 13th (20 points, – 167)
Fixture: Home, vs Brisbane Broncos
Best possible finish: 11th
Worst possible finish: 14th

Like the Cowboys, the Bulldogs can get up to 11th with a win and other results, while they could be overtaken by the Warriors if they lose to Brisbane.

However, a chance to send the Broncos into the finals on a loss should have Dean Pay’s side up to finish the season on a high note.

14. New Zealand Warriors

Current position: 14th (19 points, – 145)
Fixture: Away, vs Canberra Raiders
Best possible finish: 12th
Worst possible finish: 14th

The good news is that the Warriors aren’t going any lower than 14th. The bad news is that unless they can beat a red-hot Canberra Raiders in Canberra and have the Bulldogs and Cowboys lose ahead of them, they will finish in the bottom four.

15. St George Illawarra Dragons

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Current position: 15th (16 points, – 156)
Fixture: Away, vs Gold Coast Titans
Best possible finish: 15th
Worst possible finish: 15th

The Dragons aren’t going anywhere, win, lose or draw. At least they don’t get the wooden spoon.

The Dragons looking dejected.

(Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

16. Gold Coast Titans

Current position: 16th (10 points, – 273)
Fixture: Home, vs St George Illawarra Dragons
Best possible finish: 16th
Worst possible finish: 16th

What a riveting Saturday night Fixture it’s going to be. Excuse me while I go and find an excuse not to watch it.

Week 1 finals

What we do know is that the Storm and Roosters are locked in to host the qualifying finals.

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The rest of the top eight can still change, but taking it that the Roosters do beat South Sydney and the Raiders beat the Warriors, the top four would be locked in.

The chance of Manly beating Parramatta by enough to overtake Souths without Tom Trbojevic seems slim, unless the Rabbitohs get blown off the park, while Parramatta catching Manly also seems a tough ask in a game which could be low-scoring.

You would think Brisbane surely won’t miss out on the finals, although stranger things have happened, with the Tigers and Sharks to battle it out for eighth.

Here is what the finals are tentatively looking like for Week 1.

QF 1: Melbourne Storm (1st) vs South Sydney Rabbitohs (4th) at AAMI Park
QF 2: Sydney Roosters (2nd) vs Canberra Raiders (3rd) at Sydney Cricket Ground
EF 1: Manly Sea Eagles (5th) vs Cronulla Sharks/Wests Tigers (8th) at Lottoland
EF 2: Parramatta Eels (6th) vs Brisbane Broncos (7th) at Bankwest Stadium

Bold text indicates team locked in to position.

Don’t forget to tune into The Roar for each and every game this weekend as we discover the final make-up of the top eight.