Part 1 of this series looked at the unique way each of the top four sides were constructed. Below is a closer examination of how the bottom half of the top eight found their way into finals football in 2020.
The Sharks have put on a clinic after a 40-22 win over a Manly side that had no Dylan Walker and no Tom Trbojevic.
The halves Shaun Johnson and Chad Townsend tallied five try assists with two for Johnson and three for Townsend.
Once again Sione Katoa was at his try-scoring best with two, which took his total to eight tries for the season.
Katoa is currently second on the try-scoring list for 2020 with Cowboys winger Kyle Feldt leading by one try.
And Johnson is now top of the try-assist list with ten and the next best being Roosters five-eighth Luke Keary with eight.
Matt Moylan was also very good with two try assists. Andrew Fifita once again started on the bench and ran for 129 metres. Siosifa Talakai had 127 running metres.
Manly prop Addin Fonua-Blake, as always, managed 207 running metres and scored two tries. Daly Cherry-Evans was involved in one try assist along with lock forward Jake Trbojevic, who also had one try assist, as well as 141 running metres and 39 tackles for only four misses.
Cherry-Evans looked very lost without Tom Trbojevic and Dylan Walker and having 51 per cent of possession and having a better completion rate than the Sharks with 80 per cent. They also had two more total sets of six than the Sharks.
Manly missed 40 tackles compared to the Sharks’ 38, while the Sharks made 11 errors compared to Manly’s ten. Blayke Brailey made the most tackles in the game with 44.
Next week the Sharks take on the 13th-placed team in the Gold Coast Titans, which will show Sharks fans if they can be consistent even if it’s against the bottom sides.
Meanwhile, the Manly Sea Eagles take on Kalyn Ponga’s Knights, who are coming off a loss against the Cowboys.