The finals are just around the corner. But forget the top eight – this is the true rankings of where each side is placed.
1. Melbourne Storm
The top-of-the-ladder Melbourne Storm recorded a fairly comfortable ten-point win over the Canberra Raiders on Thursday night. Melbourne was once again on top for most of the game as they were leading Canberra 22 points to six at halftime.
Melbourne looked likely to run away with the match in the second half, however a great fight back from the green machine had Craig Bellamy worrying in the coach’s box, although Melbourne was able to come away with the win. In my opinion they remain the premiership favourites.
2. South Sydney Rabbitohs
The South Sydney Rabbitohs continued their hot winning streak on Saturday through a clinical first half against the Titans. Despite only scoring only the one try in the second period they were still able to blow the Gold Coast out, defeating them by 30 points.
Souths have been playing outstanding footy all season, especially these past weeks as their four and against record being 146 in their last four match ups. This proves how deadly this team is and shows that they can contend for a title.
3. Penrith Panthers
Penrith have looked slightly worse than their rivals, South Sydney, as the Panthers have not proved much recently.
They have defeated two injury depleted teams, the Sydney Roosters and the Dragons, as well as a loss coming to Melbourne, however this loss came without Nathan Cleary.
Despite Penrith’s slightly underwhelming performances lately, I expect that with Cleary back in the side they will go back to their spectacular football that we were accustomed to earlier in the season.
4. Manly Sea Eagles
The Manly Sea Eagles are flying high once again after absolutely crushing the Parramatta Eels by a cricket score on Super Saturday.
Tom Trbojevic was once again the standout man for Manly as this time out he recorded an outstanding two-line breaks, four try assists and five line break assists. The superstar fullback was once again not just improving himself every week but is making the players around him better as well.
Tommy Turbo will likely miss the next 1-2 weeks due to injury, however one of those games is up against the Bulldogs which they are certainly expected to win even without him.
The other match will be a tussle with the Raiders which will be tough for Manly to win without Tom, plus this match up will be key to their chances of making the top four.
The red, blue and white stripes pulled off a win in an absolute thriller of a game against the second-last-placed Brisbane Broncos on Friday night.
The game came down to the last minutes as the two competition points were received by the Roosters off the back of a criticised bunker call.
Despite the Roosters being absolutely depleted with injury, the side now incredibly finds themselves in the top four and have the capability of staying in that position. They have given us everything that has almost seemed impossible with this team on paper.
6. Newcastle Knights
The Newcastle Knights have certainly improved their chances of making the eight in the past weeks as they are currently on a three-game winning streak, placing them in seventh position.
The win against the Sharks on Sunday was the exact type of wins they need to scrape into the eight as it was a gritty, fight to the end type of performance. Their final three matches of the season will come up against the Bulldogs, Titans and Brisbane.
These three games are all certainly winnable and Newcastle are likely to be favourites for all remaining match-ups. A win against the Bulldogs this week may well secure their finals spot, however they may need to pull off another victory after that to be safe.
7. Parramatta Eels
The Parramatta Eels are in familiar territory as they have once again hit struggle street when coming towards finals time.
Parramatta were absolutely torn apart by Tommy Turbo and Manly on the weekend as they had 58 points put on them.
That score line has now added to the 112 points scored against them in that last three weeks. For a team that some have described as contenders for the premiership throughout the year, that is just atrocious.
It’s time for Mitchell Moses to step up, I know he hasn’t had a bad year but he can’t let this Eels team fall again in the finals.
Parra will be once again first or second-round exits.
8. Gold Coast Titans
Despite being put away in the first half against South Sydney, Gold Coast have shown promising signs lately, with great wins coming against the Dragons, Cowboys and Bulldogs.
However, their chances of making the eight are slim in my opinion as they have nearly an impossible task against the Storm this week and Knowing the Titans they may well finish their season off with losses in their final two games which are against Newcastle and the Warriors.
On the other hand because of the Titans inconsistency all season, they could win those last two games, although I still think we have to rule out any chance against the ladder-leading Storm.
Gold Coast will just miss out on the eight but anything can happen with this team