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It's that time of the year when fans of teams just inside the top eight pray they'll stay there while those outside weigh up whether to hold off booking that overseas holiday for September.
To try and make life easier for supporters waking up in a cold sweat thinking of their team's run home, we're going to try and predict the likely outcome a month ahead of time.
Assuming 28 points is the top eight cut off, Canterbury, Souths, Melbourne and Manly should start planning for finals football.
And Parramatta, Penrith, the Roosters and Warriors can start hiring their sumo suits and cocktail dresses for Mad Monday.
That leaves eight teams vying for four spots.
After feeding all the relevant information into Sportal's sophisticated sports analysis computer program - an old beer coaster - we reckon the Sharks and Cowboys are safe and Brisbane will just hang on.
Newcastle and Gold Coast will fall by the wayside.
That would then leave the Tigers, Raiders and Dragons to fight it out for the last spot, with for and against likely to decide the outcome.
Back the Tigers and Dragons to get there.
'''Cronulla (5th on 27pts):''' One more win will secure the Sharks' first finals appearance in four years. They will make it but it's hard to see them finishing any higher than sixth.
'''Run Home:''' Newcastle (Away), Souths (Home), Melbourne (A), North Queensland (H).
'''North Qld (6th on 26pts):''' The Cowboys enjoy a favourable draw over the next month, with just one match against a top eight opponent. They look safe and could even push for a top four berth if they stay undefeated from here. A strong for and against (+80) doesn't hurt their cause.
'''Run Home:''' Warriors (H), Dragons (A), Knights (H), Sharks (A).
'''Brisbane (7th on 26pts):''' With matches against three of the top four sides, the Broncos look extremely vulnerable. You'd back them to beat Penrith but 28 points with a potentially negative differential could see them drop out. They must find form, quickly.
'''Run Home:''' Bulldogs (A), Storm (H), Sea Eagles (A), Panthers (H).
'''Wests Tigers (8th on 24pts):''' Not the easiest month in front of them. It's a fair bet we'll have to wait until the final round to see whether the Tigers get there. Inconsistency is their biggest hurdle but a win over Saints this weekend will ease the pressure considerably.
'''Run Home:''' Dragons (H), Bulldogs (A), Roosters (A), Storm (H).
'''Titans (9th on 22pts):''' Were in the top eight until controversially beaten by Souths last start. The first and last of their four remaining games are likely to have a huge bearing. Must win three and that looks beyond them.
'''Run Home:''' Storm (A), Eels (H), Panthers (A), Sea Eagles (H)
'''Knights (10th on 22pts):''' It's hard to see Wayne Bennett's men making it considering they play four teams currently inside the top six. They could win two of those but that won't be enough. Bring on 2013.
Run Home: Sharks (H), Sea Eagles (A), Cowboys (A), Rabbitohs (H).
'''Raiders (11th on 22pts):''' The Green Machine can't complain about its draw over the next few weeks, with only the Bulldogs left with anything to play for. If they are serious, three wins is not asking too much. But we are talking about the most erratic team in the NRL.
'''Run Home:''' Panthers (A), Roosters (H), Bulldogs (H), Warriors (A)
'''Dragons (12th on 22 pts)''' We're going to take a deep, deep breath and suggest the Red V are just going to nudge the eight with wins in at least three of their last four matches. It would then come down to for and against which, as it stands, is pretty ordinary (-66)'''Run Home:''' Tigers (A), Cowboys (H), Warriors (H), Eels (A).
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