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NRL: Who will make the finals?

There's only two rounds of the regular season to go but where will everyone finish in the ladder ahead of the finals?

The most exciting time of the NRL year is nearly upon us with the finals just around the corner. 10 teams are still in mathematical contention for the top eight spots. RealSport takes a look at those clubs’ respective run-ins and how the table may look at the end of the regular season.

  1. 1 Melbourne Storm

    Why not start with an easy one?

    The Storm have set the benchmark all season and have already sealed the Minor Premiership, having beaten nearest rivals Sydney Roosters a fortnight ago.

    Melbourne finish the regular season with home games against the Bunnies and the Raiders.

    Craig Bellamy may well rest key players from his side but it's hard to see them losing either of their remaining fixtures.

    Can Finish: 1st

    Will Finish: 1st

  2. 2 Brisbane Broncos

    The Broncos are firm favourites for a top four finish as it would require some freakish results for them to drop to fifth.

    A round 25 clash against the Eels will hold huge significance for both sides. If the Broncos can get through it and bank another two competition points, they should wrap up a top four spot.

    An enormous Queensland derby against the injury-hit Cowboys sets up a big finish for the Broncos.

    Can Finish: 2nd-5th

    Will Finish: 2nd

  3. 3 Sydney Roosters

    The Roosters effectively sealed a top four spot with an unconvincing victory over the Wests Tigers.

    They could mathematically confirm a double chance in the finals should they beat Cronulla this weekend while it would also keep the pressure up on second-placed Brisbane.

    If it does go down to the final round then they should keep control of their own fate when they face the struggling Gold Coast Titans.

    Can Finish: 2nd-6th

    Will Finish: 3rd

  4. 4 Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks

    The defending Premiers look nothing like the side that stormed to their maiden trophy last season. They could, however, still claim second spot in the next two weeks while they remain in control of their own top four destiny. 

    Cronulla will finish in the top eight, regardless of how they perform against the Roosters this week and a resurgent Newcastle in the regular season finale.

    If they were to lose both games however, the Sharks could find themselves in the nether reaches of the top eight.

    Can Finish: 2nd-8th

    Will Finish: 5th

  5. 5 Parramatta Eels

    The Eels are set for their first foray into finals footy since 2009 but they don't look as fluid as they did just a few weeks ago.

    Parramatta got back to winning ways against the Titans but a 29-10 loss to the Knights in the previous week may have exposed some underlying issues for Brad Arthur's men.

    They travel to Brisbane tonight to take on the Broncos before hosting the South Sydney Rabbitohs in their final regular season outing.

    A top four spot is within reach should they win their remaining fixtures however they could drop further down the top eight should results go against them.

    Can Finish: 2nd-8th

    Will Finish: 6th

  6. 6 Penrith Panthers

    Penrith are on a seven-game winning streak and could claim fourth spot if they continue their fine form.

    The return of Matt Moylan alongside the reliable Nathan Cleary in the halves has seen the Panthers play some fantastic footy.

    Penrith could finish as high as third and while that may be a push, wins over the Dragons and Sea Eagles should earn them a double chance in the finals.

    A gutsy victory against a tough Raiders outfit has the Panthers looking the real deal.

    Can Finish: 3rd-9th

    Will Finish: 4th

  7. 7 North Queensland Cowboys

    How can you not feel bad for the northernmost club in the competition?

    The North Queensland Cowboys have had a plethora of injuries, from star Johnathan Thurston to just about every key player in a playmaking position. Michael Morgan went off for his second straight HIA against the Sharks, coming back on as his side were soundly beaten. They're running out of players and it could be a tough end to the season.

    They face the Tigers before heading into a Queensland derby with the Broncos, a game which could have huge ramifications for both sides.

    Can Finish: 4th-10th

    Will Finish: 7th

  8. 8 Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles

    It wasn't long ago that the Sea Eagles looked set for a top four finish. Now, they look unlikely to make a real impact on the finals, should they retain the final qualifying place.

    A loss to the Bulldogs, a side who had appeared to have completely given up for the season, has seen Manly's credentials questioned.

    A trip across to New Zealand should result in a win this round, but a final week clash with the flying Panthers could prove a tough test.

    Can Finish: 4th-10th

    Will Finish: 8th

  9. 9 St George Illawarra Dragons

    Given the start to the season that the Dragons had, with Gareth Widdop looking like an early Dally M contender, it's astonishing that they might not compete in the finals.

    Their trip to Penrith in round 25 might hold the key to both sides' futures, with the home team still in top four contention and the Dragons aiming to extend their season.


    A visit to Canterbury could be a potential banana skin for the Red V after the Bulldogs stunned Manly.

    Can Finish: 6th-11th

    Will Finish: 9th

  10. 10 Canberra Raiders

    Yesterday's loss to Penrith effectively ended the Raiders' season.

    Canberra can mathematically still make the top eight. For that to happen, they would need the Cowboys and Manly to lose their remaining games, while St George would also have to drop at least two points.

    While that is all still possible, the Raiders would also have to beat Minor Premiership winners Melbourne away from home and a dangerous Newcastle Knights side.

    Judging by their social media comments, Canberra fans are understandably sceptical about the Raiders' chances.

    Can Finish: 7th-11th

    Will Finish: 10th

    How do you think the top eight will look after the completion of all 26 rounds? Let us know in the comments below.

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Daniel Lang

Rugby League & Cricket editor at RealSport.

Daniel is a passionate advocate for the game of rugby league and the development of the sport across the world and, as such, writes with a zeal and determination to spread the gospel of the game.

A huge fan of cricket, football, NFL, Tennis and Supercar racing in Australia, Daniel can quickly find himself a casual fan of just about any sport after putting his mind to watching it.

Daniel is also one-half of the hugely successful podcast 'Panthers Weekly with Strawbs & Teach' where he talks all things Panthers Weekly while he also hosts the current affairs show 'the Strawbs Show' and the 'Summer of Cricket with Strawbs & Shnuu' as well as appearing on the Sydney FC covering 'Nothing But Blue Skies' podcast occasionally.

NRL: Who will make the finals?

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