Origin is over. Players are back. No more split rounds. So where does your team sit?. It looks as though the top 6 is almost locked in (barring a couple of shifts here and there). The real struggle is for position 7 and 8 on the ladder with potentially 6 sides battling for two spots.
In previous years 28 competition points was about the mark . This year it could be 26 and a favourable for and against. However no team will want to rely on other results.
So we here at fansunite have done the analysis. Where does your team sit? How many wins can they expect (all things considered) and where will they end up?.
Let's go alphabetically and at the bottom we will propose a top 8.
Current Points: 24 Current Position: 5
Expected wins: 4 Potential End Points: 32
It was hardly a game that played Brisbane back into form against Souths, considering how badly the bunnies are going. What it did give Brisbane a chance to do was run the ball a bit more. The more Hunt runs the ball the better for the Broncos. If there is one thing working in their favour it is their coach. Some would say the best of all time. Bennett knows how to prepare a side for September more than anyone and it will be no different this year. Top 4 will be a push, but once the Broncos are in the semi-finals they are a threat.
Expected finish 6th.
Current Points: 26 Current Position: 4
Expected wins: 4 Potential End Points: 34
Des loves flying under the radar. But if there is one team that is now firmly on everyone's radar it's the doggies. With a big, strong, mobile, ball playing forward pack the Bulldogs can at least expect to finish Top 4. They play the Cowboys twice and those results on form could go either way. The biggest thing for the dogs is attitude. It almost feels as though if they want to win they do.
Expected finish 4th.
Current Points: 26 Current Position: 3
Expected wins: 6 Potential End Points: 38
The Cowboys have a fairly good run in to September, but not enough that will see them crack the Top 2. The biggest thing for the Cowboys will be trying to secure a win in Week 1, which will hopefully see them claim a home preliminary final. If they lose in week one of the finals and don't get the week off, the fear will be player burnout. It's not going to be about skill or execution for the Cowboys, it is all about how they are managed. They should sit nicely in 3rd or 4th spot so time will tell as to whether or not Green decides to rest some key players.
Expected finish 3rd.
Current Points: 20 Current Position: 10
Expected wins: 2 Potential End Points: 24
The Dragons have got the list to make top 8. In 2015 their biggest issue was the ability to score points and those problems have carried into 2016. Benji Marshall is not the player he once was, Dugan is made of glass lately and unfortunately for the big red V this will be another season where chances go begging. They play 3 top 8 sides in the last few weeks, coupled with some predicted tough outings against Eels and Tigers. Sadly they might slip down a couple more sports by seasons end.
Expected finish 12th.
Current Points: 12 Current Position: 14
Expected wins: 4 Potential End Points: 20
The bubble might have finally burst for the Eels. With everything that has happened to them this year, the one thing Brad Arthur still had them doing was focusing on football and winning. However to even have a sniff at he top 8 they had to win every game. With long term injuries to Radradra and with Norman been stood down by the club the Eels have lost too many players in key positions. They will still be hard to beat for a lot of teams coming home. But they wont make the top 8.
Expected finish 13th.
Current Points: 7 Current Position: 16
Expected wins: 0 Potential End Points: 7
What can be said about the knights. At least they are pushing sides the full 80minutes at the moment, which is a testament to Brown and his coaching prowess. With the troubles they have faced this year through injury they have barely been able to field a competitive first grade side. If there is one thing that the Knights can draw as a positive from the season, it is that they have some of the most loyal fans in the NRL. Their supporters show up and support their side knowing the Knights will give their all. It's a credit to the team and their town that they can stick strong and stick by each other. The positive for the knights to look to in 2017 is that surely it can't get much worse.
Expected finish 16th
Current Points: 20 Current Position: 9
Expected wins: 2 Potential End Points: 24
This year will be seen as a missed opportunity for the Panthers. If they do figure out a way to scrape into the 8 they will have a hard time progressing past week 1. Rightly or wrongly the Panthers decided to go for a mid-season rebuild, favouring Cartwright and Cleary over Soward. They are young inexperienced halves and the premiership window might open for them in 3 years time. They will shake some sides up in the run to finals purely because they aren't afraid to use their talent.
Expected finish 10th.
Current Points: 14 Current Position: 13
Expected wins: 1 Potential End Points: 16
The Rabbitohs have just lost that loving feeling. I go back to the early rounds when Dylan Napa went on a one man destruction mission and took the Rabbitohs forwards apart. They haven't looked the same since. The Rabbitohs have a massive forward pack and a NSW halfback and they are captained by one of the best outside backs ever in Greg Inglis. However they can't find a way to win. They are the polar opposites to the Titans this year and if they get one more win this year it will be a surprise. There appears to be more going on in the Bunnies rabbit hole then the administration are prepared to let on. This year is over for them onto 2017.
Expected finish 14th.
Current Points: 25 Current Position: 6
Expected wins: 5 Potential End Points: 35
In previous years this is about the time of the year that the Canberra raiders start to go backwards. Yes they are a hot and cold side and the key to their success this year will be finding some sort of way to put together 80minutes of football. That has been their achilles heel. There is no doubt they can score points. And up the middle you have two off the most destructive running forwards in the game in Paulo and Papalli. The key for the Raiders is Croker, if he can keep them calm and stick to their structures they should post at least 5 more wins running in. Ricky Stuart has them believing in each other and that is a very dangerous weapon to have.
Expected finish 5th.
Current Points: 10 Current Position: 15
Expected wins: 1 Potential End Points: 12
The toughest draw of any side with 5 of their games against top 8 sides and the lowest team they will play are the Dragons (on the cusp of the 8). This is going to be a rough few weeks for the Roosters. Although they are so much better with Pearce in the side, Robinson still hasn't found a pivot that can take the pressure off. The side rely too much on Pearce and his kicking game. The game plan for every opponent of the Roosters will be 'shut down Pearce, shut down the Roosters'. For Roosters fans look towards 2017 for brighter days ahead.
Expected finish: 15th
Current Points: 16 Current Position: 12
Expected wins: 5 Potential End Points: 26
If you are going to pick a 'roughie' to make a late charge for September the Sea Eagles are your side. DCE and Lyon are firing on all cylinders and the Trbojevic brothers are two of the brightest young talents surging up the ranks. The Eagles season looked wrecked this year as injury to many players in key posisiotns made it hard for Barrett to even field a decent NRL side week to week. But with players coming back and finding combinations the Sea Eagles might scrape in. We have them finishing on 26 but if they cause a couple upsets they might even make 7th spot. they are the team to watch.
Expected finish: 8th/9th
Current Points: 34 Current Position: 1
Expected wins: 7 Potential End Points: 48
Not only are the Sharks the best team in the competition at the moment, they probably have the best draw of all the top 8 sides going into finals. Their toughest game will be against the Storm round 25 but by then they should have locked up the Minor Premiership. A lot of people subscribe to the notion that they need to lose a couple of games before the finals. But why? Teams play to win, so why not keep winning. If they stay undefeated they will make history, if they win the big one they will make even more.
Expected finish: Minor Premiers
Current Points: 32 Current Position: 2
Expected wins: 6 Potential End Points: 44
People say the Dogs fly under the radar, well what about the Storm? Tucked away down in Melbourne they go about their business and churn out wins. Bellamy continues to find players from nowhere and develop them into world class athletes (Vunivalu for example who now leads the NRL for try scoring and has only played 10 games). They fly under the radar so much, many people probably forget they played a preliminary final last year and will be looking to go one better this year. For a team with the Australian captain leading them they don't draw too much attention and I think they like it that way.
Expected finish: 2nd.
Current Points: 18 Current Position: 11
Expected wins: 3 Potential End Points: 24
The tigers are certainly not out of the running by any means. Farah finally seems content with his new super sub role and they have Woods (the Australian Prop) in their arsenal. The issue for the Tigers is that they get away with saying they have a young halves pairing still learning the game, but by next year Moses and Brooks will be 100+ game players, if they don't make the 8 this year they have to next ear, otherwise they will be generally considered an under-performing club. Of their run in they have a lot of 50/50 games that I just don't think go their way, given how unpredictable they are.
Expected finish: 11th
Current Points: 20 Current Position: 7
Expected wins: 3 Potential End Points: 26
If the Titans finish where we expect them to and make the top 8 Neil Henry should get coach of the year. This is a side on paper that should have been contesting the wooden spoon. However with belief in their game plan and the club's vision every single week the Titans exhaust every last ounce of talent and potential from their team. When they win, they win ugly. But come September that's exactly the style of football that takes you deep into finals. Peats was a massive signing for the club and Taylor will be rookie of the year come Dally M medal time.
Expected finish 8th.
Current Points: 20 Current Position: 8
Expected wins: 5 Potential End Points: 30
One of the toughest jobs in Rugby League is predicting where the Warriors will end up and further to that your prediction coming to fruition. The Warriors always start slow, they always rev into gear during Origin, everyone gets excited about them and then they drop off. I think all punters are hoping the exception is 2016 and they can make it into the top 8. They are such an exciting team to watch when they are in full swing and the prediction I have made is more as a fan of their style of rugby league and what they might do in September, rather than any actual science.
Expected (hopeful) finish: 7
At the close of round 26 the ladder should resemble something like this:
1. Sharks (48)
2. Storm (44)
3. Cowboys (38)
4. Bulldogs (34)
5. Raiders (35)
6. Broncos (32)
7. Warriors (30)
8. Titans (26)
9. Sea Eagles (26)
10. Panthers (24)
11. Tigers (24)
12. Dragons (24)
13. Eels (20)
14. Rabbitohs (16)
15. Roosters (12)
16. Knights (7)
The notable item from the predicted ladder is that 26 might be enough points but as said above it will be for and against and the Warriors post Origin form that will have the major say in who gets 7th and 8th spot.
From here, who wins the comp? hard to say, but come Round 26 we will have a better idea.
Bring on September!.