Well, after Round 23 the final 8 for the 2005 finals is all but decided. With a four point gap between 8 and 9 it will be to much for the Sharks, Panthers and Cowboys too make up. The Tigers, Panthers and Warriors have no hope.
My atempt at predicting the 8 a few weeks ago hasn’t quite panned out. I had the Sharkies in there but their run of losses has put them out of contention. The Broncos and Dragons are in free fall and the run of the Eels (even for me) has exceeded all expectations.
The Storm will finish Minor Premiers and the Bulldogs runners up. There is an interesting battle going one for 3rd spot. I’m going to give that to the Knights. They have the easiest run home (Cowboys, Panthers and the bye). That should be six points and 32 points at the end.
The Eels will run fourth. I only say this as I expect to drop a game before the finals (It is almost all too good to be true). The game against the Roosters looms as a danger game. Then again the Eels have met all challenges so far and if their streak continues then they could pip the Knights for third on for and against.
The Sea Eagles and The Dragons will battle it out for fifth and sixth. I’m tipping the Dragons as they have the easier run home of the two sides even through their form is poor. Manly has the Bunnies but end the season up against the Bulldogs and The Storm.
Brisbane will finish in seventh spot. I honestly did not expect Brisbane to be this dreadful at the end of the season. It is time for Wayne to go. As Canberra’s for and against is woeful they will round out the eight.
So the final eight will be:
Of course I’m basing this on current form. The teams out of the eight could act as spoilers so third to seventh could fluctuate a little.
One thing I will not do is say that it is the Storm and the Bulldogs all the way to the grand final. Once the finals start all bets are off and the Knights, Eels and Sea Eagles could all win their way through. This season is far from over.