We’re at that time of year now where there are a handful of teams with little to play for.
Happily, there are still a bunch of teams ‘mathematically’ in contention for the eight, but there are still a handful of teams who are more focused on mad Monday and their end of season trip.
Let’s break them down:
‘Expected’ best case: Minor premiership
‘Expected’ worst case: Minor premiership
They are long odds-on to be minor premiers, just needing to win one of the final two.
If they do lose to the Sea Eagles this week, however, they have a relatively easy finish to the season playing the Cowboys at home.
They’ll be motivated to lock up the minor premiership this week to give them the opportunity to rest players in Round 25.
‘Expected’ best case: Finish 2nd
‘Expected’ worst case: Finish 2nd
Mathematically the Roosters could finish lower than second, but with a 101 point (for and against) advantage over the third place, it seems highly unlikely.
They could also finish minor premiers if the Storm drops their final two games, and they claw back the for and against differential, but that also appears unlikely.
Interestingly the Storm plays just prior to the Roosters on Saturday – if the Storm win their game then the motivation for the Roosters may drop slightly and perhaps the bench sees a bit more playing time.
- Raiders, Sea Eagles, Rabbitohs:
All of these teams are assured of a top-eight spot but will have their eyes on making the top four.
The Raiders arguably have the easiest draw, but they have to play the Sharks this week at Pointsbet Stadium, with this being Paul Gallen’s final game.
The Sea Eagles and Rabbitohs have either the Storm or Roosters to play in the final two rounds also.
These teams have plenty to play for.
‘Expected’ best case: Finish 5th
‘Expected’ worst case: Finish 8th
Mathematically the Eels can make the top four, but that would require a lot of things to fall their way. That is currently around a $10 shot, which looks to be unders to us.
Needless to say they have plenty to play for this week. There is a series of results that could mean they can only finish 6th, but we won’t know that until around 4 pm Sunday.
Chances are they stay where they are on the table.
- Sharks, Broncos, Tigers, Panthers:
All of these teams can make, or miss, the top eight.
They will all be doing their best to final their final two games, although if the Sharks and Broncos both win this week, then either of the Tigers and Panthers lose, their (Tigers or Panthers) season will be over.
- Knights, Bulldogs:
Mathematical chances, but long odds to make the eight. The way the matches fall this week, they should still be motivated to keep their slim chances alive as they won’t yet know their fates – although who knows what the Knights will serve up.
- Warriors, Cowboys, Dragons, Titans:
The only potential motivation for these teams, with the wooden spoon already sown up, will be trying to give their home fans a decent performance as they head into the off-season.
Look out for some high scoring games with these teams as they may look to play hero-ball in attack and then not show up in defence.
The Gold Coast Curse – update.
It happened again this week – their Round 22 opponent (Eels) was upset by the Bulldogs in Round 23.
So we still only have four teams that have won after playing them.
The Storm played the Titans last week – it wouldn’t surprise too many if they go down to the Sea Eagles in the ‘Battle of Brookie’ (or Lottoland).
Selections for last week
An ordinary week – as the numbers below will show!
Game results: 4/7 – missed the Rabbitohs, Bulldogs and Tigers (stayed out of the Cowboys v Penrith)
With the start: 3/5 – we stayed out of a few games here (Cowboys v Panthers, Sharks v Warriors, Storm v Titans). The two we missed were the Tigers and Rabbitohs.
Game total: 2/6 – some poor reads this week. We stayed out of a couple of games here (Sharks v Warriors, Dragons v Roosters) but missed the Broncos v Rabbitohs, Tigers v Knights, Cowboys v Panthers and Storm v Titans.
Interest bets: A poor effort this week. We did find the Raiders / Sea Eagles half / full double at decent odds, but nada aside from that.