NRL Premiership - Round 01 - Melbourne Storm V St George Dragons - 07 March 2016 - AAMI Park, Melbourne, Vic - Ian Knight

The Run Home

With just five games left in the 2016 NRL season, 12 of 16 teams remain in the hunt for finals action.

Just one game separates the teams from 7th to 12th while the hunt for a much-desired top four finish is well and truly heating up.

Storm have won 12 of their last 13 games to currently sit atop the NRL ladder (with Cronulla who will play tonight) but will face a difficult run home. Four of their five games are against teams chasing a finals berth or a top four place.

As we enter the business end of the year take a close look at the run home for every team still in finals contention.

Be at AAMI Park when we take on the Rabbitohs, Saturday 6 August, 7:30pm.

1st Melbourne Storm
16 wins, 3 losses, 244 pts diff

Craig Bellamy’s men have been inside the top two since Round 11 and are currently on a five-game winning streak. Storm have three games remaining at AAMI Park, including back-to-back blockbusters against the Broncos and Sharks to end the season. They currently sit three and a half games inside the top two thanks largely to having the best defence in the NRL, conceding just 11.4 points per game.

v Rabbitohs (H)
v Raiders (A)
v Sea Eagles (A)
v Broncos (H)
v Sharks (H)
 

2nd Cronulla Sharks
16 wins, 2 losses, 207 pts diff

You can hardly be travelling better than the Sharks are, who will take a 15-game winning streak into their game against the Titans tonight. They are well within sight of the record set by the 1975 Roosters for most consecutive wins in an NRL season (19). Cronulla have the No.1 ranked attack in the competition and have their sights set on capturing the first premiership in their Club’s history.

v Titans (A)
v Raiders (H)
v Dragons (A)
v Rabbitohs (A)
v Roosters (H)
v Storm (A)
 

3rd Canberra Raiders
12 wins, 6 losses, 1 draw, 136 pts diff

The Raiders are set for their first finals appearance since 2012 and their first top four finish in 13 years. Ricky Stuart has done a great job in turning around their side that finished 10th last year. They have a big fortnight coming up and there is no better way to test their top four credentials than against the top two sides in the competition.

v Sharks (A)
v Storm (H)
v Eels (H)
v Sea Eagles (A)
v Wests Tigers (A)
 

4th North Queensland Cowboys
12 wins, 7 losses, 201 pts diff

The reigning premiers were always going to be in the thick of it at this time of year. They suffered their first home loss for the year last week against Storm but should regain Johnathan Thurston this week. The Cowboys remain in the box seat for a top four berth but with three away trips still to come will need to improve on their 3-6 record on the road.

v Wests Tigers (A)
v Sydney Roosters (A)
v Warriors (H)
v Bulldogs (A)
v Titans (H)
 

5th Canterbury Bulldogs
12 wins, 7 losses, 76 pts diff

The 36-0 loss to the Cowboys the previous week was their only blemish since early June. The Bulldogs have won five of six games during that stretch to be one of the form sides of the competition. Their home game against the Cowboys in Round 25 at Belmore shapes as the one likely to decide their top four fate.

v Knights (A)
v Sea Eagles (H)
v Broncos (A)
v Cowboys (H)
v Rabbitohs (H)
 

6th Brisbane Broncos
10 wins, 9 losses, 64 pts diff

After a blistering start to the season the Broncos have lost seven of their last nine to drop back to the pack. Decimated by injuries and suspensions to key personnel they must overturn their form slump against the Dragons on Thursday night. With three games still to play at Suncorp there is still time for Brisbane to bring themselves well and truly back into the mix for a double chance in September.

v Dragons (A)
v Eels (H)
v Bulldogs (H)
v Storm (A)
v Roosters (H)
 

7th Gold Coast Titans
9 wins, 9 losses, 17 pts diff

Will take on the Sharks tonight in a game that would see them move two points clear inside the top eight. The Titans are the surprise packets of 2016, with coach Neil Henry doing an outstanding job to steer his side well within reach of their first taste of finals actions since 2010.

v Sharks (H)
v Warriors (H)
v Wests Tigers (A)
v Knights (A)
v Panthers (H)
v Cowboys (A)
 

8th New Zealand Warriors
9 wins, 10 losses, -17 pts diff

Face a crunch game against the Titans next Sunday which is like to have a big say in their finals hopes. The Warriors will certainly chalk up the frequent flyer miles in the next few weeks, having to head to the Gold Coast and then Townsville. The Kiwi outfit will need to improve on their away record (3-7) if there are to take points out of those games.

v Titans (A)
v Rabbitohs (H)
v Cowboys (A)
v Wests Tigers (H)
v Eels (H)
 

9th Penrith Panthers
9 wins, 10 losses, -17 pts diff

The Panthers’ form line has seen them follow a pattern of two wins-two losses since late April. That has seen them unable to break out of the rat race on the cusp of the top eight however they do have a favourable run home, playing four of their remaining five games against teams who are currently below them on the ladder.

v Roosters (H)
v Newcastle (A)
v Wests Tigers (H)
v Titans (A)
v Sea Eagles (H)
 

10th Wests Tigers
9 wins, 10 losses, -59 pts diff

The Tigers have won three of their last four games. If they can beat the Cowboys and the Titans at home they will find themselves back in the think of the finals hunt. Tough road trips will follow though against Penrith and then across the ditch to face the Warriors, leaving Jason Taylor’s side with plenty of work to do if they are to see September action.

v Cowboys (H)
v Titans (H)
v Panthers (A)
v Warriors (A)
v Raiders (H)
 

11th Manly Sea Eagles
8 wins, 11 losses, -40 pts diff

The Sea Eagles appeared to be gone for all money until a four game winning run moved them back within a game of the top eight. Their run home is not an easy one as they play three top-five teams however two of those are at Brookvale Oval where they are always a tough, team to beat.

v Eels (A)
v Bulldogs (A)
v Storm (H)
v Raiders (H)
v Panthers (A)
 

12th St George-Illawarra Dragons
8 wins, 11 losses, -161 pts diff

The Dragons are desperate to overturn their four-game losing streak as they enter two massive home games against the Broncos and Sharks. If they can split the ledger in the next fortnight it sets them up to play the final three games of the year against the bottom three sides in the competition.

v Broncos (H)
v Sharks (H)
v Roosters (A)
v Eels (A)
v Knights (H)