Another Year Another Tight Finish in the NRL

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The finals scenario that would see a qualifier in Melbourne feature Cooper Cronk, now of Sydney, facing off against his old mates from the Storm is the sort of thing that makes us willing to put up with the game for the rest of the season.

The two clubs met earlier in the season. That game was decided by a long-range field goal off the boot of Cameron Smith.

If sentiment ruled the game, Smith should have missed the kick out of admiration for his former teammate.

The Roosters have upped their game of late and the Storm, as has been their form of late, will be playing their best football as the season winds down and the finals get underway.

The analysts are projecting the Roosters to finish in third as St. George slides and the situation in Penrith is likely to get extremely bizarre following the sacking of Anthony Griffin.

Those experts expect the Rabbitohs to finish on top, followed by the Storm, a ranking that seems to be derived mainly from the Rabbitohs recent win over Melbourne.

In third come the Roosters, followed by the Dragons, Panthers, Sharks, Warriors and Broncos.

The Broncos are on 26 points and the drop to the number nine Wests Tigers if four points, so they may effectively be out of the picture, unless they pull a Penrith and fire their coach in time to light a fire under the players.

The Sharks cannot be feeling too much confidence after losing by a point to Manly, but they still have the core of the playing group that won the premiership in 2016 and predicting rugby is about the same level of difficulty of herding cats.

Ladbrokes sees the finishing order slightly differently, with the Roosters at the top, followed by the Rabbitohs, Storm and Panthers, but so far as the prices on the top three go, they are separated by 50 cents, which is another way of saying, “Flip a coin and try not to get beaned in the noggin.”