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NRL finals countdown: Best and worst-case scenarios for all 16 teams

Heading into the penultimate round of the 2019 NRL Telstra Premiership six teams are locked in for the finals and three are out of the race with seven sides still in the equation to fill seventh and eighth spot. Stats has crunched the numbers to determine the best and worst-case scenarios for all clubs. Only one team, last-placed Gold Coast, cannot change its position on the ladder in the final fortnight.

Six clubs are officially locked in after their performances in round 23 - the other teams in the top eight, Cronulla and Brisbane, still need to win at least one of their remaining two games to book a playoff berth.

The Sharks could rise as high as sixth if they beat Canberra and Wests Tigers and the Eels lose to Brisbane and Manly. 

The Knights, Panthers, Bulldogs, Warriors and Wests Tigers remain in the mix but will need help with other results going their way. 

Manly are continuing to defy the odds after being handed the toughest run home to surge into the top four with clashes against the Storm and Eels next in their way. 

Melbourne and the Roosters have all but locked in first and second spot on the ladder respectively unless either drops both their final two matches. 

The Raiders, Sea Eagles, Rabbitohs and Eels remain in the top-four hunt. 

The Titans have officially locked in the 2019 wooden spoon after the Cowboys beat Penrith in round 23. 

The finals equation

Melbourne Storm (1st, 38 points)

Best finish: 1st

Worst finish: 2nd

Run home: Sea Eagles, Cowboys

The win over the Titans has locked in a top-two spot. A further victory against either the Sea Eagles or Cowboys in the final two rounds will see the Storm secure the minor premiership for the third time in four years.

Sydney Roosters (2nd, 34 points)

Best finish: 1st

Worst finish: 5th

Run home: Panthers, Rabbitohs

The defending premiers are cruising with clashes against the Panthers and Rabbitohs to come. They can still take out the minor premiership if the Storm drop their final two games, a scenario that seems unlikely. If the Roosters stumble in the final fortnight they can slip as low as fifth. 

Canberra Raiders (3rd, 30 points)

Best finish: 2nd

Worst finish: 6th

Run home: Sharks, Warriors

The Raiders' narrow loss to the Sea Eagles puts a dent in their top-two aspirations and sends them back into a bit of a log-jam. The Green Machine are now in a similar boat to the Sea Eagles and Rabbitohs, pushing for a top-four berth.They could effectively get back on track, and deliver a blow to the Sharks' hopes in the process, with a win this weekend in the Shire. 

Manly Sea Eagles (4th, 30 points)

Best finish: 2nd

Worst finish: 6th

Run home: Storm, Eels

All hail Des Hasler as the impressive 2019 season gets even better for the Northern Beaches boys as they officially lock in a finals berth.  

A tough draw to finish has been made to look easy by Hasler's men and their latest win over the Raiders leaves them within reach of a top-two spot – albeit the Roosters would have to drop their final two games in the process.

South Sydney Rabbitohs (5th, 30 points)

Best finish: 2nd

Worst finish: 6th

Run home: Warriors, Roosters

The Bunnies returned to the winner's list against the Broncos and with that they're back on track to focus on a top-four finish after slipping out in recent weeks. They can finish second at best, provided the Roosters drop their final two matches. At worst they can host a sudden-death finals clash at ANZ Stadium. 

Damien Cook joins Inside The NRL

Parramatta Eels (6th, 28 points)

Best finish: 3rd

Worst finish: 7th

Run home: Broncos, Sea Eagles

A shock loss to the Bulldogs ended the Eels' top-two aspirations but the top four remains a focus. Parramatta are officially locked into the finals after last year's wooden spoon finish but it's up to them how far they climb. A third-place finish could see them play the Sydney Roosters in week one of the finals. At worst they'll host a sudden-death final at Bankwest Stadium.

Wade Graham joins Inside The NRL

Cronulla Sharks (7th, 24 points)

Best finish: 6th

Worst finish: 12th

Run home: Raiders, Wests Tigers

Cronulla did their for-and-against a big favour following their win over the Warriors, which gives them enough to push for a home final if they can win their next two games and jag sixth spot.

That quest can be denied quickly if the Eels win at least one of their final two matches. A loss to either the Raiders or Wests Tigers will leave the Sharks vulnerable.

Brisbane Broncos (8th, 23 points)

Best finish: 7th

Worst finish: 13th

Run home: Eels, Bulldogs

A loss to the Rabbitohs last week means the highest the Broncos can finish in 2019 is now seventh spot if they win their remaining two games against the Eels and Bulldogs.

Anything less than that can see Anthony Seibold's men slip as far as 13th spot with rival clubs breathing down their neck.

Wests Tigers (9th, 22 points)

Best finish: 7th

Worst finish: 15th

Run home: Dragons, Sharks

The dream of a first finals berth since 2011 is still alive. If they can beat the Dragons at the SCG on Sunday it will set up a do-or-die final round against the Sharks at Leichhardt Oval a week later – a marketer's dream.

Every try from Round 23

Penrith Panthers (10th, 22 points)

Best finish: 7th

Worst finish: 14th

Run home: Roosters, Knights

Two tricky games to finish the season including defending premiers Sydney Roosters on Saturday night. Put simply they'll need to win both by solid margins to play finals footy in 2019. 

Newcastle Knights (11th, 20 points)

Best finish: 7th

Worst finish: 15th

Run home: Titans, Panthers

The Knights are mathematically alive in the finals race but their chances were dealt a hammer blow by the 46-4 loss to Wests Tigers last week. They'll need to do a big job on the Titans in their final home game before a similar performance against the Panthers in Penrith. 

Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs (12th, 20 points)

Best finish: 8th

Worst finish: 15th

Run home: Cowboys, Broncos

The unlikely finals dream lives on but, given other results in round 23, the highest Canterbury can now finish is eighth spot (down from seventh last week) despite their upset win over the Eels.

The club is daring to dream too, giving fans a rundown of what other results need to go their way

New Zealand Warriors (13th, 19 points)

Best finish: 8th

Worst finish: 15th

Run home: Rabbitohs, Raiders

The Warriors remain a mathematical chance for an eighth-place finish but will need several results to go their way while beating the Rabbitohs and Raiders over the next fortnight by big margins.

North Queensland Cowboys (14th, 18 points)

Best finish: 9th

Worst finish: 15th

Run home: Bulldogs, Storm

The Cowboys have avoided the dreaded wooden spoon after beating the Panthers in round 23 in a much-needed boost for Paul Green's men.

St George Illawarra Dragons (15th, 16 points)

Best finish: 11th

Worst finish: 15th

Run home: Wests Tigers, Titans

A tough loss against the Roosters saw the Dragons slip a further place to 15th but the Titans' loss to Melbourne ensured the Red V avoid the ignominy of a first ever wooden spoon as a joint venture. A round 25 clash against the Titans will not be one for the ages.  

Gold Coast Titans (16th, 10 points)

Best finish: 16th

Worst finish: 16th

Run home: Knights, Dragons

The dreaded wooden spoon is locked in for the Titans after they suffered their ninth consecutive loss last weekend. It's the fifth time in the past six years that the Titans have finished in the bottom three.


Acknowledgement of Country

Parramatta Eels respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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