The dust has settled on the Origin period and the teams are gearing up for the home run into the finals. How does your side fare?
Tigers (H), Titans (H), Sea Eagles (A), Bulldogs (H), Dragons (H), Roosters (A), Rabbitohs (A), Storm (H)
Broncos fans will be fancying their chances of a top of the table finish, with five home games in the lead up to the finals. The next month of football shouldn’t be too hard, with the Roosters, Rabbitohs and Storm to finish off the season, Wayne Bennett will no doubt have his men primed for a strong back end of 2015.
Sea Eagles (A), Eels (H), Raiders (H), Sharks (A), Rabbitohs (H), Warriors (A), Storm (A), Titans (H)
The Cowboys have conquered their fear of travel, having their best season of away games in recent times; but their away game history does not make them a favourite for the upcoming games. Their home games shouldn’t cause them too much drama, but their away game performances will decide whether they can finish in the top eight or not.
Warriors (H), Tigers (A), Bulldogs (H), Knights (A), Eels (H), Broncos (H), Sea Eagles (A), Rabbitohs (H)
The teams current form says the Roosters will breeze into the semifinals. With five home games and a light travel schedule, East supporters can be optimistic for a top four spot, possibly top two. Blake Ferguson is reaching his career-best form and James Maloney will want to steer his team to another premiership before he departs for the Sutherland Shire next year.
Roosters (A), Sea Eagles (H), Sharks (H), Dragons (H), Panthers (A), Cowboys (H), Tigers (A), Bulldogs (A)
The Warriors are always the biggest winners of the origin period, and sitting in the top four now, they are all but guaranteed to play in September. They come up against teams all fighting for a position in the top eight, but with their big forward pack followed closely by Shaun Johnson there is no reason why the Warriors are not a genuine premiership contender.
Dragons (A), Knights (H), Panthers (H), Sea Eagles (A), Cowboys (A), Bulldogs (H), Broncos (H), Roosters (A)
The premiers will more than likely appear in the final, but they will need a strong run to prove they are worthy of back-to-back premierships. They are capable of a strong finish but their campaign has been inconsistent thus far. No real bogey sides in the run home should see the Bunnies comfortably sail through the remainder of the season.
Panthers (H), Dragons (H), Tigers (A), Titans (H), Sharks (A), Knights (H), Cowboys (H), Broncos (A)
Melbourne always struggle during the origin period losing their star players and this year is no different. They have lost four in a row and will be looking to turn it around with Cameron Smith’s 300th game this weekend. The biggest question mark is whether they can be a threat without Billy Slater, who is out with a shoulder injury. Melbourne have become a finals fixture in the last decade but they have eight weeks to find their feet.
Rabbitohs (H), Storm (A), Knights (H), Warriors (A), Broncos (H), Panthers (H), Titans (A), Tigers (H)
The Dragons went into origin in the top two but have come out of origin in seventh place, with five losses in a row. The Dragons were accredited for their strong defence in the early stages of the year. But they are in danger of dropping out of the eight. They return to the hallowed turf of the SCG this weekend where they have a good history in recent times, and the return of Benji Marshall and Josh Dugan will give them the confidence they need to charge through.
Eels (A), Sharks (H), Roosters (A), Broncos (A), Titans (H), Rabbitohs (A), Knights (A), Warriors (H)
Des Hasler will be driving his team forward as they teeter on the edge of the eight, with every team gunning for a coveted finals spot. The Bulldogs will need to find some continuity of form and they can start with a victory over the Eels, and then Cronulla in another contest at Belmore.
Raiders (A), Bulldogs (A), Warriors (A), Cowboys (H), Storm (H), Tigers (H), Eels (A), Sea Eagles (H)
Sitting just out of the top eight due to point differential, it will be a challenging month of football ahead for Cronulla. With three away games in a row, Cronulla will need to find a win at least once to keep up with the eight. However, four of their last five home games will leave Sharks fans optimistic of a finals place.
Sharks (H), Panthers (A), Cowboys (A), Tigers (H), Sea Eagles (H), Titans (A), Panthers (H), Eels (A)
The Raiders have improved vastly over the last 12 months, building a roster more than capable of playing football in September. They have a dream run into the finals, coming up against only one top eight team. However, Canberra is no longer the fortress it once was. They are playing great football at the moment and will need to continue this if they want to appear in the finals. Blake Austin is key to their success.
Storm (A), Raiders (H), Rabbitohs (A), Eels (A), Warriors (H), Dragons (A), Raiders (A), Knights (H)
Penrith have had injury woes in 2015, which is in part why they are outside of the eight. Most of their big name players are back and they will need to dig deep to win most of the remaining matches in the regular season, but it’s certainly possible. If they make the eight it will be by the skin of their teeth.
Bulldogs (H), Cowboys (A), Titans (A), Panthers (H, Roosters (A), Sea Eagles (A), Sharks (H), Raiders (H)
Parramatta is still in contention to play football this spring. However, a tough run home could put them out in just a few short weeks with a game against the Bulldogs, before the Cowboys in Townsville. The team has garnered headlines for both good and bad reasons, but Parramatta will need to focus on football if they want to reach the finals.
13. Sea Eagles
Cowboys (H), Warriors (A), Broncos (H), Rabbitohs (H), Raiders (A), Eels (H), Roosters (H), Sharks (A)
A month ago, Manly were all but ruled out of the footy finals for the first time in 10 years. Recently they have strung together some big wins inspiring hope of a possible finals place. They will need to continue this run of form and then some, to win six of their last eight games. With contract uncertainties behind them, Manly still face a very steep, uphill battle to snatch a spot in the eight.
Knights (A), Broncos (A), Eels (H), Storm (A), Bulldogs (A), Raiders (H), Dragons (H), Cowboys (A)
The Titans still have a chance to make the eight but it will be tight. They face five of the top eight teams in the closing weeks, but may struggle to get a win against any side in the competition. If they win three of four games they would still be short of 28 points – the standard requirement for finals.
Broncos (A), Roosters (H), Storm (H), Raiders (A), Knights (H), Sharks (A), Warriors (H), Dragons (A)
Tigers can pretty much forget about 2015 and look to next year and beyond. The one thing they need to worry about is the wooden spoon. A young player roster with infinite potential is yet to be unleashed and can still cause upsets in the coming weeks.
Titans (H), Rabbitohs (A), Dragons (A), Roosters (H), Tigers (A), Storm (A), Bulldogs (H), Panthers (A)
The best Newcastle can do is look to next season. Picking up the pieces that were left by Wayne Bennett and Nathan Tinkler, there’s nowhere to go but up. Trent Hodkinson has signed on for 2016 and that’s about the only good news they’ve had in the past couple of months. With a couple of wins in the next rounds they can avoid the wooden spoon. – Luke Mahoney