Righto, let's address the elephant in the room. I am going to tackle this head on, I tipped the Tigers as the best of the weekend and they lost by 40. I also tipped a shitload of upsets which didn't come to fruition, so I was brave and it backfired, spectacularly. That's life unfortunately.
After Round 13, is the top 8 potentially set? Dessy's Sea Eagles are in 9th position on the back of two losses and sitting a win outside the finals race. Their assignment next week is against the Knights who were the ones who gave the Tigers an almighty touch up.
Which team, if any, can mount a run towards the finals from those that currently sit outside the 8? I wouldn't write Manly off just yet, but is anyone else capable?
After the Knights next week, Manly take on the Bunnies and the Storm. Not an easy 3 weeks ahead it has to be said. Whilst the team beneath them on the ladder, the West Tigers get the Bulldogs next week, you'd be thinking they'd be winning that, but then they have back-to-back games against the Roosters and Panthers. So in order words, loss & loss.
How much lower do we go?
Could it be the greatest fairytale story of all-time? The New Zealand Warriors. Sacrificing plenty to just allow the competition to even go ahead this year, they removed their coach and have plenty of player movement, not much has gone their way. Now they're potentially in finals contention? They take on the Panthers this Friday night, prior to the Bulldogs and Knights after that. Again, you'd be thinking that's a 1-2 run, maybe a surprise against the Knights?
The only other possible contenders you'd think would be the resurgent Dragons. Competitive against a depleted Roosters side on Thursday night, they get the Eels this week but then it's the Broncos and Titans. The Broncos couldn't win a chook raffle if they bought all the tickets, so that's a win, but perhaps the Titans are some nuisance factor for the back end of the year, they're coming good - could they string a few wins together and make a run? You'd probably think, no.
Jeez, not much doing for QLD fans this October is there. If the Bulldogs weren't on life support, they'd have the bottom of the ladder all to themselves. What does that mean for State of Origin? Could get a little nasty this year.
If I am having a wager right now, I'm backing a grand final replay. Roosters and Raiders and the Chooks will be winning again. The green machine haven't been at their best since losing Josh Hodgson, but I am keeping the faith.
$3.75 right now for the Roosters to win the big dance, looks like the right bet to me. They keep finding a way to win, despite a huge injury list. Players returning and the introduction of Sonny Bill Williams, probably in a bench role, the Roosters are going to be bloody hard to stop.
You wouldn't believe it, but there are only 7 rounds remaining in the revised 20-round format in this post-COVID world, well, COVID world should we say. Teams are running out of time and the Top 4 looks to be almost cemented as well. Again, I am thinking only the Raiders can make a run, maybe I am being too kind to them.
With all the above considered, it seems as though the next 2-3 weeks will tell us what we need to know and we can start making plans for the finals. Where will it all land? I think Manly will replace the Sharks who currently occupy 8th spot, the Sea Eagles appear to have an easier run in. Other than that, the Roosters will make a run towards the minor premiership, starting this Thursday night with a showdown against the Storm.