With COVID wiping out half of the draw, just two rounds remain in the 2020 QLD Premier Rugby season.
The finals picture is starting to take shape with 5 teams realistically scrapping it out for the Top 4 spots prior to finals at Ballymore.
Right now, the experienced Easts side, led by former Wallaby skipper Ben Mowen sit atop the ladder but do have the bye this week. That'll mean that UQ, Bond Uni or even GPS could be sitting on top of the table this time next week with a win in Round 8. Crazy!
Brothers and Wests sit just below that quartet but the latter are likely too far back to be making finals.
So how does it all finish up?
This weekend, GPS travel down the M1 to take on Bond, this game has massive finals implications. If GPS lose, they'll almost certainly miss out on finals with a Round 9 bye, presuming Brothers win one of their next two. If they win however, they could still miss finals, it's that close!
Brothers fresh off a couple of big scores against Souths & Norths respectively take on Sunnybank, also a must-win for the Brethren who play Easts in a blockbuster clash in the final round which may give us a big preview of finals footy.
Souths & Norths meet at Chipsy Wood in a battle of the cellar dwellers, whilst UQ can elevate to top of the table regardless of other results with a bonus point victory against Wests.
The piece of the puzzle that always adds intrigue come finals time is the injection of the QLD Reds squad that drop back into club land. I understand that won't be happening until the final round due to quarantining requirements.
The big winners in that? Clearly it is Brothers. Presuming they all are fit, the Brethren will welcome the return of Harry Hoopert, Ryan Smith, Hamish Stewart and Lawson Creighton. If they sneak into finals, GPS would welcome back the Smith twins and Bryce Hegarty among others, whilst UQ (Angus Scott-Young & Jock Campbell) and Bond (Alex Mafi and Angus Blyth) would also get a fair boost.
We'll get our friends at PlayUp to put together a market, but if you were framing one right now, it might be a case of Brothers and Easts maybe clear of UQ, then Bond & GPS?
Perhaps something like that.
Brothers, beaten finalists last year, will be hard to knock once the cavalry arrive if they can make their way in over the next fortnight. Whilst the big improvers this year have been Bond, two tough games to finish but 5 wins from 6 and some entertaining, end-to-end rugby has meant they're a serious premiership contender.
For what it's worth right now, I'll tip the experience of Easts to be taking on Brothers in the 2020 Grand Final. We'll get a preview of that next weekend at Crosby Park, things are about to heat up!