As we close in on the NRL final series, everyone is starting to lay down their predictions for the top eight.
For mine, the current table makes it a copy and paste job.
Sea Eagles, Panthers, Bulldogs, Souths, Roosters, Warriors, Broncos, Storm … There is your top eight.
Although I expect the positioning of those mentioned to change quite a few times, ultimately I can’t see the likes of the Dragons, Tigers, Eels and Cowboys putting together enough wins to force their way into the finals.
The Titans, Knights, Raiders and Sharks are gone … they’re now looking toward 2015, with the Sharks and Raiders in a straight shootout to avoid the wooden spoon.
The top three have put a four point gap between them and the chasing pack and look set to occupy positions in the top four with either the Bunnies or Roosters.
As an Aussie, I love an underdog, and I hope to see the young Tigers force their way into the finals, however if they do, I see them being nothing but fodder for the lower finishing side of the Roosters or Souths.
The only team in the current eight that worries me is the Broncos. They’re so hot and cold, you never really know which Broncos team you’re going to get.
They’ve dropped consecutive games to the Sharks and the Panthers, both from winning positions.
The Broncos simply have too many stars not to play at the business end of the season.
The Tigers, without Tedesco and Anasta have lost two attacking options and look at those they will fall just short.
The Eels over reliance on Jarryd Hayne will see them finish around tenth.
The Cowboys have left their run too late and not even the great Johnathan Thurston can get them home from here.
The only side I see possibly knocking Brisbane out of the finals is the Dragons.
Paul McGregor has the famous red V firing on all cylinders, and with Benji Marshall showing signs of reaching somewhere near his best form, combined with the genius of Gareth Widdop, the Dragons are becoming a force.
Points difference could play a massive part in deciding who finishes where, which puts the Eels, Tigers and Dragons at a disadvantage.
I can see the Dragons and Broncos finishing on equal points, however the Dragons would have to turn around a 130 points differential to jump ahead of their northern neighbours.
This is how I see it finishing:
Let us know if you agree, and if not, who you see making the eight.
The owner of Monstasport, Daniel Nichols is one of the most prolific featured guest writers on League Freak's web site.