NRL Round 26 Preview

It’s nearly NRL finals time and the logjam that is the top 8 will provide plenty of interest across the round. With six teams vying for the last two spots on the dance card, expect some sad, sorry, and highly intoxicated football teams come Monday morning.

Tonight the Bunnies head to Newcastle while the Panthers host the Broncos in a game that can seal Brisbane’s spot in the finals. Surely with a finals spot on the line the Broncos can end their six game losing streak. As for the Panthers, just getting through the game uninjured so they can get a three day head start on Mad Monday will be a victory of sorts. Newcastle on the other hand need to beat Souths by a cricket score and still have results go their way. That’s the reality of their mathematical chance of playing finals footy this year.

Saturday’s games throw up a bunch of similar scenarios. Again mathematically, the Titans can make it if they flog Premiership favorites Manly. Crunch those numbers and you get a big fat not fucking likely. As for the Tigers, reality has hit like a Greg Inglis shoulder charge to the face. They must beat the Storm to be any chance of slipping into the finals. It’s a big ask but Melbourne’s inconsistent back end to the season and Benji Marshall’s ability to single handedly win games when he feels like it points to a possible upset. The lowly placed Roosters are taking on the Bulldogs who will be pretty pissed about their shock loss to Canberra. That’s shaping up to be a shitty day in the office for the Bondi Latte Appreciation Society.

Finally to Sunday and the Raiders start their semi finals a week early against the Warriors in NZ. Win and they maintain their place in the 8. It’s a tricky prospect against the fickle Warriors but if they are worthy of more than just making up the numbers then they should win. The Sharks v Cowboys game will be huge. Both teams are certainties for the finals but are now jostling for a home final. Both teams have their own pressures with Cowboys ability to travel questioned and the Sharks taking the mantle of Cronulla’s only televised export after The Shire was dumped this week. Spewing!

Ironically the biggest crowd attendance and most media attention will center around two teams who won’t be featuring the finals with the Dragons and Eels bidding farewell to some modern day greats. I’m predicting a close game with the Eels sneaking home by an arse cheek.

If your betting syndicate is traveling as poorly as mine then maybe you should check these out.

Picture by Mark Nolan of Getty Images