Kevin Walters’ complete turnaround has the Broncos set to break their finals drought, while the Warriors will pick up the NRL’s most unwanted award.
The Roosters are set to shockingly miss the top eight after starting the season as premiership favourites, according to the Fox Sports Lab.
The top six spots are all but set as, five teams fight it out for the final two places in the postseason, and another five clubs are desperately trying to avoid the wooden spoon.
The Panthers have the minor premiership all but secured, while the surprise-packet Cowboys are locked in the a fight with the Storm for a second spot.
The Eels are tipped to edge out the Sharks and Broncos and complete the top four – earning a crucial double chance in finals.
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The Fox Sports Labhas predicted every club’s finish this season based on current form, head-to-head records, and their previous performances at venues.
However, our statisticians have warned things can change quickly – for example if the Roosters upset the Panthers next week then their forecast finish would change significantly.
Read on below to see where your team is expected to finish!
FOX SPORTS LAB PREDICTED LADDER
1. Penrith Panthers
The Panthers have completely dominated this season – dropping just one game against the Eels back in Round 9 – and are unbackable favorites to win the minor premiership.
Penrith still have a bye up their sleeve and have five games against top-eight sides in their final nine games, including the Eels and Storm.
No team has ever won 20 games three seasons in a row – the Panthers need just six more wins to create history.
Another season and another top-two finish beckons for the legendary coach Craig Bellamy’s powerhouse club.
The Storm have a very manageable run into finals with games against the Warriors, Titans and three more bottom-eight sides.
Melbourne has never had a losing season under Craig Bellamy and since his time at the club they have won 78 games more than the next best team.
3. North Queensland Cowboys
Nobody, and I mean nobody, saw this rise coming from Todd Payten’s side which finished 15th last season.
The Cowboys have been sensational this season and are still in the hunt for second place, with an easier draw than the Storm and the bye still to come.
North Queensland are on track for their best ever defensive season, allowing just 13.1 points per game.
4. Paramatta Eels
The Eels have endured an inconsistent campaign but they’re still expected to scrape into the top four.
The knock on Parramatta is they can’t get motivated against the minnows, but they’ll need to win clashes against the Tigers, Warriors and Bulldogs to ensure their double chance in finals.
The Eels current premiership drought (36 years) is longer than their wait for their first ever title (34 years).
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5. Cronulla Sharks
Rookie coach Craig Fitzgibbon is expected to only just miss out on guiding his side to a top-four berth in his first season at the helm.
The Sharks face the Storm, Cowboys and Panthers in succession over the next month in a period that will decide if they get a double chance finals.
Cronulla has finished a season in third or better just eight times in their history – making the grand finale on four occasions – and they are currently just two points outside the top three.
6. Brisbane Broncos
The former powerhouse are finally back playing finals after a tough period which included the club’s first wooden spoon in 2020.
Kevin Walters has done a brilliant job breathing new life into the Broncos and they’re still right in the hunt for a top-four spot.
Brisbane have never missed the finals in three consecutive seasons and thanks to Walters they should avoid that unwanted record this year.
7. South Sydney Rabbitohs
The 2021 grand finalists have endured a tumultuous season and they’re fighting tooth and nail just to play finals.
Our predictor has the Bunnies finishing seventh but it will likely come down to whether they can beat the Roosters in the final round – and the opening of the new Allianz Stadium.
Souths have missed the finals just eleven after making a grand final in the previous season – way back in 1966.
8. Manly Sea Eagles
The Sea Eagles have lost some shockers this season and struggled injured without superstar fullback Tom Trbojevic.
But they’ve got one of the easiest runs home and face just four top-eight sides in their remaining nine games.
Despite this, Des Hasler looks set to become the first Manly coach to fail to make a grand finale in a four-year stretch at the helm.
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9. St George Illawarra Dragons
Close, but no cigar. Anthony Griffin’s men are tipped to be this season’s bridesmaid but they’ll still finish higher than most pundits predicted in the summer.
Three more wins will see the Dragons avoid single figure wins in four consecutive seasons for the first time since the 1930s.
10. Sydney Roosters
The pre-season premiership fancies simply haven’t got going in 2022, with halves Sam Walker and Luke Keary never finding a consistent groove before the latter went down injured.
The Roosters have made the finals just once in the past 20 years when losing four games in a row in a season – they have lost their last three games and next face the Panthers.
Ricky Stuart’s cards were marked the moment his prized recruit and halfback Jamal Fogarty went down with a serious knee injury on the eve of the season.
That and their knack of losing games they should win. Since entering the competition no team has bombed more double figure leads than Canberra, with 62 in total from their 1007 games.
The Knights are chasing a third straight finals berth for the first time since 2003, but for a club that has lost nine of their past 11 games – this isn’t such a bad result.
They have the easiest run home in the competition, facing the Titans twice, and winnable games against the Wests Tigers and Bulldogs.
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13. Canterbury Bulldogs
The Bulldogs were anchored to the bottom of the ladder as the wooden spoon favorite for most of the first half of the season, but their recent resurrection has lifted them off the canvass.
The Bulldogs have scored more points in their past five games than they did in their first 10 this season.
14. West’s Tigers
The Michael Maguire saga finally ended with the club cutting him loose this month, but that won’t stop their slide down the ladder. They finished 9th, 11th and 13th during Maguire’s first three seasons.
Here’s a shocking statistic for Tigers fans – the club has not won three straight games for 100 games.
15. Gold Coast Titans
A team that was just one pass away from making the second week of the finals last year has completely capitulated in 2022.
It follows a trend in their club’s history – the Titans finished 16th and 15th the season after their past two final appearances.
The Warriors – one of three teams to sack their coach inside 12 rounds – are slated to finish last after spending almost three seasons on the road due to Covid.
The Kiwi side should possibly own the “faiders” crown, they have bombed 56 double figure leads from just 670 games.