NRL 2021 Top 8 finals predictor

The NRL season is rapidly heading towards the pointy end and there is a mad scramble for a place in the finals with the last two positions up for grabs. We take a look at what lies ahead for each club and which teams will finish where.

Melbourne Storm

Currently: 34 points, 1st

Differential: +438

Run home: Panthers, Sea Eagles, Raiders, Titans, Eels, Sharks

Predicted wins: 6

Predicted finish: 46 points, 1st

Verdict: It is impossible to see the Storm losing a single game at this stage. The Panthers without Nathan Cleary are ripe for the picking and the Sea Eagles, Eels and Sharks might put up a fight, but will succumb to the might of the men in purple.

Penrith Panthers

Currently: 34 points, 2nd

Differential: +332

Run home: Storm, Roosters, Dragons, Rabbitohs, Tigers, Eels

Predicted wins: 4

Predicted finish: 42 points, 2nd

Verdict: The Panthers have a really tough run home, facing four Top 4 contenders in their last six games. They really need Nathan Cleary back on the field for a good run into the finals. Injuries were always going to be the biggest threat to their hopes of playing in another Grand Final.

South Sydney Rabbitohs

Currently: 32 points, 3rd

Differential: +195

Run home: Dragons, Eels, Titans, Panthers, Roosters, Dragons

Predicted wins: 5

Predicted finish: 42 points, 3rd

Verdict: The Rabbitohs have been gifted two games against old rivals the Dragons who seem to have lost their way following the BBQ suspensions. They do still have three games against fellow Top 4 aspirants as well as the Titans who still hold out hope of playing finals football. The Bunnies appear to be finding form at the right time.

Parramatta Eels

Currently: 28 points, 4th

Differential: +217

Run home: Roosters, Panthers. Broncos, Dragons, Rabbitohs, Raiders

Predicted wins: 4

Predicted finish: 36 points, 4th

Verdict: The Eels have three big games against top teams in their run home and they will provide a real test of their chances this season. They won't want to relax too much against the Broncos, Dragons or Raiders either who will all be primed for an upset.

Sydney Roosters

Currently: 26 points, 5th

Differential: +118

Run home: Eels, Panthers, Broncos, Dragons, Rabbitohs, Raiders

Predicted wins: 4

Predicted finish: 34 points, 5th

Verdict: The Roosters have had a horror year with injuries and will limp into the finals with four very tough games and a couple against teams that could spring upsets against them. Regardless of who they put jerseys on, they always give their all for the cause and they should win more than they lose.

Manly Warringah Sea Eagles

Current position: 24 points, 6th

Differential: +151

Run home: Sharks, Storm, Eels, Raiders, Bulldogs, Cowboys

Predicted wins: 4

Predicted finish: 32 points, 6th

Verdict: The Sea Eagles need all their stars on the field as they charge towards the finals. At their very best they can match it with most teams in the competition and their hit-outs against the Eels and Storm will give them a true indication of how far they can expect to go once the big games roll around.

Cronulla Sutherland Sharks

Currently: 18 points, 7th

Differential: -40

Run home: Sea Eagles, Warriors, Knights, Tigers, Broncos, Storm

Predicted wins: 4

Predicted finish: 26 points, 7th

Verdict: The Sharks are hard to pin down, as they have wild form fluctuations week to week and even minute to minute during their games. They have a fairly cushy run home, and really should win their remaining games comfortably apart from clashes with the Sea Eagles and Storm. They should string together some wins between those games and nail down a finals berth.

St George Illawarra Dragons

Currently: 18 points, 8th

Differential -46

Run home: Rabbitohs, Raiders, Panthers, Roosters, Cowboys, Rabbitohs

Predicted wins: 1

Predicted finish: 20 points, 11th

Verdict: The Dragons look lost at the moment as they struggle to get their hearts and minds in the game following Paul Vaughan's BBQ. They really need to switch back on if they are to play finals this season, and they have a pretty tough run home. I can't see them hanging on.

Canberra Raiders

Currently: 18 points, 9th

Differential: -72

Run home: Knights, Dragons, Storm, Sea Eagles, Warriors, Roosters

Predicted wins: 3

Predicted finish: 24 points, 8th

Verdict: Ricky Stuart may have turned the Raiders around after a horror run through the middle of the season. They have a mixed run home with three top team clashes and three against struggling sides. I'm not sure they are ready to beat the teams above them just yet, but could easily be proved wrong.

Gold Coast Titans

Currently: 16 points, 10th

Differential: -52

Run home: Bulldogs, Cowboys, Rabbitohs, Storm, Knights, Warriors

Predicted wins: 3

Predicted finish: 22 points, 10th

Verdict: The Titans are so inconsistent, you're never quite sure how they'll go on the day. They have two really tough games and four that they could win if they put in their best performance. Split the difference and they may just miss out.

Newcastle Knights

Currently: 16 points, 11th

Differential: -157

Run home: Raiders, Broncos, Sharks, Bulldogs, Titans, Broncos

Predicted wins: 4

Predicted finish: 24 points, 9th

Verdict: The return of Mitchell Pearce and Kalyn Ponga was meant to be the turning point for the Knights and their finals hopes. It hasn't quite panned out that way and they sit just outside the eight, yet to string together a run convincing performances. They have every chance to charge into the Top 8 with a relatively easy run home, but they are just as likely to lose to some of these lesser teams.

Wests Tigers

Currently: 14 points, 12th

Differential: -150

Run home: Warriors, Bulldogs, Cowboys, Sharks, Panthers, Bulldogs

Predicted wins: 3

Predicted finish: 20 points, 12th

Verdict: It is a miracle that the Tigers have even made it onto this page, and its only their very cushy run home that gives them any hope of playing finals football. If they truly are a Top 8 team they should win four or five of these games, but they could just as easily lose the lot.

North Queensland Cowboys

Currently: 14 points, 13th

Differential: -207

Run home: Broncos, Titans, Tigers, Eels, Dragons, Sea Eagles

Predicted wins: 2

Predicted finish: 18 points, 13th

Verdict: The Cowboys have a mathematical chance of making it into the finals, but mathematics won't win games for them. If they can start this run with wins over the other two Queensland teams they might build enough momentum to make a late charge home