Winning tips for ESPN's 2021 Rugby League Finals Challenge

2021 NRL finals series captains. Dan Peled/Getty Images

Welcome to ESPN Australia's finals contest for the 2021 NRL finals series: Rugby League Finals Challenge!

What is it? It's a free-to-play game, where you take a few minutes to answer a series of questions related to the upcoming NRL finals series, which starts on Friday Sept 10. You can play against your friends, family and coworkers, while also trying to climb the overall leaderboard for a chance to win a prize worth $1,000.

Make your picks

Listed below are the questions you'll need to answer in order to participate, and our NRL experts have teamed up to supply you some nuggets of info to help guide you through your decision-making process.

Good luck!

Who will win the 2021 Premiership?

Storm, Panthers, Rabbitohs, any other team.

ESPN: Surely the premiership winner will come from these three, although the Sea Eagles could provide some sharp competition and the Roosters are not without a chance. It is very hard to look past either the Storm or Panthers, as has been the case all season. Could the Storm's efforts to squeeze two hookers and two fullbacks into the squad upset their rhythm? Are the Panthers going to really benefit from being one season better than last year? I think so - Panthers.

Which of these players will score the most tries in the finals series?

Josh Addo-Carr, Alex Johnston, Tom Trbojevic, Brian To'o

All four players are set to play at least two games in the finals, but it seems likely at this stage that Addo-Carr and To'o will have the Grand Final to add to their tallies. It is hard to go past Mr. Hat-trick himself Tom Trbojevic and if the Sea Eagles can play three games I'd suggest it will come with a pile of Turbo four-pointers.

Will the Penrith Panthers reach the Grand Final?

Yes or No

ESPN: Considering I have them winning the lot, they will definitely have to reach the Grand Final first. That's a Yes.

Which of these teams will score the most points in the finals series?

Storm, Sea Eagles, Rabbitohs, Panthers

The Storm have set records this year for points scored. If they go all the way to the Grand Final I can see them notching up a big tally along the way.

Will any match in the finals go to extra time?

Yes or No

You could toss a coin on this one. Most games this season have been won decisively, but the finals do match the best against the best. Still I'm going to have a stab and say No.

Which round of the finals will the Eels be eliminated?

Week 1, Semi-final, Preliminary final, Grand Final

ESPN: I really haven't been impressed by the Eels, even considering their two victories this year over the Storm. If the Knights weren't looking so ordinary themselves, I would tip the Eels to be one and done. But, I think they will beat the Knights and their season will come to a close in the Semi-final next week.

Will any Top 4 team lose both of their first Finals?

Yes or No

ESPN: It is the worst outcome for any Top 4 team, the old straight-sets exit. It happens a fair bit because after putting so much effort into their Week 1 clash they go into a sudden death game feeling flat and facing a team full of confidence after their Week 1 victory. The added danger for either the Storm or Sea Eagles is that they will likely face the Roosters in that second game. So I'm going with Yes.

Which of these teams will record the highest single game score in Finals?

Gold Coast Titans

Sydney Roosters

Newcastle Knights

Parramatta Eels

ESPN: I'm going to have to go with the best team of the four, which I believe is clearly the Roosters

Storm v. Sea Eagles: Which player will score first?

Ryan Papenhuyzen

Tom Trbojevic

ESPN: It seems likely that these two will both cross the chalk at some point in the game. They do both play for teams that share the tries around, but Tom Trbojevic is very much the focus of the Manly attack, so I'll go with him to score first.

Panthers v. Rabbitohs Which player will score the most points?

Nathan Cleary

Adam Reynolds

ESPN: These two are both brilliant goal kickers and rarely miss. I'll go with Nathan Cleary because I think the Panthers will win and score more tries in doing so.

Finals Week 1: How many "home" teams will lose?

One or none.




ESPN: So the "home" teams are Storm, Panthers, Roosters and Eels. I really can't see any of them losing in Week 1, although I have tipped a possible Sea Eagles upset over the Storm, so it's One or none.

Will there be a sin-bin or a two point field goal in the Grand Final?



ESPN: Generally speaking they try to referee the Grand Final a bit like a State of Origin, letting the teams decided the winner. I certainly hope neither team is left short-handed by an overly officious whistle-blower. As for the two-point field goal, that unicorn of a play will not be seen for the rest of the year. I'm going with No.

Who will win and by what margin?

Storm 1 - 12

Storm 12 or more

Sea Eagles 1 -12

Sea Eagles 12 or more

ESPN: If I knew the answer to this, it would be anchoring my multis for the weekend. This should be a Storm 1-12 victory on form. Both teams are such high scoring units, one could easily get away from the other. Elsewhere I am quietly tipping a Sea Eagles 1-12 victory.

Who will win and by what margin?

Panthers 1 -12

Panthers 12 or more

Rabbitohs 1- 12

Rabbitohs 12 or more

ESPN: As much as I'd like to see a tight contest here, I really think the Panthers will dominate and run away with it in the second half. Panthers 12 or more.

Who will win and by what margin?

Roosters 1 -12

Roosters 12 or more

Titans 1 - 12

Titans 12 or more

ESPN: I can't see the Titans coming near the Roosters in this one. Roosters by 12 or more.

Who will win and by what margin?

Eels 1 -12

Eels 12 or more

Knights 1 - 12

Knights 12 or more

ESPN: This could go either way, but I think the Eels will have too much class. Eels 12 or more.

Over/Under 1.5 hat-tricks by Tom Trbojevic?

Over or under

ESPN: As freakish as Tommy Turbo is, this is the finals and he'll be up against some quality defences. Definitely under.