Call it simple maths or call it a miracle, the 12th placed Dragons are still a chance, however unlikely, to make the top eight.
In truth, it would be a combination of the two.
With only one round left in the regular season there are still 12 teams who are a chance of making the finals.
After a weekend of upsets and big scores, the NRL season is still alive and kicking.
This is the guide to how your team can still make finals football in a dramatic last round – no matter how improbable or far-fetched the scenario appears to be.
Time to dust off that old high school maths book you swore you would never need in ‘real-life’. If it involves your team, it might just come in handy this weekend.
When there is life, there is hope – even if it is just a fool’s hope.
CANBERRA RAIDERS 7th (-11 Points Difference)
The seventh-placed Raiders need only a win to secure their spot in the finals – a great achievement for the club who has been maligned and ridiculed for much of the season. A lot of credit has to go do David Furner and his staff for guiding the Green Machine into this position. While the doubters were out in force, Canberra have quietly gone about their business and picked up some big scalps along the way. Remarkably, with a win, the Raiders could finish as high as sixth and secure a home-finals berth. What an amazing turn-around that would be. Credit where it is deserved.
If they lose…
It could come down to points differential, they’ll need the Titans to win by less than nine points, Knights by less than 17 and Dragons by less than 43.
Simple equation for Raiders – win and nothing the chasing pack does will matter.
BRISBANE BRONCOS 8th (+27 Points Difference)
The Broncos can secure a finals berth with a win in Petero Civoniceva’s last game at Suncorp Stadium against the Panthers. The Brisbane side has been on a slippery slide down the ladder, losing six matches in a row to put their season on a knife's edge. A win will secure their place in the top eight.
If they lose…
They need Wests Tigers to lose.
After that, it will come down to points differential. They’ll need the Titans to win by less than 45, Knights by less than 55 and Dragons by less than 81.
WESTS TIGERS 9th (-25 Points Difference)
Simple equation: If the Wests Tigers win and Broncos lose, they are in.
If the Broncos win, the Wests Tigers need the Raiders to lose and mathematically they need a points differential turnaround of 15 points. For example – if the Raiders lose their match against the Warriors by seven points and the Wests Tigers win over the Storm by eight points, they’ll nudge out Canberra by a points difference of one!
GOLD COAST TITANS 10th (-20 Points Difference)
First and foremost – the Titans have to win. If they lose their season is over. Now for the maths… The Titans need the Wests Tigers and Broncos to lose. They then need to get a points differential swing of five points on the Wests Tigers and 47 points on the Broncos.
Realistically – the Titans need a massive win over the Sea Eagles and then need the Broncos to suffer a big loss to the Panthers. It doesn’t seem possible – but stranger things have happened.
NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS 11th (-28 Points Difference)
The Knights are in a similar position to the Titans, they have to win and need the Wests Tigers and Broncos to lose. They also need to improve their points differential over the Titans by eight points.
Similar to the Titans – the Knights need to win big and hope the teams above them lose by a convincing margin.
ST GEORGE ILLAWARRA DRAGONS 12th (-54 Points Difference)
Now here is the maths or miracle question. First of all, the Dragons need to win and win big. They then need the Broncos to suffer an embarrassing loss against the Panthers.
The points differential to the Broncos is 81, so they are a mathematical chance, but it looks very unlikely. They need the Broncos to lose by about 40 points and then the Dragons need to defeat the Eels on Sunday night by about the same margin.
They also need the chasing pack to lose to give themselves a chance.
It is highly unlikely bordering on ridiculous – but you just never know…