Predicting the top four: NRL.com experts have their say

Predicting the top four: NRL.com experts have their say

With six rounds remaining before the NRL finals, the all-important battle for spots in the top four is heating up.

The experts at NRL.com have had their say on who will enter the finals with a double chance.

Margie McDonald (NRL.com senior reporter)
1. Rabbitohs
2. Storm
3. Roosters
4. Sharks
Halfbacks win grand finals and Adam Reynolds is the halfback with the best kicking game left in the top eight. He is also a competent goalkicker for those sideline conversions in tight matches, AND his work with Damien Cook can be devastating for defences. The Dragons forwards are starting to show signs of being worn out; Ben Hunt is appears to be in a state of flux; and opposition teams have worked out most of the Dragons plays.

Paul Suttor (NRL.com editor)
1.
Roosters
2. Dragons
3. Storm
4. Sharks
The Roosters still haven't hit their straps and that should scare the other contenders, Souths look like they've peaked already while the Sharks can surge into the top four with a decent schedule to finish the season as long as they win in Brisbane on Thursday.

Peter Jolly (NRL.com reporter)
1. Melbourne
2. Roosters
3. Dragons
4. Souths
Melbourne hit their straps at this time of the year and know how to close out the premiership rounds. Roosters will look to finish their season off in a major way with the expertise of Cooper Cronk. Consistency has been a major factor in 2018 for the Dragons and South Sydney will continue to test a number of teams along the way if their strong attacking flare.

Andrew Marmont (NRL.com reporter)
1. Storm
2. Roosters
3. Rabbitohs
4. Warriors
I see the Warriors making a late-season dash into the top four with a decent run home, while the Storm will take out the minor premiership. The Roosters are building at the right time and South Sydney can cash in with some big wins against the Eels, Tigers and Raiders.

David Piepers (Big League editor)
1. Dragons
2. Storm
3. Sharks
4. Roosters
If the Dragons can beat the Roosters this weekend, their run home gives them the potential for some big wins to boost their points differential. Melbourne may still have one more loss in them and face two fellow contenders. The Sharks will be the big movers, but don't write off the Roosters - their Round 24 clash with Brisbane will likely determine who gets fourth spot.

Mary Konstantopoulos (Ladies Who League)
1. Storm
2. Dragons
3. Rabbitohs
4. Sharks
The Storm sit at the top of the ladder and I don't see them relinquishing this spot, especially with the likes of Cameron Smith and Billy Slater leading them towards the finals. The Bunnies peaked early, but I still think they are the team to beat heading into September. As for the Dragons, their early wins on the board will help them seal second spot. The Sharks will just beat the Roosters out for fourth.

Katie Brown (NRL.com reporter)
1. Storm
2. Rabbitohs
3. Dragons
4. Roosters
I tipped Storm to go back-to-back in February and right now they are ticking all the boxes and should continue that in the run home. South Sydney's great record over the last 10 weeks should continue and the Dragons seem set to avoid another late-season fall from grace. Then there are the Roosters - they are still to hit their straps but things are heading in the right direction.

Hayley Byrnes (NRL.com reporter)
1. Storm
2. Dragons
3. Souths
4. Panthers
The Storm know how to win, it's in the club's DNA. Even with the different halves combinations they've used throughout the year, Cam Munster has fired and I have no doubt Billy Slater and Cam Smith will step up to the next level come finals time.

Dan Walsh (NRL.com reporter)
1. Storm
2. Sharks
3. Dragons
4. Roosters
In a tight competition, injuries are the circuit breaker, and the Storm's near-full-strength squad coupled with Cam Smith's Origin retirement has them in the box seat for another minor premiership. Cronulla also have their big names coming back and only two games against fellow top-eight sides (Melbourne and Brisbane) while the casualties are starting to pile up for the Broncos and Panthers.

Tanisha Stanton (NRL.com reporter)
1. Rabbitohs
2. Storm
3. Dragons
4. Roosters
In recent weeks all four of these sides have shown glimpses of deserving the premiership status. Last years' premiers in the Melbourne Storm will be up there yet again but it's the Bunnies who look most promising despite their loss to the Wests Tigers on Saturday night - their development over the season and the strength they have right across the park proves that there is still more magic to come from them.

Brad Walter (NRL.com senior reporter)
1. Storm
2. Dragons
3. Roosters
4. Rabbitohs
It's no coincidence the Storm have snuck into top place after going through the State of Origin period unbeaten for the first time. With a fresh Cameron Smith and their six Origin representatives back on deck the 2017 premiers are primed to become the first team to win back to back NRL grand finals.

Neil Cadigan (NRL.com reporter)
1. Storm
2. Dragons
3. Sharks
4. Roosters
I think the Rabbitohs will drop out of the top four due to losses to Melbourne, Sydney Roosters and the Broncos at Suncorp, allowing for the Sharks and Roosters to slip past them. Melbourne have the sweetest draw and are building, they will be minor premiers.

Chris Kennedy (NRL.com reporter)
1. Storm
2. Roosters
3. Rabbitohs
4. Dragons
The Storm should win at least four and possibly all six of their remaining games to hold on for the minor premiership. The Roosters are hitting form at the right time and should win most of their remaining games. I'm tipping South Sydney to steady the ship after last week's loss while the Dragons have a friendly enough draw that they won't fall off a cliff this year.

Dylan Morris (NRL.com reporter)
1. Storm
2. Roosters
3. Dragons
4. Rabbitohs
With the top three on equal points, the Storm are simply the least likely team to lose when they should win. The Roosters will only get better as the draw towards the end of the season, jumping the Rabbitohs and the Dragons.

Jamie Soward (Former Blues five-eighth)
1. Storm
2. Roosters
3. Sharks
4. Rabbitohs
The Storm are too experienced to miss out on this opportunity to nab another minor premiership, they will grind their way to top spot without any complacency down the stretch of the closing rounds of the regular season. Watch out for the Sharks rising, I'm on their bandwagon.

Alicia Newton (NRL.com reporter)
1. Storm
2. Roosters
3. Dragons
4. Rabbitohs
I can't see the current top four changing around too much with strong differentials set to matter on a tight ladder. St George Illawarra have the best run home of the lot but I'm tipping the Roosters to give Melbourne a minor premiership run for their money.

Steve Renouf (Broncos legend)
1. Storm
2. Dragons
3. Rabbitohs
4. Roosters
The top four on the NRL ladder as it stands is how I see it finishing at the end of 25 rounds with the Melbourne Storm set to take out the minor premiership and win back-to-back titles. I base my predictions on how the top four sides are playing rather than who they play in the final six rounds. At the start of the year I predicted the Storm wouldbe premiers and with Cameron Smith there, combined with the typical Melbourne footy they are playing, there is no reason to change my mind.

Michael Chammas (NRL.com chief reporter)
1. Storm
2. Rabbitohs
3. Dragons
4. Sharks
The Storm have got through the Origin period unscathed and are in the best position of any club the past couple of decades to go back-to-back. The Cronulla Sharks are the dark horse of the competition. They are building momentum and with all the big-game experience at their disposal, will be hard to beat in the pressure-cooker environment.

Joel Gould (NRL.com reporter)
1. Storm
2. Dragons
3. Souths
4. Broncos
Melbourne have their sights set on going back-to-back and are fit and healthy at the right end of the season with Cameron Smith in red-hot form. The Storm will retain their top placing on the ladder and the only change to the top four as it stands will come from a Broncos side. With halves Anthony Milford and Kodi Nikorima clicking, and a pack led by a rampant Tevita Pangai jnr, I see them doing some damage at the back end of the season.

Scott Hazlewood (NRL.com reporter)
1. Storm
2. Dragons
3. Rabbitohs
4. Sharks
The Storm for once have come through the Origin period unscathed and have found their next generation of stars along the way. The Dragons have bounced back and should finish second with their last four games against sides outside the top eight. Souths are now a legitimate premiership contender and will earn a home final while the Sharks softer run towards round 25 could see them steal fourth place.

Zac Bailey (NRL.com reporter)
1. Storm
2. Rabbitohs
3. Roosters
4. Dragons
The Storm appear to have everything in place to finish as minor premiers, albeit they not the side they were last year. South Sydney have shown enough in the last 10 weeks to suggest more wins are on the way while the Roosters are quickly turning promise into production.