Cameron Smith celebrates Melbourne's 2017 premiership win.

Race for prizes goes down to the wire in NRL Fantasy

The Telstra Premiership may be tight this season and it's the same story in NRL Fantasy, with at least five teams in with a genuine shot at taking out the major prize by the end of the weekend.

After 24 rounds there's a 77-point gap between the first-placed Junior Mints and the second-placed RNGD Stars, and a 146-point gap between first and the fifth-placed Usual Suspects.

That's not a big gap in Fantasy. Last week a team that had Esan Marsters and Greg Inglis in the centres and Valentine Holmes at winger/fullback would have outscored a team boasting popular buys Latrell Mitchell, Euan Aitken and Roger Tuivasa-Sheck by 163 points.

The curiously named "qazwsx" sits in third place after dropping out of top spot in recent weeks, with Michael M's "Keeves Brain Snaps" also well in the running in fourth. There's a 300-point gap between first and 10th.

The club competitions are even tighter. In the Broncos comp Jack G's "Edrick Lees" is edging Ashley B's "RNGD A Team Has No Name" by just 28 points; for the Titans Alex G's "GhamSandwich" is holding off Jay T's "RNGD Clive Rose" by 25; in the Rabbitohs league Darron F leads Tony B by 11; in the Panthers race just four points separate Saul G's "Hypnotoad" and Jarrah K's "RNGD Yeah the Boyds"; while among Melbourne Storm fans only one solitary point splits Ray R's "phantom" and Mitch D's "Flange FCC".

That Penrith comp could literally be decided by a field goal, while a single error or missed tackle this week will decide who becomes the Storm's Fantasy champion.

The overall NRL Fantasy winner will pick up $10,000 plus a VIP trip for two to next year's State of Origin II in Perth, including flights, two nights accommodation, food and beverage vouchers and exclusive event activities at the game.

The next four runners up will also earn prizemoney, with $2000 for second place, $1500 for third, $1000 for fourth and $500 for fifth.

Each of the 16 club champions will win prize packages awarded by their favourite club. See full prize details here.

My team the Scouts is ranked 27th but probably long odds of a top 10 finish at the end of a season with plenty of good (and bad) trades. I'll run through the lessons learned in NRL Fantasy in 2018 next week, but until then good luck to the contenders in the overall race and the head-to-head grand finals this week.