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Experts' view: How many Queensland teams will make finals?

It's not looking good in the Sunshine State for their three teams in the race for the Telstra Premiership finals.

Not since 1991 when Brisbane finished one point outside the playoffs has there been a post-season series without at least one team from Queensland.

That record is under serious threat with the Cowboys slumping to 12th after three straight uninspiring defeats, the Broncos plummeting to 14th on the back of a four-game losing streak and Gold Coast propping up the bottom of the ladder with just one victory from six starts in 2020.

Experts view

Steve Renouf (Maroons legend)

Out of the three Queensland teams, I believe Brisbane are more likely to make the eight. The Titans unfortunately haven't shown enough for them to even get near the playoffs. The Cowboys have had a few changes to their spine which will take them a while to adjust.

Brisbane look more likely as they have a group of stars who haven't been performing anywhere near their capabilities. Once the Broncos click, that should be enough to get to to the eighth spot.

Jamie Soward (former Blues five-eighth)

I can see the Broncos going on a run later in the season but it will be too late for them after the start they've had. There will be no Queensland teams in the top eight.

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Chris Kennedy (NRL.com reporter)

Zero. We can probably mostly agree the rebuilding Titans aren’t in the finals frame while the Cowboys have two wins and four losses despite all six games coming against fellow bottom-eight sides.

Their draw is about to get a whole lot tougher with games against all four of the current top four in the next month – it would be a surprise if they won any of those on current form.

Brisbane have the roster to turn it around and their four straight losses have come against the top teams with a much easier draw in the month ahead. However they are so far off the pace right now a top eight spot looks unattainable.

Paul Suttor (NRL.com editor)

Broncos fans are at long last experiencing what every other fan base has gone through - the painful process of rebuilding. Their senior players are not delivering and their young guns are yet to prove whether they're as good as they've been made out to be, apart from Payne Haas and David Fifita, who they've missed big time during his injury absence. A roster reboot is needed. 

They won't make the finals, North Queensland have less of a chance and the Titans need an even bigger shake-up of their squad before they can even hope to do so next year.

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Zac Bailey (NRL.com reporter)

One. The Broncos – but they need to turn things around fast. Over the next month they face the Titans, Warriors, Bulldogs and Wests Tigers – all very winnable games.

Brisbane have been without key players – Jake Turpin, Kotoni Staggs, Tevita Pangai jnr and Alex Glenn – over the past month, but they’re missing David Fifita immensely. A settled line-up and Fifita’s return might just be enough to spark the Broncos into action and result in them scraping into the top eight … just!

Mary Konstantopoulos (Ladies Who League)

Unfortunately, no Queensland teams will make the finals. The Titans will be lucky to avoid the wooden spoon, the Cowboys have been extremely disappointing despite their roster and for all the talk of Brisbane's forwards, this is a team that has demonstrated they fold under pressure, lack leadership and struggle to score points. 

Troy Whittaker (NRL.com reporter)

Brisbane and North Queensland are certainly up against it, but it's too early to write them off when they have big guns still to return from injury. One of them will sneak into the eight. The Titans, hard as they might try, won’t be playing finals this season.

Martin Lenehan (NRL.com senior journalist)

The Broncos’ glory days are well and truly behind them but they still boast enough talent to fly the flag for Queensland come finals time.

They have a relatively easy run during the next month with games against the Titans, Warriors, Bulldogs and Tigers, and once Kotoni Staggs and David Fifita are back on board, they’ll have enough strike power to put some insipid recent form behind them and get on a roll.

Margie McDonald (NRL.com senior reporter)

The Cowboys will make it. Phil Gould once said you need six Origin players in your team to be a premiership contender. On my count the Cowboys have the half-dozen: Valentine Holmes, Justin O'Neill and Michael Morgan in the backs; Josh McGuire, Gavin Cooper and Coen Hess in the forwards.

And then you add Test players Jason Taumololo (Tonga), Jordan McLean (Australia), John Asiata (Tonga), Francis Molo (Cook Islands) and Esan Marsters (New Zealand). Yes, they are a frustrating side to follow but there's still 14 matches to go and they are only one win out of the eight.

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Kenny Scott (NRL.com Sunday Session podcaster)

Oh dear, dark times in the Sunshine State. Unfortunately, looking at the ladder, we might already have a top eight locked in.

The only hope for Queensland is that the Broncos can knock over the eight games they have left against bottom-eight teams and sneak in, otherwise it’s going to be a boring October for the those north of the Tweed.

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Joel Gould (NRL.com reporter)

None. The Titans don’t have the roster to be a top eight side just yet. The Cowboys are defensively poor and have a young spine still learning their craft.

The Broncos are playing like a team of strangers and are also too loose in defence to be a top-eight side. There are no signs that any of the three Queensland teams will improve in the next 14 rounds.

Tanisha Stanton (NRL.com reporter)

It's hard to see any Queensland-based teams in the finals this year. With the current form the Cowboys, Broncos and Titans are in, it’s most likely going to be a long season for Sunshine State fans.

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Brad Walter (NRL.com senior reporter)

After more than a decade of State of Origin dominance, there was always going to be a downturn for the game in Queensland and that time is now. Expectations of the Cowboys are based on past achievements, the Broncos are looking to the future and the Titans don’t have the depth of talent.

It’s still not too late for any team to make a run at the finals but none of the Queensland clubs give you confidence they will.

Alicia Newton (NRL.com reporter)

The Broncos have been most disappointing of the lot given their roster and in a shortened competition there’s less time to get things right. North Queensland’s schedule for the next six weeks is enough to give Cowboys fans nightmares. None of the three teams will qualify for the finals.

Lone Scout (NRL.com Fantasy guru)

At this stage it’s hard to see any teams in the bottom eight playing finals football. The top eight sides are all strong, the Tigers are sitting in their customary position of ninth and the rest of the league – including all Queensland sides – look a long way off competing with the big guns.

The Broncos have the talent to bounce back quickly next season but the Cowboys and Titans look in need of a rebuild.

 

The views in this article do not necessarily express the opinions of the NRL, ARL Commission, NRL clubs or state associations.