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Best and worst scenarios for each team after round 17

Parramatta's tense win over the Warriors all but settled the top four and top eight for 2020, but the finals dream is still technically alive for three teams looking from the outside in.

The Wests Tigers' last-gasp Lottoland win keeping their own hopes flickering while confirming Manly's exit from this year's finals hunt, while any of the top seven can still finish in the top four and the Titans formally removed themselves from wooden spoon calculations.

In using the Ladder Predictor to work out the best- and worst-case scenario for each team, has applied a methodology of all games being decided by a 12-point margin.

This allows a streak of upsets to have a real effect on the ladder, but a ladder move requiring a differential swing of hundreds of points over the final three rounds has not been taken into account.

The scenarios for all 16 teams

Panthers (currently 1st, 31 points)

Best/worst case: 1st to 3rd

Did enough to beat the Broncos and have the minor premiership in their grasp, although they can still drop as low as third.

Storm (2nd, 28 points)

Best/worst case: 1st to 4th

Gritty win over the Rabbitohs formally confirmed their top-four finish. Can still finish first but would need Penrith to lose a couple of games.

Eels (3rd, 26 points)

Best/worst case: 1st to 7th

Their thrill-a-minute win over the Warriors was hardly convincing and it also didn't move the needle much for their best and worst case results, with anywhere from first to seventh still a chance.

Trent Robinson's analysis of SBW's return

Roosters (4th, 24 points)

Best/worst case: 2nd to 7th

Always in control of their heavyweight clash against the Raiders, although Penrith's win moved the minor premiership out of range for the Tricolours.

Raiders (5th, 22 points)

Best/worst case: 3rd to 8th

Plenty of toughness on show but failed to offer much threat against the back-to-back premiers with a top-two finish officially falling out of reach.

Knights (6th, 21 points)

Best/worst case: 3rd to 8th

Will officially play in the finals for the first time since 2013. Huge win over the Sharks got their season back on track and officially removed the chances of a late stumble tipping them out of the top eight.

Rabbitohs (7th, 20 points)

Best/worst case: 3rd-8th

Like Canberra, plenty of toughness but execution an issue against one of the heavyweights. First- and second-placed finishes moved beyond reach, but on the plus side, other results ensured they can no longer miss the finals.

Sharks (8th, 18 points)

Best/worst case: 5th to 11th

Horror loss to the Knights also cost them two key players to suspension and kept the three teams below them alive. They would have been relieved to see the Eels down the Warriors to keep them four points ahead of the chasing sides. Can no longer make the top four.

Match Highlights: Sea Eagles v Wests Tigers

Wests Tigers (9th, 14 points)

Best/worst case: 8th to 14th

Late comeback win over Manly keeps them in ninth and keeps their finals hopes flickering for another week. Tough draw from here and would need plenty of luck to make it.

Warriors (10th, 14 points)

Best/worst case: 8th to 14th

Showed plenty of spark against the Eels but needed to find the win with season now hanging by a thread. Can still make the finals but it's all over if they don't beat the Sharks next week.

Chanel Harris-Tavita's double against the Eels in all its glory

Dragons (11th, 12 points)

Best/worst case: 8th to 14th

Realistically they had to beat the Cowboys to keep their season alive but mathematically that extra-time loss wasn't quite the final nail in their 2020 coffin – they just need to win all three and have the Sharks lose all three (while neither the Tigers nor Warriors win more than two) to sneak into eighth.

Sea Eagles (12th, 12 points)

Best/worst case: 9th to 14th

Finals hopes are now gone on the back of a late collapse against the Wests Tigers. While they are level with the Dragons on ladder points, they are 124 differential points behind Cronulla so would need six straight results at more than 22 points per game to be a chance.

Match Highlights: Bulldogs v Titans

Titans (13th, 12 points)

Best/worst case: 9th to 14th

Ground out a win over last-placed Canterbury to officially rule themselves out of wooden spoon contention. Have drawn level with the Dragons and Sea Eagles on ladder points and could climb another spot or two next week if they beat Brisbane again.

Cowboys (14th, 8 points)

Best/worst case: 11th to 16th

Earned a morale-boosting golden-point win over the Dragons at home to move a big step further away from wooden spoon territory.

Broncos (15th, 6 points)

Best/worst case: 14th to 16th

Showed plenty of improvement in keeping things close for the better part of 80 minutes against the ladder-leaders but at the end of the day it was another loss that pegs their best possible finish from 11th last week down to 14th. Will drop to last if Canterbury win a game unless they can find another win of their own.

Bulldogs (16th, 4 points)

Best/worst case: 14th to 16th

Another heart-breaking week for the Bulldogs, with yet another big chance to win a game gone begging, this time against the Titans. A pec injury is also set to end Kieran Foran's Belmore career and they are running out of chances to avoid the wooden spoon.


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

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