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Final eight's record against each other: Roosters struggle; Hope for Eels

It's been well documented that Cronulla have lost every game against top-eight opponents this year but they're not the only side which has struggled when facing the elite teams.

With one round left in the regular season and the top eight locked in, NRL.com Stats has crunched the numbers on every finals team's record against their playoff counterparts to see how each is placed.

The numbers are positive for the under-fire Eels but bring some concern for the Roosters in their push for a three-peat, as well as the Raiders and the other three sides in the bottom half of the finals zone.

Every finalists' top eight record

Panthers

Wins: Roosters, Storm, Souths, Sharks, Raiders, Sharks, Eels
Losses: Eels
Draw: Knights
Top 8 record: 7-1-1
Top 4 record: 3-1

The many threats of the Panthers' attack

Unsurprisingly, minor premiers Penrith shape up the best of any team given they have just one loss all season. That came against the fourth-placed Eels in a game they largely controlled other than one costly 10-minute burst.

A 90-minute draw against Newcastle was the only other time a team took premiership points away from a Panthers contest this year. With a convincing win in their recent Parramatta rematch, Ivan Cleary's men have been too good for everyone else all year.

Storm

Wins: Sharks, Souths, Knights, Roosters, Raiders, Knights, Roosters, Souths
Losses: Raiders, Panthers, Eels
Top 8: 8-3
Top 4: 2-2

Match Highlights: Storm v Wests Tigers

Melbourne have played more top eight games than any other finals team and they've done it well, besting dual premiers the Roosters twice and recording just three losses from 11 games.

Canberra got them convincingly in the first game back, while they also went down to Penrith while the Eels loss came with a huge number of senior players absent. They are two and two against fellow top four sides.

Match Highlights: Roosters v Sharks

Roosters

Wins: Souths, Eels, Raiders, Knights, Sharks
Losses: Panthers, Storm, Raiders, Storm
Top 8: 5-4
Top 4: 1-3

As good as they've been this year, the Roosters actually haven't got the best record against the other top teams.

They have a 1-3 losing record against the top four after going down twice to the Storm and have won fractionally better than half their games against top eight sides with losses also against the Panthers and Raiders. The highest-placed team they've beaten this year is the fourth-placed Eels.

Match Highlights: Eels v Broncos

Eels

Wins: Panthers, Raiders, Knights, Sharks, Storm
Losses: Roosters, Souths, Panthers
Top 8: 5-3
Top 4: 2-2

Have been written off by most after a lacklustre final third of the season but can still lay claim to a winning record against finals sides overall and an even two-and-two record against the three teams above them.

Yes the Storm were understrength in that game and the win over the Panthers came via a 10-minute burst in a game Penrith mostly had the better of but a win's a win.

Match Highlights: Raiders v Warriors

Raiders

Wins: Storm, Roosters, Souths
Losses: Knights, Eels, Storm, Panthers, Roosters
Top 8: 3-5
Top 4: 2-4

Have been very impressive particularly since losing inspirational hooker Josh Hodgson but record against other top teams is still a bit of a worry.

Produced two of the team performances of the year in beating the Storm in round three and Roosters in round 10 but have mostly struggled against the finals sides. It should be noted Canberra have had more games against top four sides than any other finals team with six, winning two of those.

Twin towers: Saifiti brothers driving Knights pack

Knights

Wins: Raiders, Souths, Sharks
Losses: Storm, Eels, Storm, Roosters
Draw: Panthers
Top 8: 3-1-4
Top 4: 0-1-4

The only team other than the Eels to take a point away from a Penrith game but nothing else to show from five games against the top four this year. Have won all three games against the other teams in the bottom half of the eight which should give them encouragement at least heading into the first week of the finals.

Rabbitohs v Roosters - Round 20

Rabbitohs

Wins: Sharks, Eels
Losses: Roosters, Storm, Panthers, Knights, Raiders, Storm
Top 8: 2-6
Top 4: 1-4

Other than their huge recent win over Parramatta it has been a very poor showing against the other top sides for Wayne Bennett's men. Were competitive against the Storm recently but other than those two games have shown few signs of lasting much past round 20.

Sharks

Wins: Nil
Losses: Souths, Storm, Panthers, Eels, Panthers, Knights, Roosters
Top 8: 0-7
Top 4: 0-4

Fifita sees silver lining playing from bench

Look away, Sharks fans. Have had fewer games against top sides than any other team in the competition but haven't won any of them.

Have a chance to belatedly get off the mark against a very understrength Canberra this weekend but that would do little to silence the doubters given their lack of spark against any of the finals teams this year.