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Thirteen. That’s the magic number of wins a team will likely need if they want to play finals footy in the NRL this season.
It’s a damning figure for one-time premiership favourites the Roosters, who will need to win six of their remaining 10 games to hit that figure, along with last year’s grand finalists Parramatta, who need another five wins to make that total.
Twenty-six points from the 13 wins, plus the six ‘free’ points from the three byes, for a total of 32 with a good differential should see a team into the top eight by the end of round 27, according to Champion Data. Every team will be two points to the good this year relative to previous seasons due to the third bye.
It’s an uphill battle for the Roosters, who have had the worst attack in the competition, scoring 228 points this season, the worst return of any team. They also face five of the current top eight teams in their run home to the finals.
On average, the Roosters have scored 16 points a game this year, a figure which drops to 14 when they come up against a top eight outfit. The Panthers are their kryptonite – they haven’t won a game against Penrith since round 24 in 2019.
But the Roosters do have one advantage heading into the final 11 weeks of the regular season: they won their last meeting against every team they play in their run home, except for the Raiders and the Dolphins.
They’ll also get some of their big name players back. Brandon Smith returns in round 19 from a thumb injury, Victor Radley is back from suspension against the Raiders this week, and Luke Keary luckily escaped a broken jaw against the Knights last week.
Last year’s grand finalists Parramatta have a similar run home to the Roosters. After winning their past four games, the Eels have surged into the top eight, and would be sitting fifth on the ladder if you exclude points from the byes.
Brad Arthur’s side need to win five of their next nine games, which include matches against the Storm, Broncos and Panthers, but they still have two byes to come, meaning they can rest key players and Origin stars.
It’s a mixed bag for the Sea Eagles toward the end of the season, but it’s made even harder by the loss of Tom Trbojevic who suffered a pectoral injury in Origin II. The Northern Beaches club have only won six games this season, and will need to find some consistency to win seven of their final 10.
It’s a difficult task for Manly, who play the Roosters twice in the next seven weeks, meaning it’s unlikely both teams will be able to make the top eight.
At the top of the ladder, the Broncos are sitting in prime position, with 11 wins in the bank and two byes to come in the final 11 weeks of the season.
South Sydney also get a favourable run, after doing the hard yards early and recording nine wins for the year so far.
Despite injuries to Latrell Mitchell and Jai Arrow, the Rabbitohs only need four more wins to hit 13, and get to face six teams in the bottom end of the ladder in their final nine games.
The team that has the hardest run home is the Titans. Sitting in the middle of the field, with just six wins, the Gold Coast club play seven top eight teams in the final 11 weeks, and are also the first team to have already had all three of their byes.
With key players David Fifita and skipper Tino Fa’asuamaleaui lost to Origin, and the club letting coach Justin Holbrook go for the remainder of the season, the Titans are up against it.
For the Bulldogs, Dragons and Wests Tigers, the figure indicates the teams will finish another season at the wrong end of the ladder.
With Ben Hunt’s contract drama tainting an already-struggling Dragons, they are unlikely to win nine of their final 10 games, and the Tigers would have to win every game for the rest of the season to hit 13 victories.
Data does not include results from round 17
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