Desperate times call for desperate measures and that is exactly what we saw from a number of sides this week.
North Queensland, Manly and Stgeorge Illawarra all won pulsating contests to keep their season alive heading into the final round of the NRL premiership.
In other news, Melbourne showed why they are the team to beat this season when racking up 64 points against Souths on Saturday night while the Sharks are looking as though they will have to create even more history if they want to go back-to-back.
In the last game of Round 25, Stgeorge Illawarra knew they needed to win if they had any hope of finishing in the top eight after wins by the Cowboys (Friday) and Manly put those teams four points in front of the Dragons. The latter saluted in Golden Point over the Warriors just minutes prior to the Dragons v Panthers kick-off.
Although their form has been disappointing of late the Red V produced one of their best efforts of 2017 to sit in ninth spot with one game remaining. North Queensland and Manly have been in a similar boat to the Dragons in recent weeks and although trailing at various stages of their matches, produced the goods when needed.
Just who will make the eight now?
Penrith, North Queensland and Manly occupy sixth through to eighth spot on 30 points but the Dragons are just one win behind and have a superior points differential to all three.
Adding to the intrigue in the final round is that Manly host Penrith so one of those will lose, unless it’s a draw, which opens up the possibility of the Dragons leapfrogging one of them into the eight if they beat the Bulldogs.
Betfair have the Dragons @ $1.35 to make the Top 8 while you can get a similar price about the Cowboys @ Luxbet. Manly are $1.35 to play finals footy while the Panthers are short @ $1.12 (Luxbet).
The Titans binned coach Neil Henry earlier in the week so we were expecting them to come out firing, especially since it was their final home game of the season and they were playing a Bulldogs side that has generally been low on confidence.
What they produced was reserve grade standard!
They trailed the Bulldogs 20-nil at the break and didn’t look like stringing a set of six together. Jarryd Hayne, very much at the centre of the Henry sacking, had little to no impact on the match and performed like a player that was on $120,000 a season – not $1.2million.
They are out of the finals race and only have next season to look forward but even at this stage we can’t see them making the top eight in 2018.
The Blue and Golds were given little chance of stopping a rampaging Broncos outfit on Thursday night but they blew them off the park early on and went on to register a 52-34 win.
Centrebet has them @ $17 to win the Grand Final and with the Eels likely to finish in the top four they could represent tremendous value at the price, especially if they beat Melbourne in Week 1 of the finals.
First thing’s first – they need to justify their $1.24 favouritism (@ William Hill) against the Bunnies on Friday night.