The Roosters will shockingly miss out on the top 8 as Premiership favorites once the season starts, Fox Sports Lab says.
The top six spots are all but certain, five sides are battling for the bottom two spots in the post-season and another five clubs are desperate to avoid the wooden spoon.
The Panthers have all but secured the minor premiership while the Mystery Package Cowboys are locked in a battle with the Storm for second place.
The Eels are tipped to edge out the Sharks and Broncos to complete the top 4 — and earn a crucial double chance in the Finals.
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The Fox Sports Labhas predicted the end of this season for each club based on current form, head-to-head records and their past performances at the host cities.
However, our statisticians have warned that things can change quickly – for example, if the Roosters upset the Panthers next week, their predicted ending would change significantly.
Read on below to see where your team is likely to end up!
FOX SPORTS LAB PREDICTED LADDER
1. Penrith Panther
The Panthers have completely dominated this season – losing just one game to the Eels in Round 9 – and are irresistible favorites to win the Minor Premiership.
Penrith still have a bye up their sleeve and have five games in their last nine games against top-eight sides including the Eels and Storm.
No team has ever won 20 games in three straight seasons — the Panthers need just six more wins to make history.
2. Melbourne Storm
Another season and another top two result awaits the powerhouse of legendary coach Craig Bellamy.
The Storm has a very manageable run into the finals, playing against the Warriors, Titans and three other teams from the bottom eight.
Melbourne have never lost a season under Craig Bellamy and since his time at the club they have won 78 more games than the next best team.
3. Cowboys from North Queensland
Nobody, and I mean nobody, saw this rise from Todd Payten’s side, who finished 15th last season.
The Cowboys have been sensational this season and are still in the hunt for second place with an easier draw than the Storm and bye yet to come.
North Queensland is on track for their best defensive season ever, conceding just 13.1 points per game.
4. Paramatta eels
The Eels have had a volatile campaign but are still expected to finish in the top four.
The problem with Parramatta is that they can’t motivate themselves against the Minnows, but they need to win duels against the Tigers, Warriors and Bulldogs to secure their double chance in the finals.
The Aale’s current dry spell (36 years) is longer than their wait for their very first title (34 years).
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5. Cronulla sharks
Rookie coach Craig Fitzgibbon is expected to narrowly miss leading his side into the top four in his first season at the helm.
The Sharks will take on the Storm, Cowboys and Panthers back-to-back over the next month in a period that will determine if they get a double shot at the Finals.
Cronulla has only finished third or better eight times in a season in their history – making four grand finals – and they currently sit just two points off the top three.
The former powerhouse is finally playing the final again after a tough spell that included the club’s first wooden spoon in 2020.
Kevin Walters did a terrific job of breathing new life into the Broncos, and they’re still in the hunt for a top four spot.
Brisbane have never missed the final in three consecutive seasons and thanks to Walters they should avoid that unwanted record this year.
7. South Sydney Rabbitohs
The 2021 Grand Finalists have endured a tumultuous season, fighting tooth and nail just to play the finals.
Our pick says the Bunnies will finish seventh, but it will likely come down to beating the Roosters in the last round – and the opening of the new Allianz Stadium.
The Souths have only missed the finals once, having reached a major finals the previous season – way back in 1966.
8. Male sea eagles
The Sea Eagles have lost some shockers this season and have struggled without injured superstar full-back Tom Trbojevic.
But they have one of the easiest home runs, meeting only four top-eight teams in the remaining nine games.
Despite this, Des Hasler looks set to become the first Manly manager not to make it to a grand final in four years at the helm.
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9. St George Illawarra Kite
Close, but no cigar. Anthony Griffin’s men are considered this season’s bridesmaids, but they’re still set to finish better than most pundits predicted over the summer.
Three more wins will see the Dragons avoid single-digit wins in four straight seasons for the first time since the 1930s.
10. Sydney Roosters
The preseason premiership fantasy just won’t get off the ground in 2022 as halves Sam Walker and Luke Keary never find a consistent groove before the latter goes down injured.
The Roosters have only reached the Finals once in the last 20 years, when they lost four straight games in one season – they’ve lost their last three games and next meet the Panthers.
11. Canberra Raiders
Ricky Stuart’s cards were marked the moment his esteemed recruit and halfback Jamal Fogarty fell to the ground with a serious knee injury on the eve of the season.
That and their talent for losing games should they win. Since entering the competition, no team has scored more double-digit leads than Canberra, totaling 62 from 1007 games.
12. Newcastle Knight
The Knights are aiming for a third-place finish in the finals for the first time since 2003, but for a club that have lost nine of their last 11 games that’s not such a bad result.
They have the easiest run home in the competition, coming up against the Titans twice and having winnable games against the Wests Tigers and Bulldogs.
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13. Canterbury Bulldogs
The Bulldogs were anchored at the bottom of the ladder as wooden spoon favorites for most of the first half of the season, but their recent resurgence lifted them off the canvas.
The Bulldogs have more points in their last five games than they have in their first ten this season.
14. West’s Tigers
The Michael Maguire saga finally ended with the club letting him go this month, but that won’t stop their descent down the ladder. They finished 9th, 11th and 13th in Maguire’s first three seasons.
Here’s a shocking stat for Tigers fans – the club haven’t won three games in a row in 100 games.
15. Titans of the Gold Coast
A team that was just one pass away from the second week of finals last year has completely surrendered in 2022.
It follows a trend in their club’s history – the Titans finished the season in 16th and 15th place after their last two Finals appearances.
The Warriors – one of three teams to fire their coach within 12 rounds – are due to finish last after being away for nearly three seasons due to Covid.
The Kiwi side should possibly own the Faiders crown, having bombed 56 double-digit leads from just 670 games.
EVERY TEAM RUN HOME
PANTHERS: Roostersm Bye, Tigers, Sharks, Eels, Hunters, Storm, Rabbitohs, Warriors, Cowboys.
STORM: Sea eagles, sharks, predators, rabbitohs, warriors, titans, panthers, broncos, roosters, eels.
COWBOYS: Broncos, bye, sharks, tigers, dragons, bulldogs, roosters, warriors, rabbitohs, panthers.
EELS: Rabbitohs, Tigers, Warriors, Broncos, Panthers, Sea Eagles, Rabbitohs, Bulldogs, Broncos, Storm.
SHARK: Bulldogs, Storm, Cowboys, Panthers, Rabbitohs, Dragons, Tigers, Sea Eagles, Bulldogs, Knights.
Broncos: Cowboys, Dragons, Titans, Eels, Tigers, Roosters, Knights, Storm, Eels, Dragons.
RABBITS: Eels, Knights, Bulldogs, Storm, Sharks, Warriors, Eels, Panthers, Cowboys, Roosters.
SEAL EAGLE: Storm, bye, knights, dragons, roosters, eels, titans, sharks, hunters, bulldogs.
DRAGONS: Raiders, Broncos, Roosters, Sea Eagles, Cowboys, Sharks, Raiders, Titans, Tigers, Broncos.
COCKS: Panthers, Bye, Dragons, Knights, Sea Eagles, Broncos, Cowboys, Tigers, Storm, Rabbitohs.
Robber: Dragon, bye, storm, warrior, titan, panther, dragon, knight, sea eagle, tiger.
KNIGHT: Titans, Rabbitohs, Sea Eagles, Roosters, Bulldogs, Tigers, Broncos, Raiders, Titans, Sharks.
BULLDOGS: Sharks, bye, rabbitohs, titans, knights, cowboys, warriors, eels, sharks, sea eagles.
TIGER: Warriors, eels, panthers, cowboys, broncos, knights, sharks, roosters, dragons, robbers.
TITANS: Knights, bye, broncos, bulldogs, raiders, storm, sea eagles, dragons, knights, warriors.
WARRIOR: Tigers, Bye, Eels, Raiders, Storm, Rabbitohs, Bulldogs, Cowboys, Panthers Titans.
– with Aaron Wallace
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