Looking at the run homes of the teams in contention for 8th position and our chances are not be as bad as it feels like despite being 4 behind the Broncos.
Here are the run homes of the three sides. Ours is the best of them despite running into Souths twice and the Dragons again.
Broncos - Panthers (h), Sharks (h), Dogs (a), Cowboys (a), Bunnies (h), Roosters (a), Sea Eagles (h)
Raiders - Sharks (a), Storm (a), Panthers (a), Tigers (h), Roosters (h), Bunnies (h), Warriors (a)
Tigers - Bunnies (h), Dogs (a), Knights (a), Raiders (a), Dragons (h), Sea Eagles (h), Bunnies (h)
There is only one game between the three sides and that’s in Canberra in a month, us vs. our bogey side. This is likely to be a crucial game for us, but the Raiders are basically on a hiding to nothing with this run home. That game is the only one that even looks winnable. The Raiders are zero chance of making the finals with that run home.
The Broncos face a slightly easier run home with games against the Dogs, Cowboys and Manly along with three top 8 teams all at Suncorp. The Broncos realistically only need to win 4 games to guarantee a finals spot, 3 might get them in if we can’t go on a tear. Their points differential is sub par and it’s feasible if we go on a run and they split wins and losses or worth our P/D can end up better than theirs (presuming Canberra don’t put 50 on us again).
In my opinion, the fate is square in our hands. We have a good history against the Bunnies and we play them twice. I know they are a strong team this year but they don’t play a style that generally troubles us and historically we do well against them even if they are going good. We also have risen against the best sides this season, with two wins over the Storm, one over the Roosters and one over the Dragons. Our record against the top 4 is incredible. It’s winnable games we lose. The That said the Dogs and Manly are teams that we tend to do well against even with this dumb lose winnable games mentality and I can’t see either troubling us. The Knights game is a worry as they will have Ponga and Pearce in the side and at home this will be a game we MUST turn up for.
I expect that by the time we go to Canberra, they will be out of contention. I can’t see them winning any of their next three games. There is also an interesting stat to look out for. While we have been humbled by Canberra lately, Benji Marshall has actually only lost against Canberra one time in a Wests Tigers jersey from 13 starts, back in 2012. If he is in the side, which bogey will be at play? Make sure that we’re putting that out there into the universe that week please. :roll
If we can win 5 of these 7 games we will probably make the 8, particularly if we can rectify our points differential. There is a chance we can miss out on 28 points on PD if the Broncos string some good perfomances together in their tough run home. We can’t afford to lose to the Dogs, Knights or Sea Eagles and as long as we can win 2 of the rest I have us scraping in at 8th position. It’s possible that the Broncos also lose quite a few games and the 8th position ends up requiring a lower finishing position to get in.
I actually think we will make it based on the types of teams we are playing. The playing styles of all these teams bar Canberra favour us and with them out of contention and no Wighton or Croker in the side (and the Marshall curse) that one could be a big turnaround for us too.