NRC: Road to the 2017 finals & hypotheticals
With two rounds remaining, six teams remain in contention for a spot in the four team NRC finals series ensuring their is still plenty to play for in the upcoming fortnight.
Here’s how things may end up at the end of the regular season:
Canberra Vikings (25 points, 5 wins): Bye, Greater Sydney Rams (A); Max total: 30pts
The competition leaders claimed their third straight win on Sunday in devastating fashion, belting the Sydney Rays 71-14.
While the Vikings have the bye this week, victory over the seventh placed Rams in the final round should be enough to secure a top two finish and a home semi final in the opening week of the playoffs.
Queensland Country (24 pts, 5 wins): Fiji (A), Perth (H); Max total: 34pts
QLD Country took another step towards an inaugural NRC finals berth with a bonus point win over the Rams in Sydney on Saturday, but the young Queensland side has arguably the toughest final fortnight of the remaining sides.
After a trip to Fiji to face the Drua next weekend, QLD Country will host a Perth side playing for their season in the final round and will need at least one win to guarantee a finals berth. Two wins should see Country finish in the top two whereas two losses could see them miss the finals completely.
Fijian Drua (20pts, 4 wins): Queensland Country (H), Sydney Rays (H); Max total: 30pts
After a bye in round 7, Fiji still need to win their final two matches to guarantee a spot in the playoffs, however one win may be enough to scrape in.
Saturday’s blockbuster clash against QLD Country will tell us plenty about both sides, but you’d expect the Drua to secure their finals spot with a win against the Rays in the final round.
Brisbane City (18pts, 4 wins): Greater Sydney Rams (H), NSW Country (A); Max total: 28pts
After an inconsistent start to the season, Brisbane City find themselves in the top four after back to back wins and control their own fate heading into the final fortnight of the regular season.
On paper, City should be too good for the Rams in Brisbane this weekend, however a loss would open the door for both Perth and NSW Country to swoop in and steal a spot in the playoffs in the final round.
Perth Spirit (16pts, 3 wins): Sydney Rays (H), Queensland Country (A); Max total: 26pts
Things are a little more difficult for Perth after falling short against NSW Country in Tamworth, but the defending champions season is still far from over.
If Perth win their final two matches against the Rays and QLD Country, they’ll need Brisbane to lose one of their final two games or need Fiji to lose both of their final two fixtures. Bonus points will also help the equation.
NSW Country Eagles (13pts, 3 wins): Melbourne (A), Brisbane City (H); Max total: 23pts
NSW Country are down but not out after a gritty win over Perth in a rematch of last year’s decider.
The 2017 grand finalists need to win their final two matches against the Rising in Melbourne and Brisbane City in Orange and rely on either the Rams to beat Brisbane this week or QLD Country to beat Perth and/or the Rays to beat Fiji in the final round.
Like the Spirit, bonus points will also help the Eagles cause.
Greater Sydney Rams (9 points); Sydney Rays (5 points); Melbourne Rising (4 points)
The Rams, Rays and Rising are all playing for pride in the final two weeks but could do both Perth and NSW Country a massive favour by causing an upset or two in the final rounds.