Manly – 1st, 46pts: Warringah (A), Randwick (H), West Harbour (H), Gordon (A), Parramatta (A), Eastwood (H).
After flying under the radar for most of the season, Manly are suddenly leading the competition. Following a tough trip north to face the Rats in this weekend’s derby, Manly have one of the better runs home. A win over Warringah or Eastwood in round 18 should be enough to secure a top three finish.
Sydney University – 2nd, 46pts: Eastern Suburbs (H), Parramatta (A), Bye, Southern Districts (A), Randwick (A), Gordon (H).
The Students have lost three of their last four matches but still sit second after a strong start to the year. They face an in form Easts outfit on Friday night and travel to play the Rebels in round 16, but have a fairly comfortable run outside of that. Presuming they win their other matches, a win over Easts or Souths should also be enough to secure a home semi final in week one.
Warringah – 3rd, 43pts: Manly (H), Gordon (A), Randwick (A), Eastwood (H), West Harbour (H), Southern Districts (A).
After five straight wins, Warringah are now third but face a tricky few weeks ahead of the finals. They host Manly in a match that could go either way on Saturday, then finish the year with clashes against Eastwood, West Harbour and Souths. Three or four wins should be enough to secure a spot in the playoffs, but their are no guarantees for the defending premiers.
Northern Suburbs – 4th, 42pts: Gordon (H), Bye, Southern Districts (H), West Harbour (A), Eastern Suburbs (A), Randwick (H).
Like Sydney Uni, Norths have also lost three of their last four matches. They should beat Gordon this week then have a bye to prepare for a tough run against Souths, Wests, Easts and Randwick. Two wins from their final four matches should earn them a place in the playoffs, but they’ll face four desperate sides in the final month of the season.
Eastwood – 5th, 42pts: Parramatta (H), West Harbour (A), Gordon (H), Warringah (A), Bye, Manly (A).
If Eastwood go on to win the competition this year, they’ll look back on Saturday’s win over Norths with great regard. The Woodies play three sides below them on the ladder in the next three weeks, before finishing the regular season with tough clashes against Warringah and Manly on either side of a timely bye. Their round 14 clash against West Harbour will be crucial.
Eastern Suburbs – 6th, 41pts: Sydney Uni (A), Southern Districts (H), Parramatta (A), Randwick (H), Northern Suburbs (H), Bye.
Easts recorded an important come from behind win against West Harbour on Saturday but still have plenty of work ahead of them if they are to break their finals drought. Sydney Uni and Souths won’t be easy and derbies against Randwick are always tight. The Beasties round 17 clash against Norths will be important for both sides, before a final round bye.
Southern Districts – 7th, 37pts: West Harbour (H), Eastern Suburbs (A), Northern Suburbs (A), Sydney Uni (H), Gordon (A), Warringah (H).
After a slow start to the year, Souths have won five of their last six matches and revived their finals chances. They face one of the toughest ends to the season of any side, but know how to string wins together at the back end of the year. Considering the Rebels will most likely need to win five of their final six matches, Saturday’s clash against West Harbour is a must win.
West Harbour – 8th, 35pts: Southern Districts (A), Eastwood (H), Manly (A), Northern Suburbs (H), Warringah (A), Parramatta (H).
Like Souths, West Harbour have their work cut out for them if they want to play finals footy this year. However the Pirates also know how to build momentum, plus they now know they can beat any side in the competition on their best day. A win against Southern Districts might be the confidence boost they need to start a run towards the finals.
Randwick – 9th, 26pts: Bye, Manly (A), Warringah (H), Eastern Suburbs (A), Sydney Uni (H), Northern Suburbs (A).
Randwick are still a mathematical chance of making the finals, but it still seems fairly unlikely. In saying that, the Galloping Greens can still play a big part in the back end of the season and could spoil several sides finals aspirations in the coming weeks. Any side that doesn’t turn up against Randwick could be made to pay.
Parramatta and Gordon cannot make the finals.