Clearly this blog is in the "going off too early" category, but does anyone else feel that the 8 is in effect, if not in fact, already decided ?
I get that there is still 16 rounds to play, but is there a real contender to make the 8 that is not currently in the 8, and if so, who are the teams to fall out ?
The obvious answers to the 1st question are the Broncos & Rabbitohs, but I have real doubts about both teams.
The Broncos will still beat up on bad teams at home, but the problem is that they don't play that many bad teams. They have the Titans twice & the Dragons, Bulldogs & Warriors, but that's about it. Even if they win all 5 of those games that only gives them 7. Maybe they beat the Tigers & Bunnies, that's 9. I still don't think that's enough. They also already have a terrible for and against.
The Bunnies are better than the Broncos, but less talented, but are they better than any team currently in the 8 ? The Cowboys ? Maybe. The Knights or Panthers ? Not on what we've seen so far. Cody Walker will help their attack somewhat when he returns, but they still feel a couple of boss middles short of being a real threat and I still don't see Latrell as a legit fullback. Their draw is slightly easier than the Broncos, but only slightly. They have the Dogs twice, the Dragons, Titans & Warriors, but again that only gets them to 7 wins like the Broncos. They do play the Tigers twice which could go either way, but you'd suspect they'll split those games, that gets them to 8 wins, still not enough.
So, who are the candidates to slide ?
The Cowboys immediately come to mind, especially in light of how the Sharks towelled them up last night. Their draw isn't particularly friendly, with really only games against the Warriors, Titans & Dragons as expected wins, however they have a number of games that they could conceivably win if they are at their best, whilst only having 4 games against the presumptive top 4 of the Eels, Raiders, Roosters & Storm. When the Cowboys have been good this season thus far, they've looked very good. The round 14 fixture on Aug 15 against the Bunnies could be pivotal.
If there is going to be a change based on the first 4 rounds, the only real possibility I think is the Rabbitohs replacing the Cowboys, and I still favour the Cows.