NRL Through Round 14: Your Team's Chances Of Winning The Premiership

We've crossed the halfway point of the 2021 NRL season, so the Stats Insider Futures Model has crunched the numbers to give us an idea of what's to come from here.

Four teams are already locked into the Top 8 with another two teams slotted in at 90% or better to feature which leaves just two spots remaining. Presently, seven teams are sniffing around, while an eighth could yet become relevant before the end of the season.

Meanwhile, the battle to avoid the wooden spoon is closer than it was a month ago after the Broncos and Bulldogs both picked up a much-needed win each. 

With so much already set in stone, but with plenty more still to play for, let's take a look at where all 16 teams stand in the race for the premiership, Top 4, Top 8 and wooden spoon after 14 rounds.

RELATED: Check out Stats Insider's 'Team Of The Month' for May

BRISBANE BRONCOS

Premiership: 0.0%
Top 4: 0.0%
Top 8: 0.6%
Most Losses: 28.0%

The Brisbane Broncos are incapable of building on encouraging performances. Following their potentially season-changing win over the Roosters in Round 12, Kevin Walters' side has conceded an atrocious 43.3 points per game while losing three on the bounce.

With the Bulldogs beating the Dragons (to whom the Broncos conceded 52 points to a week earlier) in Round 14, the Broncos are now equal on competition points and points differential for 16th on the ladder.

Desperation really set in with the naming of Karmichael Hunt in the halves. It's the latest sign that the Broncos players and staff are out of ideas and have no path forward. Once considered to have the best young pack in the NRL, the Broncos are dead last in yardage at 1,517 running metres per game. It's there where the problem begins and also, where the solution lies.

Canberra Raiders

Premiership: 1.0%
Top 4: 0.1%
Top 8: 44.7%
Most Losses: 0.4%

It has been a rough ride for the Canberra Raiders since we last checked in on the Stats Insider Futures Model.

At a promising 54.8% to make the Top 8 after Round 9, the Raiders are down to 44.7% following back-to-back defeats to the Storm and Roosters. While their 38-16 win over the Broncos has put the 'Green Machine' back on track, it's not a victory that changes the form guide. 

Although, it was Canberra's best performance in a very long time. Bailey Simonsson has made the #1 jersey his own with an excellent debut at the back, while Josh Hodgson left his fingerprints all over the two competition points. He orchestrated the attack from dummy half and didn't appear to overplay his hand as Jack Wighton still saw enough of the ball to significantly impact the match.

It's a win that can act as a turning point for the Raiders. particularly with two winnable games against the Dragons and Titans to come over the next two rounds.

Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs

Premiership: 0.0%
Top 4: 0.0%
Top 8: 0.1%
Most Losses: 60.0%

Has the classic late-season Canterbury-Bulldogs resurgence started?

They dominated the Dragons from start to finish in their 28-6 Round 14 win. Jeremy Marshall-King provided some direction from behind the ruck and allowed the forward pack to win the battle through the centre-third comfortably. Behind the pack, Jake Averillo played his best first-grade game in the halves while Nick Meaney and Brandon Wakeham chimed in around him on attack. 

The Bulldogs are still heavy favourites to win the wooden spoon. One good win won't change that yet. However, they've displayed a lot more recently than the Broncos. With a slightly friendlier draw, an appealing finish to the season and their history of picking up wins in the latter rounds, the Bulldogs are a good chance at avoiding the wooden spoon once again.

Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks

Premiership: 0.3%
Top 4: 0.0%
Top 8: 33.3%
Most Losses: 1.1%

"Looking at the ladder as it stands, there is a good chance a below-average team cracks the eight this year. The Sharks can be that below-average side that earns the right to be thrashed by the Roosters or Sea Eagles in Week 1 of the Finals." - Shark In The Water: Why Cronulla Mightn't Be Done For Just Yet

The Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks have won a third on the bounce behind another encouraging performance to now be 9th on the NRL ladder. This new look spine - William Kennedy, Matt Moylan, Shaun Johnson and Blayke Brailey - is looking the goods behind a forward pack that's finally starting to get upfield. 

Struggling to start the season, improving health has been a significant factor in Cronulla's turnaround and will determine whether or not they complete an unlikely rise into the Top 8.

The Sharks face the third-easiest remaining schedule of all 16 teams. If they can continue to send their best 17 out onto the field, September footy isn't out of the question.

Gold Coast Titans

Premiership: 0.1%
Top 4: 0.0%
Top 8: 18.5%
Most Losses: 1.6%

The Gold Coast Titans are decidedly average on both sides of the ball.

They flew into the 2021 NRL season on the back of a lightning-fast hype train but face derailing from their path to finals football if they can't significantly improve in both attack and defence.

Don't be fooled by the Titans scoring 34 points against the Roosters in Round 14. They did so against a side that had put the cue in the rack when up 30-4. It's the 30-4 that needs to be considered most. Once again, the Titans defence let them down to be 13th in points conceded at 27.1 per game.

The 27 tries the Gold Coast have allowed through their left edge is the most down that side of the field of all 16 teams. When Justin Holbrook can get his team defending at a Top 8 level, they can then start working on how to score points themselves.

Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles

Premiership: 3.2%
Top 4: 6.3%
Top 8: 91.9%
Most Losses: 0.0%

Tom Trbojevic turned everything around for the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles. He lifted their chances of playing finals football from 20.1% to 55.3% in just four rounds. Now, Manly is all but locked into the Top 8 at 85.4%.

Most encouraging is their monster 50-18 win over the Cowboys WITHOUT Tom Trbojevic. The two tries conceded in the first seven minutes looked a little bit too similar to Manly's early-season form, but the 44 unanswered points that followed quickly wiped those bad memories away.

The Sea Eagles aren't quite up there with the Panthers, Storm, Rabbitohs and Eels just yet, but having Trbojevic on the field will always give them a chance. So too will the continued development of Josh Schuster, Haumole Olakau'atu and Jason Saab who have provided the Sea Eagles with an unexpected boost this season.

Six points currently separate Manly at 6th and South Sydney at 4th. However, with the easiest remaining schedule in the NRL, Des Hasler will have his sights set on a Top 4 finish (6.3%).

Melbourne Storm

Premiership: 27.5%
Top 4: 98.2%
Top 8: 100.0%
Most Losses: 0.0%

The Melbourne Storm have navigated another month of football unbeaten and have done so with Ryan Papenhuyzen, Cameron Munster and Harry Grant all missing four of the five games. 

While other clubs complain and struggle through State of Origin and injury outs, Craig Bellamy and the Storm find ways to win. The Panthers might be the best team in the NRL when everything is going well, but no team deals with pressure and adversity better than the Storm.

They're now at the top of the NRL ladder and a lock for finals football. They'll more than likely carry home ground advantage through to the Grand Final on October 3, too. You'd be brave to bet against them on the day. Right now, they're 27.5% to lift the Provan-Summons Trophy for the third time in five seasons.

Newcastle Knights

Premiership: 0.2%
Top 4: 0.0%
Top 8: 22.7%
Most Losses: 1.1%

Every footy fan loves a win, but some are better than others. Some are a sign of things to come, while others are a flash in the pan. The Newcastle Knights 18-10 win over the Sea Eagles in Round 12 was a flash.

Blessed with a poor Manly performance and a timely sin-bin that helped turn a 10-0 deficit into a 12-10 lead, it all broke the right way for Newcastle on the day. When they weren't so lucky in the following two rounds, Adam O'Brien's men struggled to trouble the opposition.

While points are hard enough to come by for the Knights, their right edge defence continues to be the main issue. They've conceded 33 tries down that side of the field. It's the most tries conceded anywhere on the field in the whole competition. 

Mitchell Pearce and Kalyn Ponga are due back from injury soon. They will undoubtedly improve the side and provide some spark with the ball. But unless the Knights can start stopping the flow of points coming the other way, their current 22.7% to make the Top 8 won't rise.

North Queensland Cowboys

Premiership: 0.2%
Top 4: 0.0%
Top 8: 34.8%
Most Losses: 0.4%

What to make of the North Queensland Cowboys...

Round 10: Beaten by a better Roosters side 30-16 but bounced back well following a poor start.
Round 11: Excellent throughout a 36-20 win over the Knights.
Round 12: Superb to start and frustrating to finish before Valentine Holmes landed a monster field goal to win 29-28.
Round 13: Bye.
Round 14: Seven good minutes to lead 12-0 followed by an awful 73 minutes to lose 50-18.

They still can't string together two good halves of football often enough, let alone two good weeks. Arguably the most frustrating side in the NRL right now, the Cowboys can put points on anybody but too often allow just as many through them.

There isn't even any consistency in when they're playing poorly. One week it's the start. The next they get off to a flier before failing to finish. The Cowboys can keep their current 7th spot on the ladder through to the end of Round 25, but they need to start playing the full 80 minutes soon before the teams below them begin to catch up.

Parramatta Eels

Premiership: 14.0%
Top 4: 72.0%
Top 8: 100.0%
Most Losses: 0.0%

The Parramatta Eels have set themselves up well to deal with the hardest remaining schedule of all 16 teams.

Beneficiaries of timely returns from injury and suspensions along with a lack of State of Origin representatives, the Eels have made it through the Origin period unscathed. Just as things started to look a little bit too 2020-like following back-to-back defeats in Round 11 and 12, Brad Arthur's men responded with two big wins over the Knights and Tigers.

While the quality of the opposition isn't at a premiership contending level, hanging 40 points on both and taking the two competition points with relative ease is what good teams do - particularly at this time of the year.

Reed Mahoney's injury throws a spanner in the works, but again, the timing of his return bodes relatively well. He's hoping to be back to play the Panthers in Round 16. From there, Parramatta faces the Roosters, Rabbitohs, Sea Eagles, Cowboys, Storm and Panthers across their last six matches.

That will be the time to truly judge their premiership credentials.

Penrith Panthers

Premiership: 27.6%
Top 4: 97.6%
Top 8: 100.0%
Most Losses: 0.0%

Losing back-to-back games without six or seven of their best players won't concern Ivan Cleary and the Penrith Panthers. It's not uncommon for top teams to drop a few games throughout the season even at the best of times.

It won't have any impact on their quest to win the premiership. In fact, the likelihood that they win the premiership has actually gone UP since we last checked in on the futures. At 26.1% to lift the Provan-Summons Trophy after Round 9, the Panthers are up to 27.6% despite back-to-back losses.

The Origin experience will help the players involved while first-grade minutes for depth players could well benefit everybody should injuries strike later in the season. 

Penrith have nothing to worry about. 

South Sydney Rabbitohs

Premiership: 18.1%
Top 4: 90.0%
Top 8: 100.0%
Most Losses: 0.0%

It's still all about the left edge for the South Sydney Rabbitohs. An outrageous 33 of their 52 tries (63%) have come down that side of the field. It's the most potent attacking avenue in the NRL, and it is keeping the Bunnies in premiership contention.

After brushing aside "the boring statistic around teams conceding 50 points in a game throughout the season never winning the premiership" last time, the Rabbitohs had 50 points put on them again in Round 11.

One you can ignore. A second, regardless of who is available for selection, is a major cause for concern. Scoring points isn't a worry. Souths will always find a way to keep their side of the scoreboard ticking over. However, their 21.7 points conceded per game is significantly more than the Eels (16pcpg), Storm (12.7pcpg) and Panthers (9.5pcpg).

It's without the ball that will determine South Sydney's premiership chances from here. They face the second-easiest remaining schedule to iron it out. 

St. George-Illawarra Dragons

Premiership: 0.1%
Top 4: 0.0%
Top 8: 17.5%
Most Losses: 1.0%

The St. George-Illawarra Dragons aren't a Top 8 team. 

They were the beneficiaries of some luck to start the season. Still, as the rounds tick by, and their lack of quality through the middle and inconsistent weapons in attack are exposed, their chances of playing finals football tumble.

Up as high as 49.9% to make the Top 8 after Round 5, the Dragons have dropped from 38.6% a month ago to 17.5% after Round 14.

The Dragons really needed to win three of their last four against struggling opposition to set themselves up for the second-hardest remaining draw in the competition from here. Instead, they lost three of the four to more than likely trigger a tailspin towards the bottom of the ladder.

Sydney Roosters

Premiership: 7.4%
Top 4: 35.3%
Top 8: 98.8%
Most Losses: 0.0%

The Sydney Roosters continue to impress.

Regardless of who is named and in what position, Trent Robinson gets everything out of the 17 every week.

Joseph Manu has been superb in his shifts at fullback in place of James Tedesco. Meanwhile, Jared Waerea-Hargreaves has filled the void in the middle with two monster efforts across Round 12 and 14.

The injuries and THREE retirements they've dealt with so far this year have rubbed them out of the premiership conversation at just 7.4%. However, at 98.8% to make the Top 8 and provide some young players with finals experience, this season won't be a waste for the Roosters.

New Zealand Warriors

Premiership: 0.3%
Top 4: 0.1%
Top 8: 30.1%
Most Losses: 1.0%

The New Zealand Warriors have a Top 8 roster but don't have a Top 8 coaching staff and game plan to get it over the line right now.

While finding a spot for Reece Walsh is necessary, Roger Tuivasa-Sheck - the best #1 in the club's history - is going wasted on the wing. It took the New South Wales Blues a week to figure out new ways to get the most out of Tom Trbojevic - another fullback - while playing out wide in the centres.

Finding attacking opportunities for Tuivasa-Sheck and Walsh has been difficult, though. Outside of Addin Fonua-Blake, who has just returned from injury, the Warriors prop corps offer very little through the middle. Their best middle, Tohu Harris, has been put out on the edge...

The potential is there for this group. A hot streak might be all it takes for them to sneak into the Top 8. However, we've not seen nearly enough throughout the opening 14 rounds to assume they will be a relevant finals side as Round 25 approaches.

Wests Tigers

Premiership: 0.0%
Top 4: 0.0%
Top 8: 6.9%
Most Losses: 5.5%

The Wests Tigers are positioned to finish around 11th-13th on the ladder right now. 

They're improving and picking up enough wins against bad teams (Knights, Dragons) and were the beneficiaries of playing a depleted Panthers side in Round 13, but they're a step or two behind those at the top of the pile. Consistency issues stop them from beating enough in the middle of the pack, too.

Conceding 26.7 points per game is a major issue while they lack repeatable actions with the ball to trouble the opposition defence every week. That hasn't been helped by regular changes to the spine with another forced upon them when Moses Mbye was ruled out in Round 14.

Similar to the Warriors, a hot streak could put the Tigers in finals contention. A poor start to the season is more likely to continue the finals drought, though. 

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Jason Oliver

As far as Jason is concerned, there is no better time of year than March through June. An overlap of the NBA and NRL seasons offer up daily opportunities to find an edge and fund the ever-increasing number of sports streaming services he subscribes to. If there's an underdog worth taking in either code, he'll be on it.

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