In the blink of an eye, the 2021 home and away season is done. Who would’ve thought we’d make it here?
A huge 25 rounds of huge hits, strong tackles, blindsides and even more blood bins. We’ve loved every second of it, and if you’re a Storm or Panthers fan, you’ll be talking about this season for a while (same can’t be said for Bulldogs die-hards).
With many of us catching each game from the safety of our houses, the 2021 season has been a lifeline, an escape, and for that, we have to thank the officials, players, club staff and everyone else who made this happen – because we’re so glad it did.
Now, September has arrived, and we’re ready to whittle down the top eight to just two. Who’s made it to the top, who’s snuck in at the last minute to take the last spot?
- Sea Eagles
- Melbourne Storm
Sitting pretty at top spot, the Storm simply needed to beat the Sharks last Friday night to take out the minor premiership, if they didn’t, the Panthers were likely to jump right up to the top spot after a win over the Eels.
Storm will be looking to go back-to-back this year, with names like Cameron Munster, Ryan Papenhuyzen who has returned after a long stint on the side due to concussion and Jahrome Hughes, the men in purple will be looking to steam roll into the pointy end of finals.
2. Penrith Panthers
The Panthers were crossing their fingers that the Sharks pulled it out of the bag and toppled Storm over the weekend, after their win over the Eels saw them in reach of top spot. But it wasn’t to be, and they remain 2nd. A good spot to be regardless, they’ll be looking to charge home in September and shoot for their first premiership since 2003, after falling short and being runners up last year.
3. South Sydney Rabbitohs
Out of minor premiership contention the Rabbitohs stormed home in the season, collecting third place and looking to make waves in the next few weeks. After recent controversy surrounding Latrell Mitchell and the most recent clash between the Rabbitohs and the Roosters, many will be interested to see what happens should the two teams face off again.
4. Manly Sea Eagles
The Sea Eagles had a simple task, take down the Cowboys, and they’ll lock in fourth spot for good. That they did with a huge 46-18 win, and the boys from Manly are in the top four. In what could’ve seen them drop down to sixth, they’ll be ecstatic with the result.
5. Sydney Roosters
The Roosters suffered a huge blow in the 54-12 loss to the Rabbitohs a few weeks ago, it left them with the worst points record in difference of all teams. They needed the Eels and Sea Eagles to lose if they stood a chance of finishing in the top four, but with the Sea Eagles dominating the Cowboys, 6th spot it was. They’ll be going in hard this finals season, with nothing to lose and no double chance.
6. Parramatta Eels
No one saw a win over Storm coming, but that win just a few weeks ago saw the Eels jump up to claim fifth. The Eels would have been going in hard against the Panthers with a big upset win enough to push them into the top four, but instead they’ll go into the finals series in sixth.
7. Newcastle Knights
A locked in seventh for the Knights was courtesy to a late five-game winning streak in the season that has seen them fire and gain momentum at the right time. An unexpected loss to the Bronco’s will be a shot to the confidence the Knight’s had gained in the last half of the season, and they’ll need to regather and refresh ahead of the first elimination final.
8. Gold Coast Titans
It came down to the second last game of the home and away season for the Gold Coast Titans to work their way into eighth spot. While the rest of the top seven has been locked in last week, with just positioning up for grabs, it was down to three teams to make the final cut, the Titans, the Sharks and the Canberra Raiders. Knowing they needed to win by 11 or more points, the team from the sunshine state took it to the Warriors, winning 44-0, locking in their spot in September.