How your NRL team's finals run looks

Most teams will be looking to avoid a dreaded trip to Melbourne to face the Storm in the NRL finals.
Most teams will be looking to avoid a dreaded trip to Melbourne to face the Storm in the NRL finals.

* MELBOURNE (1st, 30pts, +174)

To play: South Sydney (a), Cronulla (h), Parramatta (h), Gold Coast (a), Penrith (h)

Outlook: Big fortnight ahead that will decide if they finish the year as minor premiers. Regardless, a likely top-two finish which will ensure they won't have to leave Melbourne until the grand final if they keep winning.

* SOUTH SYDNEY (2nd, 30pts, +130)

To play: Melbourne (h), Sydney Roosters (h), Brisbane (a), Canberra (a), Wests Tigers (h).

Outlook: Have a tricky three weeks ahead, and their round-22 date with arch-rivals Sydney Roosters will likely determine their top-two fate. A win in that or against the Storm on Friday should mean they avoid a dreaded trip to Melbourne in Finals Week I.

* SYDNEY ROOSTERS (3rd, 28pts, +153)

To play: North Queensland (h), South Sydney (a), Canberra (a), Brisbane (h), Parramatta (a).

Outlook: Games against South Sydney and Brisbane will be crucial in terms of deciding whether they're fighting for the top four, top two or minor premiership at season's end. Regardless, their superior for-and-against will help as they hit form.

* ST GEORGE ILLAWARRA (4th, 28pts, +107)

To play: Warriors (h), Parramatta (a), Wests Tigers (a), Canterbury (h), Newcastle (a).

Outlook: Have dropped to their lowest ladder position of the season, but have best run home of rivals. Will desperately want to avoid finishing fourth if the Storm win the minor premiership, given they'd have to head to Melbourne in week one where they haven't won since 1999.

* PENRITH (5th, 26pts, +68)

To play: Canberra (h), Gold Coast (a), Newcastle (h), Warriors (a), Melbourne (a).

Outlook: Have a chance to get back on track with no finals-bound opponents over the next three weeks, but the top four could be a bridge too far. Have a tough trip to Melbourne in the final round, where they haven't won in 13 years.

* CRONULLA (6th, 26pts, +44)

To play: Manly (h), Melbourne (a), North Queensland (h), Newcastle (h), Canterbury (a).

Outlook: Will like their run home aside from the trip to Melbourne in a fortnight. Have the potential to claim at least four wins in their last five, but their for-and-against could hurt them in battle for the top-four..

* BRISBANE (7th, 26pts +8)

To play: Canterbury (a), North Queensland (a), South Sydney (h), Sydney Roosters (a), Manly (h).

Outlook: Top four looks unlikely now but finishing fifth or sixth will be crucial given it gifts them a home elimination final. To do that they'll likely need to beat at least one Souths or the Roosters in rounds 23 and 24.

* WARRIORS (8th, 24pts, -20)

To play: St George Illawarra (a), Newcastle (h), Canterbury (a), Penrith (h), Canberra (h).

Outlook: Surely now the only team who can still drop out of the top eight after Sunday's loss to Gold Coast. Have three games they should win against Newcastle, Canterbury and Canberra, but history suggests there's no guarantees.

* WESTS TIGERS (9th, 20pts, -45)

To play: Newcastle (a), Canberra (a), St George Illawarra (h), Manly (h), South Sydney (a).

Outlook: Still a chance despite their loss to Canterbury on Friday night. Likely need four wins from their last five, and while they face Souths and the Dragons it's bottom-eight teams that seem to faze them more.

Australian Associated Press