Roosters flop, eels save face: predicted final ladder as Fox Lab crunches the numbers

The Roosters will shockingly miss the top eight after starting the season as premiership favorites, according to the Fox Sports Lab.

The top six places are pretty much solid, five teams are battling it out for the last two places in the postseason and another five clubs are desperately trying to avoid the wooden spoon.

The Panthers have pretty much secured the small premiership, while the cowboys with a surprise package are engaged in a battle with the Storm for second place.

The Eels are tipped to defeat the Sharks and Broncos to complete the top four – and earn a crucial double chance in the final.

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The Fox Sports Labhas predicted each club’s finish this season based on current form, head-to-head records and their previous on-site appearances.

However, our statisticians have warned that things could change quickly – if the Roosters upset the Panthers next week, for example, their expected finish would change significantly.

Read on below to see where your team is expected to finish!

NRL ladder forecaster Fox Sports Lab.Source: Getty Images


1. Penrith Panthers

The Panthers have completely dominated this season – leaving just one game against the Eels in Round 9 – and are invincible favorites to win the small premiership.

Penrith still has a bye in store and has five games against the top eight in their last nine games, including the Eels and Storm.

No team has ever won 20 games three seasons in a row — the Panthers need just six more wins to make history.

2. Melbourne Storm

A new season and another top-two finish beckons for legendary coach Craig Bellamy’s powerhouse.

The Storms have a very manageable build-up to the finals with matches against the Warriors, Titans and three more bottom eight matches.

Melbourne has never had a losing season under Craig Bellamy and since his time at the club they have won 78 more games than the second best team.

3. Cowboys from North Queensland

No one, and I mean no one, saw this rise coming from Todd Payten, who finished 15th last season.

The Cowboys have been sensational this season and are still chasing second place, with an easier draw than the Storm and goodbyes yet to come.

North Queensland are on track for their best-ever defensive season with just 13.1 points per game.

4. Paramatta eels

The Eels have endured an inconsistent campaign, but are still expected to finish in the top four.

The knock on Parramatta is that they cannot get motivated against the minnows, but they will have to win clashes with the Tigers, Warriors and Bulldogs to ensure their double chance in the final.

The drought of the current premiership of the Eels (36 years) is longer than waiting for their very first title (34 years).

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5. Cronulla Sharks

Novice coach Craig Fitzgibbon is expected to just miss the lead from his side to a top four finish in his first season at the helm.

The Sharks will face the Storm, Cowboys and Panthers in a row over the next month in a period that will decide whether they get a double chance in the final.

Cronulla have finished third or better only eight times in their history – the grand finals four times – and they are currently just two points outside the top three.

6. Brisbane Broncos

The former powerhouse is finally back in the final after a rough patch with the club’s first wooden spoon in 2020.

Kevin Walters has done a brilliant job of reviving the Broncos and they are still on the hunt for a top four finish.

Brisbane have never missed the final in three consecutive seasons and thanks to Walters they should avoid that unwanted record this year.

7. South Sydney Rabbitohs

The grand finalists of 2021 have had a tumultuous season and are fighting tooth and nail to make it to the final.

Our forecaster will have the Bunnies finish seventh, but it will likely come down to whether they can beat the Roosters in the final round – and the opening of the new Allianz Stadium.

Souths only missed the final once after making a big final the previous season – way back in 1966.

8. Male Sea Eagles

The Sea Eagles have lost a number of shockers this season and have struggled without injured superstar fullback Tom Trbojevic.

But they have one of the easiest runs home, facing just four top eight teams in their nine games remaining.

Despite this, Des Hasler looks set to become the first Manly coach to fail to make a major final in a four-year stint at the helm.

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9. St George Illawarra Dragons

Close, but no cigar. Anthony Griffin’s men are tipped to be this season’s bridesmaid, but they will still finish higher than most experts predicted in the summer.

With three wins left, the Dragons will avoid single-digit wins for the first time since the 1930s in four consecutive seasons.

10. Sydney Roosters

The pre-season premiership fantasies just haven’t taken off in 2022, with halves Sam Walker and Luke Keary never finding a consistent groove before the latter crashed out injured.

The Roosters have only made it to the finals once in the last 20 years, when they lost four games in a row – losing their last three games and then facing the Panthers.

11. Canberra Raiders

Ricky Stuart’s cards were marked just as his esteemed recruit and halfback Jamal Fogarty came down on the eve of the season with a serious knee injury.

That and their ability to lose matches, they should win. Since entering the competition, no team has bombed more double digits than Canberra, with 62 total out of their 1007 games.

12. Knights of Newcastle

The Knights are aiming for a third-place finish in the final in a row for the first time since 2003, but for a club that has lost nine of their last 11 games, this isn’t such a bad result.

They have the easiest run home in the league, facing the Titans twice and winning games against the Wests Tigers and Bulldogs.

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13. Canterbury Bulldogs

The Bulldogs were enshrined at the bottom of the ladder as the wooden spoon favorite for most of the first half of the season, but their recent resurgence has lifted them off the canvas.

The Bulldogs have scored more runs in their last five games than in their first 10 this season.

14. West Tigers

The Michael Maguire saga eventually ended with the club letting him go this month, but that hasn’t stopped them from sliding down the ladder. They finished 9th, 11th and 13th during Maguire’s first three seasons.

Here’s a shocking statistic for Tigers fans – the club hasn’t won three consecutive games in 100 games.

15. Gold Coast Titans

A team that was just one pass away from the second week of the final last year has capitulated completely in 2022.

It follows a trend in their club’s history – the Titans finished the season 16th and 15th after their last two finals.

16. Warriors

The Warriors – one of three teams to fire their coach within 12 rounds – will finish last after spending nearly three seasons on the road due to Covid.

The Kiwi side should possibly own the “faiders” crown, they have bombed 56 double digit leads from just 670 games.


PANTHERS: Roostersm bye, Tigers, Sharks, Eels, Raiders, Storm, Rabbitohs, Warriors, Cowboys.

STORM: Sea Eagles, Sharks, Raiders, Rabbitohs, Warriors, Titans, Panthers, Broncos, Roosters, Eels.

COWBOYS: Broncos, bye, sharks, tigers, dragons, bulldogs, roosters, warriors, rabbits, panthers.

AAL: Rabbitohs, Tigers, Warriors, Broncos, Panthers, Sea Eagles, Rabbitohs, Bulldogs, Broncos, Storm.

SHARKS: Bulldogs, Storm, Cowboys, Panthers, Rabbitohs, Dragons, Tigers, Sea Eagles, Bulldogs, Knights.

SOURCES: Cowboys, Dragons, Titans, Eels, Tigers, Roosters, Knights, Storm, Eels, Dragons.

RABBITS: Eels, knights, bulldogs, storm, sharks, warriors, eels, panthers, cowboys, roosters.

SEA EAGLES: Storm, bye, knights, dragons, roosters, eels, titans, sharks, marauders, bulldogs.

DRAGONS: Raiders, Broncos, Roosters, Sea Eagles, Cowboys, Sharks, Raiders, Titans, Tigers, Broncos.

COCKS: Panthers, Bye, Dragons, Knights, Sea Eagles, Broncos, Cowboys, Tigers, Storm, Rabbitohs.

CORRECT: Dragons, Bye, Storm, Warriors, Titans, Panthers, Dragons, Knights, Sea Eagles, Tigers.

KNIGHTS: Titans, Rabbitohs, Sea Eagles, Roosters, Bulldogs, Tigers, Broncos, Raiders, Titans, Sharks.

BULLDOGS: Sharks, Bye, Rabbitohs, Titans, Knights, Cowboys, Warriors, Eels, Sharks, Sea Eagles.

TIGERS: Warriors, Eels, Panthers, Cowboys, Broncos, Knights, Sharks, Roosters, Dragons, Raiders.

TITANS: Knights, Bye, Broncos, Bulldogs, Raiders, Storm, Sea Eagles, Dragons, Knights, Warriors.

WARRIORS: Tigers, Bye, Eels, Raiders, Storm, Rabbitohs, Bulldogs, Cowboys, Panthers Titans.

– with Aaron Wallace

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