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NRL: What did we learn from round 24

It was another exciting week of NRL action and with just one round of the regular season remaining before we head into finals, the top eight has been pretty much decided.

The race to make the eight has been a tight one but barring a huge turnaround in the final round, it will remain as it stands right now.

Brisbane Broncos slide down the ladder continued as they were thumped 53-6 by the Parramatta Eels at Suncorp Stadium on Thursday and now look set to miss out on finals.

Friday night saw minor premiers Penrith cruise to a 46-12 win over the New Zealand Warriors while the Sydney Roosters beat the Melbourne Storm 18-14 in a thrilling game at AAMI Park.

On a super Saturday the Canberra Raiders beat the Manly Sea Eagles 48-6, Cronulla Sharks edged past Canterbury Bulldogs 16-0 while South Sydney Rabbitohs overcame North Queensland Cowboys 20-10.

The week was wrapped up with two games on Sunday. The Wests Tigers put in an improved display  but still went down 24-22 against St George Ilawarra Dragons, while the Gold Coast Titans beat the Newcastle Knights 36-26.

So after a gripping four days of NRL action, what did we learn.

Roosters and Rabbitohs secure finals spot

Both the Sydney Roosters and South Sydney Rabbitohs went into the round needing to win to secure their place in the top eight, and did just that.

On paper both faced tough games, but came through with flying colours. The Roosters really stood out with a victory over the Storm in Melbourne and are looking a good outsider to go deep into finals. They are priced at 8/1 to win the grand final.

The Rabbitohs are priced at 12/1 to go all the way and again proved their credentials with a home win over North Queensland.

These two sides are set to clash in the final round at Allianz Stadium on Friday night and they can relax to a certain extent knowing that finals are in the bag.

The Broncos set for finals heartbreak

Brisbane were in the top four after 19 rounds but barring a minor miracle will now miss out of finals altogether.

They sit ninth on the ladder level on points with the eighth-place Raiders. Kevin Walters side now have to win away at the Dragons and hope that the Raiders slip up against the Canterbury Bulldogs.

The Broncos can still edge into the eight if the Raiders win, but it will come down to points difference and the Broncos are on -26 compared to the Raiders 17. Meaning the odds are stacked against them. But there is at least some hope.

The race for fourth spot will go to the wire

We have a huge game to get the final round rolling on Thursday night when Parramatta Eels entertain the Melbourne Storm.

The Storm currently sit fourth and face fifth-place Parramatta with both sides locked on 32 points.

So whoever wins takes fourth spot and will give their chances of going on to win the premiership a huge boost.

The Storm are priced at 31/50 to make the top four, the Eels 13/10, and a great game is on the cards with so much at stake.

Wests Tigers have picked up the wooden spoon

The Wests Tigers have had a nightmare 2022 NRL campaign and it got even worse on Sunday when they slipped to a two-point defeat against the Dragons.

It was a huge improvement on the heavy loss to the Roosters the week before but still means they will pick up the wooden spoon for the first time in their history.

The Gold Coast Titans beat the Newcastle Knights on Sunday to move two points clear and have a far superior points difference with one game to go.

The Tigers also face the Raiders in the final game. It will soon be time to turn focus to the 2023 campaign and what they hope will be a new era under a new coaching set-up.

Sharks on course to finish second

Following North Queensland’s defeat against the Rabbitohs, the Sharks jumped to second place on the ladder and look on course to stay there.

They wrap up the regular season away at struggling Newcastle, while the Cowboys must entertain the Penrith Panthers.

There is now a good chance these two sides will meet in the first week of finals, with the Sharks set to have home advantage.

The Sharks are priced at 7/1 to win the grand final, the Cowboys 12/1.

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