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Is this the season a team from outside the top four can produce a circuit breaker and become the first club in the NRL era to win the premiership from the bottom half of the top eight?
Given the six-match winning streak the Sydney Roosters are on at the moment there’s surely a very strong case.
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As ruthless and red-hot as premiers Penrith, Cronulla, North Queensland and the Melbourne Storm look right now, you’d be brave to put a pen through Parramatta, South Sydney and the resurgent Roosters.
Sure the Bunnies were beaten in the closing stages of a cracking game against the premiers but there’s an argument they still have the strike power to go on a run and win four games in a row come September.
The same goes for the consistently inconsistent Parramatta Eels who looked a different side with Mitchell Moses back in calling the shots and allowing Dylan Brown to focus on his best strength of running the football.
The Broncos are probably the only side currently sitting in the top eight who you can confidently state have got the death-wobbles at the wrong time of the year and look to have peaked on their run.
Friday night’s blockbuster at AAMI Park when the Roosters travel to Melbourne will be like an early grand final given the magnitude of what’s at stake.
The Storm will want to keep their impressive resurgence rolling while the Chooks have got the hot hand right now off the back of completely annihilating the hapless Wests Tigers.
Can the Roosters make it all the way to the grand final by going on an 11-match winning streak.
After what we’ve seen from them over the course of the last six weeks they’ve certainly got a strong case.
Throw in Lindsay Collins and Sio Siau Taukeahio being available for selection and there’s a sense of timing about the way the Tricolours are building their season.
The Melbourne Storm have also come roaring back to life off the back of Cameron Munster’s move to fullback, the return of Jahrome Hughes against the Broncos and the tactical ploy of playing Nelson Asofa-Solomona on the right edge in the absence of Felise Kaufusi.
South Sydney hosting the North Queensland Cowboys on Super Saturday is another blockbuster with all the hallmarks of a finals match arrived two weeks ahead of September.
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Premiers Penrith are also ticking along without missing a beat despite the absence of key playmakers Nathan Cleary and Jarome Luai and were super impressive rapping up the club’s second minor premiership in as many seasons with a win over the Rabbitohs.
What is there left to say about the Wests Tigers?
Surely that’s rock bottom although we’ve said that a number of times this season and they’ve found ways to sink further into the abyss.
So much for the much-hyped Centre of Excellence being the game changer the club so desperately needed.
No one gives a rats if you’ve got the best rugby league training facility in the world when you submit performances like the Wests Tigers did against the Roosters.
As an organisation, they look rudderless.
Who do you think is best set up to make a run at the NRL premiership?
And what were your likes or dislikes from round 23?
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