SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 29: Luke Keary of the Roosters kicks during the round three NRL match between the Parramatta Eels and the Sydney Roosters at ANZ Stadium on March 29, 2019 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

10 rounds in the books and many are wondering: can your club still make the finals? Have they all but locked up a spot or is it time to start playing the kids and looking ahead to next year? Scoop has delved into the numbers from the last decade to predict the final ladder position of each club for season 2019 and who has the best shot at bringing home the premiership.

Wins to qualify for the finals 2009 – 2018
Firstly, we need to take a look at how many wins have been required to make the finals over the past 10 years.

Year Lowest number of wins to qualify for Finals Wins to finish Top 4
2018 15 16
2017 13 16
2016 11 15
2015 12 14
2014 12 15
2013 12 15
2012 12 16
2011 12 15
2010 13 15
2009 12 14
Average 12.4 15.1

12 wins is the typical cut off for Finals and 15 wins will get you in the mix for the top 4. Finishing Top 4 has a tremendous correlation with Premiership aspirations, as we delve into later in the article.

Expected ladder (based on the first 10 rounds)

Extrapolating out each teams win / loss to a full season shows the following Final Ladder.


Club Wins Losses Byes Points
1. Rabbitohs 21 3 1 44
2. Storm 19 5 1 40
3. Roosters 19 5 1 40
4.  Raiders 14 10 1 30
5. Sea Eagles 14 10 1 30
6. Knights 12 12 1 26
7. Wests Tigers 12 12 1 26
8. Eels 12 12 1 26
9. Sharks 12 12 1 26
10. Warriors 10 14 1 22
11. Broncos 10 14 1 22
12. Dragons 10 14 1 22
13. Cowboys 10 14 1 22
14. Bulldogs 7 17 1 16
15. Titans 5 19 1 12
16. Panthers 5 19 1 12

The Eels and Sharks would be fighting it out for the last Finals spot in this model, with the Eels winning out with this method. The Bunnies, Storm and Tri-Colours finish the year well clear of the chasing pack.

However there are still 15 Rounds to play with different opponents and home / away matchups than in the first 10 Rounds. Thus, a measurement (SoS) needs to be created to predict a more accurate Final Ladder, starting with the Home Ground Advantage

The Home Ground advantage

Season 2019 has seen the home team pick up the win in 66.66% percent of games (48 wins 32 losses). Taking out Magic Round where was there was no home ground advantage for any of the “Home” teams the rate is 67.44%, a clear advantage for the home side. With playing at home such a  heavy factors in a teams chance of victory, it may also have been a factor in slow starts for some teams such as the Dragons, Bulldogs & Eels, who have played two more games on the road than at home. This is heavily weighted in the projection model (SoS) below.

Interesting Fact: the Broncos were the away team against Manly in Magic Round. While the Titans, Wests, Sea Eagles, Bulldogs, Warriors, Storm Roosters and Bunnies essentially gave away a home game, the Broncos have scored an incredibly unfair advantage by having this game as an away game, a game Brisbane won no less. Someone from the NRL is going to have to call me to explain that one!

Strength of Schedule (SoS)
Based on the 10 rounds so far we can rank the strength of schedule (SoS) each club faces for the remainder of the season by home & away games and opponent strength score. The lower the score, the easier the draw.

Rank Club SoS score
1. Broncos 150
2. Roosters 152
3. Eels 154
4. Sharks 160
5. Sea Eagles 160
6. Rabbitohs 162
7. Raiders 166
8. Storm 168
9. Dragons 168
10. Titans 172
11. Knights 174
12. Bulldogs 178
13. Wests Tigers 186
14. Panthers 182
15. Cowboys 182
16. Wests Tigers 186


Projected Final Ladder (based on SoS)
Based on the Strength of Schedule of the remaining 15 rounds, in addition to current Wins & Losses and Home matches vs Away matches, the following table projects where each club will finish the regular season and who will make the Finals. Extrapolated for/against is used to separate sides with equal points.

Club Wins Losses Points Rank Change from Expected Ladder
1. Rabbitohs 22 2 46 Unchanged
2. Roosters 20 4 42 Up one spot
3. Storm 19 5 42 Down one spot
4. Sea Eagles 15 9 32 Up one spot
5. Raiders 13 11 28 Down one spot
6. Parramatta 13 11 28 Up two spots
7. Knights 12 12 26 Down one spot
8. Sharks 12 12 26 Up one spot
9. Wests Tigers 10 14 22 Down two spots
10. Broncos 9 15 20 Up one spot
11. Warriors 9 15 20 Down one Spot
12. Dragons 9 15 20 Unchanged
13. Bulldogs 8 16 18 Up one spot
14. Cowboys 8 16 18 Down one spot
15. Titans 6 18 14 Unchanged
16. Panthers 3 21 8 Unchanged

Using the SoS projections the Bunnies remain on top, with the big movers being the Eels (up 2 spots to 6th) and the Tigers (down two spots and crashing out of the Finals race). Many smaller changes in the standings, which we will again review later in the year. With our ladder now finalised we can predict the Grand Finalists and Premiers for 2019.

Projected Grand Finalists
Since 2009 the Premiers have not finished the season lower than 4th at the end of the Home and Away season. The Premiers have come from 1st 3 times, 2nd 3 times, 3rd 3 times and 4th once.

Year Premiers Final Ladder Position
2018 Sydney Roosters 1st
2017 Melbourne Storm 1st
2016 Cronulla Sharks 3rd
2015 North Queensland Cowboys 3rd
2014 South Sydney Rabbitohs 3rd
2013 Sydney Roosters 2nd
2012 Melbourne Storm 2nd
2011 Manly Sea Eagles 2nd
2010 St. George Illawarra Dragons 1st
2009 Melbourne Storm (Stripped) 4th

The Average Premiership winning Ladder position is 2nd and the Average Runner up comes from 5th. Using the SoS predicted ladder the 2019 Grand Final will be:
Roosters  vs  Raiders
With your 2019 Premiers being: The Sydney Roosters.

Share your thoughts in the comments and we will check back on these predictions at the 2/3 mark of the season and again at the end with a Grand Review. Thanks as always for reading.


Trust in the Data!



  1. Amusing little sidelight article but apart from predicting that the premier will most likely come from the top 4 it’s all pretty much just a talking point and nothing else. way too many factors and dramas etc to calculate For example, once the sharks get anywhere near their full side on deck who’s to say they won’t go on a similar run to 2016?…just saying…..hoping??

  2. Hey bbbj,
    Spot on mate, it gets us all thinking and talking about Finals chances. Injuries, coaching changes, salary cap penalties, there are many factors we can’t predict so you are completely right there. Will be very interesting to look back on it at the end of the year and see how accurate the stats were as a predictive measure. As for the Sharkies…. that’s what makes footy great, we all love our clubs and with Graham, et. al coming back they could get on a roll, just like anyone team in the comp. Even you Gold Coast Titans…

  3. As a Souths supporter I’m happy for them to finish anywhere in the top 4 and from there if they have a full roster available will be very confident for no 22.
    Great bench this year.

  4. Hi Matthew Fairhall just a small correction mate. You had the Sydney Roosters in the last graph as finishing 2nd before going onto claim the 2013 Premiership. The Sydney Roosters were Minor Premiers that season not 2nd.💪🐔👉🐓🏆🏆

  5. G’day woodchook,

    Your 100% right. Thanks for catching that one mate.
    Thanks for reading.

  6. G’day Stevesyd,
    Very fair call. Top 4 is the key and with a bit of luck on the injury front the Bunnies will be a red hot chance.
    Thanks for reading

Comments are closed.