SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 24: Ava Seumanufagai of the Bulldogs is tackled during the round seven NRL match between the Cronulla Sharks and the Canterbury Bulldogs at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium, on April 24, 2021 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Jason McCawley/Getty Images)

The NRL has been reduced to eight teams, and the finals are here. Four weeks of glorious rugby league, which will crown the champion for 2021.

It's been another chaotic season with rule changes changing the fabric of the game, and more teams than ever struggling in a big way.

Despite that, we still had a race for the top eight which came down to the final day of the season as the Gold Coast Titans blew the New Zealand Warriors out of the water to knock the Cronulla Sharks out of the competition.

The Canberra Raiders were also in the running in the final round before they lost to the Sydney Roosters, while the Warriors themselves, as well as the St George Illawarra Dragons and Wests Tigers were in realistic contention up until the end of Round 23, and mathematical miracle level contention until Round 24.

The Brisbane Broncos, North Queensland Cowboys and Canterbury Bulldogs also missed the finals.

But what was the moment where their seasons took an irreversible trip to the bottom of the table? This is the moment for your eliminated club which sucked all the life out of the season.


Canterbury Bulldogs

This is a difficult exercise for a team who only won three games all season, but you have to go all the way back to the start to remember there was some - minimal as it might have been - hope around the Bulldogs this season.

They had beaten the Rabbitohs in Round 19 of the 2020 season and went close against all of the Sea Eagles, Titans, Raiders and Warriors in the final six weeks of the season.

Add that to plenty of players playing for their NRL future, and they should have been at the very least competitive against fellow bottom sides.

Losses to start the season against the Knights and Panthers might have been expected, but being held scoreless by the Broncos 24-0 in Round 3 wasn't.

It was an embarrassing performance from Trent Barrett's side, and one which would set the tone as they lost 38-0 to the Rabbitohs, 52-18 to the Storm and 30-18 to the Cowboys in the following weeks before finally recording their first win in Round 7 over the Sharks.

Not that it mattered - the season was gone.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - MAY 09: Nick Cotric of the Bulldogs and his team mates looks dejected after a try during the round nine NRL match between the St George Illawarra Dragons and the Canterbury Bulldogs at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium, on May 09, 2021, in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)