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.


Brisbane Broncos

The Broncos may have only won two from their first eight, but a perceived easier run ahead with games against the Cowboys, Sea Eagles, Dragons and Raiders in the six weeks that followed could have been the moment for Kevin Walters' side to turn things around.

That was particularly true with so many players off-contract and looking to prove a point.

But turn things around they simply didn't. Instead, they squandered an 18-12 lead over the Cowboys in Round 9, losing 19-18 as Valentine Holmes sunk a field goal in a Queensland derby which, while close, won't go down as an epic.

Jason Taumalolo's 74th minute try proved exactly what a soft underbelly the Broncos had, while Holmes kicking the field goal was a dagger proving exactly where the Broncos were at in the experience stakes.

The Broncos then had 50 put on them by the Sea Eagles, and while they beat the Roosters a week later as Victor Radley found the sin bin twice in the same game, conceding 50 to the Dragons in Round 13 proved exactly where they were at.

NRL Rd 13 - Dragons v Broncos
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 03: TC Robati of the Broncos makes a break during the round 13 NRL match between the St George Illawarra Dragons and the Brisbane Broncos at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium on June 03, 2021, in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)