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.


New Zealand Warriors

For a team who spent so long guttsing it out, playing away from home and with so many out injured or suspended or having gone home, the Round 23 loss to the Broncos was gut-wrenching for the Warriors.

It's not down to any one factor. They just looked a team who were gassed at times, but what makes the loss so painful is they actually scored more tries than the Broncos.

It's two competition points which has potentially cost them a spot in September, but with Reece Walsh only kicking one from five, compared to Herbie Farnworth's four from four, Warriors fans have the right to be asking "What if?"

What if they won that day? Does it change the mindset for the final two rounds against the Canberra Raiders and Gold Coast Titans, and as a result, the final scorelines of those games?

Even one win there could have had them in the finals if they had of gotten the better of the Broncos.

A brave season for the Warriors, and all reports suggest they are going to need to show more of it in 2022, but it doesn't make the loss to the Broncos any less painful.

GOSFORD, AUSTRALIA - MAY 02: Reece Walsh of the Warriors during the round eight NRL match between the New Zealand Warriors and the North Queensland Cowboys at Central Coast Stadium, on May 02, 2021, in Gosford, Australia. (Photo by Ashley Feder/Getty Images)