2020 NRL Grand Final - Panthers v Storm
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - OCTOBER 25: Cameron Smith of the Storm holds aloft the Premiership trophy and celebrates with team mates after winning the 2020 NRL Grand Final match between the Penrith Panthers and the Melbourne Storm at ANZ Stadium on October 25, 2020 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

For one team, just four weeks stand between them and the Provan-Summons trophy.

The NRL finals have arrived, and so too have the biggest games of the season. There is some mouth-watering first week action. The Manly Sea Eagles vs Melbourne Storm? Yes please. The Penrith Panthers and South Sydney Rabbitohs again? Oh yes.

Those two games could tell us who is going to the grand final before we get past Week 1, given only the North Queensland Cowboys have played in Week 2 of the finals and made the grand final in the last four seasons.

And how about those elimination games? They could be anything. The Titans took the Roosters all the way in a 35-34 thriller last time, while the Eels form line could mean anything.

It might be tough to mount an argument for the teams in the bottom four of the top eight to win the premiership, but we'll give it a crack anyway.

Here is why your team can and can't win the premiership.


Melbourne Storm

Why they can win the premiership
World-class professionalism. To be fair, there are a stack of reasons the Storm can win the premiership. Their all representative halves combination of Jahrome Hughes and Cameron Munster? Their unreal spine featuring representative players as far as the eye can see, and ditto the forward pack?

Maybe it's the outside back attack led by Josh Addo-Carr.

But all in all, this is a team of players who want to play for Craig Bellamy, in the best rugby league system on the planet.

There is a reason the Storm have the best long-running finals record in the competition, and Bellamy and his systems have a lot to do with it.

Why they can't win the premiership
There is one factor the Storm still haven't quite worked out, and it could cost them big time unless they can do so as they attempt to go back-to-back.

That is what their best 13 looks like.

Ryan Papenhuyzen had a timely return to form last week with a hat-trick, but doing it against the Sharks - the team who miss more tackles than any other is one thing. Doing it against a finals contender is another.

But the form of Nicho Hynes has been hard to look past, although fitting the duo into the team hasn't really been working unless Hynes has been able to start in the halves, which he won't once Munster is fit.

There is a secondary problem at hooker, with Brandon Smith and Harry Grant both able to demand big minutes, but unable to get them.

Bellamy is the one coach who could work this out, but he needs to find a proper solution in a hurry.

TOWNSVILLE, AUSTRALIA - JULY 23: Brandon Smith of the Storm warms up before the start of the round 19 NRL match between the North Queensland Cowboys and the Melbourne Storm at QCB Stadium, on July 23, 2021, in Townsville, Australia. (Photo by Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images)