Newspaper article The Queensland Times (Ipswich, Australia)

Title Still Up for Grabs; Sterlo's Prediction Could Be Proven Wrong in October

Newspaper article The Queensland Times (Ipswich, Australia)

Title Still Up for Grabs; Sterlo's Prediction Could Be Proven Wrong in October

Article excerpt

PETER Sterling is someone whose opinion I greatly respect, but he might be drawing a long bow with his prediction that just four teams remain in the 2011 premiership race.

According to Sterlo the Dragons, Storm, Sea Eagles and Broncos are the only teams that can win the comp.

He says last weekend's round further emphasised the gulf between the contenders and the pretenders.

I agree the top four appears cut and dried. I also recognise that since the McIntyre finals system was introduced in 1999, no team lower than fifth has won the comp, but seven rounds are yet to be played and that means 14 premiership points are still up for grabs.

On that basis any of the teams as low as 12th could still snare a finals berth.

The Sharks, Rabbitohs and Bulldogs sit on 18 points, and although seven successive wins is unlikely, it is possible.

And that would give them 32 points and a spot in the eight comfortably.

A premiership from there, given their erratic form, is highly unlikely.

Winning six or seven games from now will be tough enough.

Keeping that form going through the finals is another challenge altogether.

Apart from the current top four, I rate the Cowboys and Tigers as premiership contenders if they can find and sustain some consistency in the coming weeks.

With the Cowboys, much depends on Johnathan Thurston. Their record without him is abysmal and he will need to hit the ground running on his still uncertain return.

The Tigers remain the greatest enigma in this competition. On their day they can beat anyone. When they are cold they are atrocious. And like Thurston, Benji Marshall is their ignition.

If I had to put my house on a premiership favourite right now, it would be the Sea Eagles.

But October 2 is a long, long way off.

Just a minute

NO doubt many fans will burr up at the proposition from Channel 9 boss David Gyngell that in the new TV deal more commercials will be slotted in during games. But the naivety of the protesters completely dumbfounds me.

If Channel 9 is to pay the huge money being suggested Co money that will give the players the salary cap they seek and will keep struggling clubs financially afloat Co surely the game has to give something in return. …

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