You have skipped the navigation, tab for page content
NRL Premiership 
- Round 16 
- Gold Coast Titans V Canberra Raiders 
- 26 June 2016 
- CBUS Super Stadium, Gold Coast, Qld 
- Scott Davis

We're seven weeks out from the finals and the race for a place in the NRL Telstra Premiership top eight remains wide open. The Storm and Sharks are the only two clubs certain to play past the first week of September as a logjam of teams between third and 12th vie for a finals berth.


Run home: Panthers (H), Roosters (A), Dragons (A), Eels (H), Bulldogs (H), Storm (A), Roosters (H)

Home/Away split: 4/3

Turnarounds: Six days – four; seven days – one; eight days – two. 

Key clash: Does it get any bigger than taking on the Storm at AAMI Park? The chance for Brisbane to prove themselves against fellow the premiership heavyweights just a fortnight out from the finals will be massive. A win in Melbourne has been rare for Brisbane in recent years, but would be a significant boost to the finals prospects for Wayne Bennett's men. 

The Broncos have no five-day turnarounds coming up but their run home isn't necessarily easy either, with the Roosters and Eels their only upcoming opponents not in finals contention. Wins away from home against the Roosters and Dragons are essential while they'll have to win the majority of their remaining games at Suncorp Stadium to make the top four.


Run home: Warriors (H), Rabbitohs (A), Sharks (A), Storm (H), Eels (H), Sea Eagles (A), Wests Tigers (A). 

Home/Away split: 3/4. 

Turnarounds: Six days – three; eight days – two; nine days – one; bye turnaround after Round 19.

Key clash: Canberra's Round 23 clash against Melbourne at GIO Stadium will offer the Raiders faithful a glimpse into what the season beholds for their team. Only a complete meltdown in the run home would see the green machine miss the finals, but a few big clashes such as the clash with the Storm could determine their top-four chances.

Canberra's draw in Round 3 against cellar-dwellers Newcastle will likely be the difference between a top-four berth and a knockout semi-final in week one of the finals. At the moment they sit at fifth, but winnable games against the Rabbitohs, Eels, Sea Eagles and Tigers will help their cause. If they can get on par with the Bulldogs and North Queensland in terms of wins, then their early-season draw will prove quite telling.


Run home: Cowboys (A), Dragons (H), Knights (A), Sea Eagles (H), Broncos (A), Cowboys (H), Rabbitohs (H)

Home/Away split: 4/3

Turnarounds: Five days – one; seven days – two; eight days – three; bye turnaround after Round 19.

Key clash: The Bulldogs have to face reigning premiers North Queensland twice in the final seven weeks of the regular season – in Round 20 in Townsville and Round 25 at Belmore Sportsground. A 'W' from at least one of these fixtures would confirm the Bulldogs were the real deal heading into September. 

One five-day turnaround will be offset by five lengthy gaps during their final six games, and their bye in Round 19 offered them a well-deserved 12-day break. Bar their two games against the Cowboys and another huge challenge in Brisbane, the Bulldogs will round out the regular season with games against the cellar-dwelling Knights, Sea Eagles and Rabbitohs. Look good for a top-four spot.


Run home: Knights (H), Titans (A), Raiders (H), Dragons (A), Rabbitohs (A), Roosters (H), Storm (A)

Home/Away split: 3/4.

Turnarounds: Five days – two; six days – one; seven days – two; eight days – one; nine days – one. 

Key clash: In terms of opponents the Sharks have one of the easiest runs home in the competition, but their Round 26 clash against the Storm certainly stands out. The clash between the two frontrunners for the 2016 minor premiership looms as a litmus test for both teams' title credentials and could give fans a taste of finals football one week early.

Games against the struggling Knights, Rabbitohs and Roosters should offset two five-day turnarounds, while wins against middle-of-the-roads clubs the Raiders and Dragons will be vital for Cronulla's minor premiership hopes. The Sharks could very well end up with the most regular season wins of any NRL team in a decade.


Run home: Eels (H), Sharks (H), Warriors (H), Wests Tigers (A), Knights (A), Panthers (H), Cowboys (A)

Home/Away split: 4/3

Turnarounds: Six days – two; seven days – three; eight days – one; nine days – one. 

Key clash: The Titans' Round 22 clash against the Warriors – to end a stretch of three games at home – will be a crucial one for two teams currently glued together on 20 competition points. Not only does the match pit two teams boasting an exciting brand of footy against each other but it should also give the winners a huge leg-up in the race to the finals.

The beauty of the NRL is that the Gold Coast are still a shot at either making the top four or missing the finals all together. Four of the Titans' next six games are at Cbus Super Stadium, offering them a great chance to make the finals for the first time since 2010. 


Run home: Rabbitohs (A), Knights (H), Eels (A), Bulldogs (A), Storm (H), Raiders (H), Panthers (A)

Home/Away split: 3/4

Turnarounds: Five days – one; six days – two; seven days – one, eight days – one; nine days – two. 

Key clash: Manly's finals chances are fleeting but a chance to separate themselves from the bottom four with a win against the Rabbitohs in Round 20 would be a good look at the very least. There's no doubt both clubs have underachieved in 2016 with injuries running rampant throughout Trent Barrett's squad.

The Sea Eagles have the most turnaround days competition-wide in the final seven weeks of the regular season. A well-rested outfit should result in an emptier casualty ward, while three afternoon Brookvale Oval games should bring the fans back in droves.


Run home: Roosters (H), Cowboys (A), Rabbitohs (H), Raiders (A), Sea Eagles (A), Broncos (H), Sharks (H). 

Home/Away split: 4/3.

Turnarounds: Five days – one; six days – two; seven days – two, eight days – one; nine days – one. 

Key clash: Melbourne's Round 26 clash against Cronulla could be the decider for the minor premiership. The finals will start one week early as the Storm look to avenge their early-season defeat to the brilliant Sharks. An eight-day turnaround beforehand will only help Melbourne's cause.

Skipper Cameron Smith wasn't pleased with the five-day turnarounds his Storm side were faced with earlier in the year, so it must come with some delight they'll only have one of them in the final seven weeks of the season. Games against the Roosters, Rabbitohs and Sea Eagles should be easy-pickings for the Storm, but they'll finish the season with huge clashes at AAMI Park against Brisbane and Cronulla.


Run home: Sharks (A), Sea Eagles (A), Bulldogs (H), Panthers (H), Titans (H), Rabbitohs (H), Dragons (A). 

Home/Away split: 4/3

Turnarounds: Six days – three; seven days – two; eight days – two. 

Key clash: The Knights might not win another game this year but they should surely be up for this week's game against the Sharks – who beat them 62-0 earlier in the season. In what will be the David v Goliath tale of 2016, with Newcastle will be out to end the Cronulla's lengthy winning streak.  

The Knights may be destined for their second straight wooden spoon but their run home isn't that difficult, with wins achievable in almost every one of the final five games (four of them at home). Only time will tell if an unlikely charge off the bottom of the table beckons. 


Run home: Bulldogs (H), Storm (H), Wests Tigers (A), Roosters (A), Warriors (H), Bulldogs (A), Titans (H). 

Home/Away split: 4/3

Turnarounds: Five days – one; six days – one; seven days – one; eight days – one; nine days – two; bye turnaround after Round 19.

Key clash: North Queensland played the Storm in Round 10 and were only edged out by a Cameron Smith field goal. Revenge will be on their mind in Round 21. With State of Origin well and truly finished, friendships will be thrown out the window in the race for a top-two berth. 

Upcoming games against the Storm and Bulldogs (twice) will separate the men from the boys. If the Cowboys are to become the first team to win back-to-back competitions in a unified competition since 1993, they'll surely make light work of the Tigers, Roosters and Titans. A top-four berth is likely but will depend on the form of their returning hoard of Origin stars.


Run home: Titans (A), Wests Tigers (H), Sea Eagles (H), Broncos (A), Raiders (A), Dragons (H), Warriors (A)

Home/Away split: 3/4

Turnarounds: Six days – three; seven days – two; eight days – one; nine days – one. 

Key clash: The key clash for the Eels is their very next game against the Titans. The only way Parramatta could possibly make the finals would be by winning all their remaining seven games. The Titans are coming off a huge win over the Dragons in Round 19 and won't be cannon fodder for the Eels. 

The Eels were stripped of 12 competition points not even 12 hours after their Round 18 win over the Roosters. As a result, they now find themselves sitting above only the Roosters and Knights on the table. While they have to win every remaining game to give themselves any chance of finals football, they'll have to do so while dealing with trips to Brisbane, Canberra and New Zealand in the final month of the regular season.


Run home: Broncos (A), Warriors (A), Roosters (H), Knights (A), Wests Tigers (H), Titans (A), Sea Eagles (H)

Home/Away split: 3/4

Turnarounds: Five days – two; six days – one; eight days – three; nine days – one. 

Key clashes: Penrith's Round 21 clash with the Warriors in New Zealand and their Round 25 match-up with the Titans on the Gold Coast will go a long way in separating the teams who are currently mashed together between seventh and 10th. Penrith's for-and-against isn't as flashy as their upcoming opponents', making it even more vital they win those games. 

The Panthers will probably need to win their remaining home games (against the Roosters, Wests Tigers and Sea Eagles) to give themselves a chance. Two five-day turnarounds and trips to Brisbane, New Zealand, Newcastle and the Gold Coast will make life difficult for the mountain men, with at least two away wins necessary to make the eight.


Run home: Sea Eagles (H), Raiders (H), Storm (A), Warriors (A), Sharks (H), Knights (A), Bulldogs (A)

Home/Away split: 3/4

Turnarounds: Five days – one; six days – three; seven days – one; nine days – two. 

Key clash: Like the Eels, the Rabbitohs have only a mathematical chance of making the finals and would need to win all their remaining games to be a hope. Anything but a win against Manly this week would spell the end of their season.

On their day the Rabbitohs are world beaters, and they'll need to be exactly that in their final seven games of the year. A two-week stretch of away trips to Melbourne and New Zealand makes their challenge an even bigger task, while four turnarounds of six days or fewer won't help their cause.


Run home: Wests Tigers (H), Bulldogs (A), Broncos (H), Sharks (H), Roosters (A), Eels (A), Knights (H).

Home/Away split: 4/3

Turnarounds: Five days – two; six days – one; eight days – two; nine days – two.

Key clash: A local derby against the Sharks in Round 24 headlines the Dragons' run home. The Sharks are short-priced favourites to finish the regular season with the minor premiership but who better to throw that into disarray than their old rivals? The Dragons were pumped by 28 points the last time these two met, and more than just pride is on the line this time around.

One of many teams log jammed in and around eighth spot, the beauty of the Dragons' draw is that their Round 16 win over Newcastle was the last time they'll have to travel further than Sydney in the regular season. In saying that, a three-game stretch of matches against the Bulldogs, Broncos and Sharks (with a five-day turnaround beforehand thrown in for good measure) could make or break their season prior to must-wins against perennial strugglers Roosters and Newcastle.


Run home: Storm (A), Broncos (H), Panthers (A), Cowboys (H), Dragons (H), Sharks (A), Broncos (A)

Home/Away split: 3/4

Turnarounds: Five days – three, six days – two, seven days – one, nine days – one. 

Key clash: The Roosters are no shot of making the finals. With the most difficult run home in the NRL, their Round 25 clash against the Dragons is the game they're most likely to win. Only three points currently separates them from the wooden spoon as the hunt for their fourth win of the season continues. 

Poor form, injuries and a spectacular fall from grace will resign the Roosters to the bottom four in 2016. With three five-day turnarounds to come and all their remaining games being against clubs still in finals contention, life is set to get even more difficult for the Tricolours. The Roosters are the only team entitled to feel jilted by the late-season scheduling. 


Run home: Raiders (A), Panthers (H), Titans (A), Rabbitohs (H), Cowboys (A), Wests Tigers (H), Eels (H)

Home/Away split: 4/3

Turnarounds: Six days – one; seven days – four; eight days – two. 

Key clash: The Warriors' Round 24 clash up in North Queensland will be a good measuring stick for them if they're to play past the first week of September. It's their second-longest road trip behind last week's visit to Perth, and at such a crucial point of the season a win against the reigning premiers would look good on their résumé. 

A total of 28 competition points is usually the required amount to play finals football. The Warriors are four wins from that mark and still have four games up their sleeve at Mt Smart Stadium – winnable ones at that against the Panthers, Rabbitohs, Tigers and Parramatta. While trips to Canberra, Gold Coast and Townsville could throw the cat amongst the pigeons, they should at least be well rested between games with six of their remaining seven turnarounds being a week or longer. 


Run home: Dragons (A), Eels (A), Cowboys (H), Titans (H), Panthers (A), Warriors (A), Raiders (H)

Home/Away split: 3/4

Turnarounds: Six days – three; seven days – one, eight days – one; nine days – one; bye turnaround after Round 19. 

Key clash: The finals aren't out of reach but it's likely their Round 26 clash against the Raiders at Leichhardt Oval will be the Tigers' last chance to send retiring vice-captain Dene Halatau (and maybe others) out a winner.

While the Tigers don't have an overly difficult run home, consistency remains a challenge for them. They will need to win at least five of their remaining seven games to make the top eight. With a trip to Auckland and a game against reigning premiers North Queensland to come, a finals berth remains a long-shot for the Tigers.

This article first appeared on

Acknowledgement of Country

Canberra Raiders respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.