Is this the year that the NRL’s famous top-four curse will be broken?
The odds are now better than ever for James Tedesco and Cameron Murray.
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No team outside the top four has won since the NRL era, with Canterbury having that honor in 1995.
But rarely has there been this caliber of finalists outside of the four, with Melbourne, the Sydney Roosters, South Sydney and Canberra all having to do anything but anything for a month to win the title.
“To be honest, anyone could win,” Roosters captain Tedesco said.
“Probably the top two or top four have been the dominant teams in recent years.
“But look at how this season ended, a lot of those teams in the bottom half of the eight beat the top teams.”
The final experience is added to Tedesco’s argument.
Outside of Penrith, none of the remaining top four have reached even a tentative final since Cronulla’s 2018 appearance.
Since then, bottom four Melbourne, Souths the Roosters and Canberra have each played in at least one major final.
At least one of these teams has also played in all bars four of the grand finale this century.
“You usually see a lot of these teams in the top four,” Tedesco said.
“And you’ve got like the sharks and cowboys that haven’t been there before. It’s getting interesting.”
Tedesco’s comments come after Craig Bellamy said last week it was inevitable that one day a team from outside the Four would win the trophy.
At the same time, however, the Storm boss is aware that the fact that they will not be playing in Melbourne after this week will make his team’s task significantly more difficult.
Souths captain Murray also backed Tedesco’s call, with the Rabbitohs and Roosters the top scoring teams in the league since the representative round.
But only one of the two will fight on in week two, with one set to be eliminated after Sunday’s elimination final.
“This form of winning always counts during the last series. It’s pretty competitive this year from eight to one,” said Murray.
“Of course it’s not ideal (finishing outside the top 4). They want that backup opportunity.
“But at the same time, if you know in the back of your mind that you don’t get second chances, there might be a little more motivation to play a little bit better.”
Realistically, however, all sides know they are hunting Penrith.
Murray and Tedesco named the Panthers the standouts at Monday’s captain’s start, with the latter also citing their week one opponents at Parramatta as the other leading contender.
“Whoever wins this game (on Friday) is going to be pretty close to going all the way,” Tedesco said.
“Parra definitely hit her hardships.
“They’ve probably been inconsistent all year, but against top teams they’ve been really good lately.
“So they could definitely knock off Penrith and they could go all the way.
“If Penrith wins I think they will make it to the grand finals and they will be hard to beat too.”
– with AAP
https://7news.com.au/sport/rugby-league/who-will-win-the-nrl-grand-final-stars-say-famous-top-four-premier-rule-in-real-danger-of-obliteration-c-8128300 Who will win the NRL Grand Final? Stars say the famous top 4 premier reign is truly in danger of being wiped out