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NRL: Wide-open race for grand final glory

With four teams deadlocked at the top end of the NRL ladder and just two points separating the top six, the race for title looks to be wide open this season.

Reigning champions Penrith Panthers are leading the way once again and might still be considered the team to beat this year.

Here’s a look at the teams challenging near the top and their chances of going all the way to lift the trophy at the Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane on 1st October.

Panthers leading the charge…just

Leading the way on points difference after their first 16 games of the NRL campaign, reigning champs Penrith are making a good fist of their title defence.

With 11 wins and just five defeats in that time, Penrith have largely been able to pick up where they left off last season and overcome their early-season disappointment of a World Club Challenge defeat at the hands of Super League champions St Helens.

Penrith have a target on their backs but Ivan Cleary’s side are the favourites at 3.00 to go all the way in win the grand final this season. 

Broncos and Rabbitohs tied in the betting

Both Brisbane Broncos and South Sydney Rabbitohs both find themselves at 6.00 to win the title this year.  

With Souths currently down in eighth place in the standings and four points behind Brisbane, who have played a game less, that might come as a surprise.

The Rabbitohs however will have a chance to make up ground on Friday 21st July as they face the Broncos to the Sunshine Coast Stadium.

It looks set to be an intriguing contest in Queensland and one that will be grabbing attention from across the country as two title contenders clash at Bokarina.

Sharks, Raiders, Warriors and Storm also in the picture

Such is the nature of the NRL ladder at present, there are a handful of other teams that will harbour real ambitions of being crowned champions this year.

The Cronulla Sharks, Canberra Raiders, New Zealand Warriors and Melbourne Storm are all firmly on course for a top-eight finish and will be looking to pick up momentum before those all-important knockout games.

The Sharks are 13.00 to win the grand final this season, with Raiders 23.00, the Warriors 21.00 and the Storm currently at 7.00.  

With teams jostling for position it’s all shaping up nicely for the end of the regular season and the exciting knockout clashes to follow.

Penrith have the title and it’s now up to the rest to try and wrestle the trophy from the Panthers.

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