The run home: How each of the title hopefuls sit with two rounds to go

Melbourne Storm

Melbourne have been completely dominant this season, and have locked up top spot with a couple of rounds to spare. They'll finish out their regular season with two home games against the Rabbitohs and Raiders - it remains to be seen how Craig Bellamy will go about rotating his star players in those last couple of contests, but heavily resting players hasn't worked out well for them in the past.

Possible finish: 1st

Brisbane Broncos

Brisbane have a top four finish firmly in their sights, and would need a string of results to go against them to drop into the bottom half of the finals bracket. To miss out on a second-chance in the play-offs they would have to lose to the fifth-placed Eels in a crunch game this Thursday, have Cronulla beat the Roosters and then have all three of those teams win in round 26.

Possible finish: 2nd-5th

Sydney Roosters

After beating the Tigers, Trent Robinson's men are now all-but assured of a top four spot. If they beat the Sharks this week it's locked in, but a last-round win against the hapless Titans would be enough due to for and against.

Possible finish: 2nd-6th

Cronulla Sharks

The defending premiers sit two points behind the Roosters, but a win by more than a single point this weekend would see them trade places. They finish up with a suddenly tricky fixture away at the Newcastle Knights, and although it's nearly impossible, a pair of losses to end the year and a run of wins for everyone below them could see a dip all the way down to eighth place.

Possible finish: 2nd-8th

Parramatta Eels

A resurgent Parramatta have secured their first finals appearance since 2009, and could even sneak into the top four if they win both of their remaining games and other results go their way. Like the Sharks, they could drop past the likes of Penrith, Manly and North Queensland if results don't favour them.

Possible finish: 2nd-8th

Penrith Panthers

Finals are practically locked in after that win over Canberra and now, an outside chance at the top four looms. If the Panthers win this week and both the Sharks and Eels lose, they could be fourth with a round remaining and a crunch game with Manly rounding out their regular season schedule. If they lose both and other results go against them, they could still miss out - but it's unlikely.

Possible finish: 3rd-9th

Job nearly done: Matt Moylan and the Panthers are almost assured of a finals spot, and are an outside shot at the top four.

Job nearly done: Matt Moylan and the Panthers are almost assured of a finals spot, and are an outside shot at the top four. Photo: AAP

Manly Sea Eagles

After Sunday's disaster against the Bulldogs, Manly's top four hopes have all but evaporated, and now they need to be careful not to lose their spot in the finals altogether. If the Dragons and Raiders can both get to 28 points, Manly's inferior for and against would see them drop behind both.

Possible finish: 4th-10th

North Queensland Cowboys

The Cowboys are limping to the finish line as they continue to lose cattle but are now in danger of missing out altogether. They'll face the Tigers at Campbelltown this week before playing Brisbane in the final round of the season - and the Broncos would surely love to cost their Queensland rivals a finals spot.

Possible finish: 4th-10th

On the brink: The North Queensland Cowboys could miss out altogether.

On the brink: The North Queensland Cowboys could miss out altogether. Photo: AAP

St George Illawarra Dragons

Everything was looking rosy for the Dragons a couple of months ago, but now they're more likely than not to be watching the finals from home in a couple of weeks. This week's game against the Panthers is huge, while they close out the season with a winnable game against the Bulldogs at ANZ - just winning that game could be enough, but they likely need to take four points in the next fortnight.

Possible finish: 6th-11th

Canberra Raiders

A horror home loss on Sunday afternoon has all but ended Canberra's season, but they are not mathematically out of it just yet. It's not beyond the realms of possibility that the Cowboys or Manly lose both of their remaining games (or the Dragons lose at least once), so that would leave the Raiders with a shot of making it should they beat the Knights and Storm in their final two games.

Possible finish: 7th-11th

This story The run home: How each of the title hopefuls sit with two rounds to go first appeared on Brisbane Times.