League: There's all to play for in race to the top eight

There might be some consternation about the predictability of rugby league but the same can't be said for the race for the top eight.

In fact, it looks like going down to the wire, with 13 of the 16 teams in with a chance of making the playoffs.

Last night, the Raiders improved their chances by blitzing the Titans and moving ahead of the Gold Coast outfit on the NRL table.

They were pre-season favourites for the wooden spoon but are now genuine contenders for the eight given they still have games against the Bunnies, Cowboys and Bulldogs to play.

On present form, it looks inconceivable that the Titans can recover from a slump that has netted them only two wins from their last nine games.

Wayne Bennett's Broncos appear to be hitting form at the right time of the season and improved their chances of finishing in the top four after an important 18-12 win over the third-placed Sharks. The 2006 champions have one of the more favourable draws of the top eight contenders.

The Eels kept alive their slim hopes on Friday night with an uninspiring 16-4 win over the hapless North Queensland Cowboys.

They will need to improve significantly if they are to trouble the top eight, given they lacked passion, imagination and spark against North Queensland in a game described by many as the worst of 2008.

The Warriors can afford to lose against the defending champion Storm this afternoon but will likely need four wins from their six remaining games to sneak into the top eight.

The Rabbitohs can effectively kiss their chances goodbye if they slip up at the Knights this afternoon. They rekindled their chances with a run of five straight wins but look to have left themselves too much work to do after a dreadful start to the season.

RUN HOME TO THE NRL FINALS

Sea Eagles: Roosters (a), Panthers (h), Storm (h), Rabbitohs (a), Tigers (a) Titans (h), Panthers (a)

Storm: Warriors (a), Titans (h), Sea Eagles (a), Roosters (h), Panthers (a), Knights (a), Rabbitohs (h)

Sharks: Dragons (h), Rabbitohs (h), Warriors (a), Roosters (h), Tigers (a), Cowboys (h)

Roosters: Sea Eagles (h), Cowboys (a), Eels (h), Storm (a), Sharks (a), Rabbitohs (h), Dragons (h)

Broncos: Raiders (h), Warriors (a), Dragons (h), Titans (h), Bulldogs (a), Knights (h)

Dragons: Bulldogs (h), Sharks (a), Tigers (h), Broncos (a), Warriors (h), Eels (h), Roosters (a)

Titans: Storm (a), Knights (h), Cowboys (a), Broncos (a), Sea Eagles (a), Tigers (h)

Panthers: Tigers (h), Sea Eagles (a), Raiders (a), Bulldogs (h), Storm (h), Warriors (a), Sea Eagles (h)

Raiders: Broncos (a), Panthers (h), Knights (h), Rabbitohs (a), Cowboys (a), Bulldogs (h)

Tigers: Panthers (a), Bulldogs (h), Dragons (a), Eels (a), Sea Eagles (h), Sharks (h), Titans (a)

Warriors: Storm (h), Rabbitohs (a), Broncos (h), Sharks (h), Dragons (a), Panthers (h), Eels (a)

Knights: Rabbitohs (h), Eels (h), Titans (a), Raiders (a), Cowboys (h), Storm (h), Broncos (a)

Eels: Knights (a), Roosters (a), Tigers (h), Bulldogs (a), Dragons (a), Warriors (h)

Rabbitohs: Knights (a), Warriors (h), Sharks (a), Sea Eagles (h), Raiders (h), Roosters (a), Storm (a)

- Herald on Sunday

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