Worrying stat that could turn NRL finals hopes into a battle for the wooden spoon

Canterbury and Wests Tigers will need to break a 20-year hoodoo if they go on to play finals footy this year but don’t get a win this weekend.

That’s according to Fox Sports Stats numbers, which also show nine teams during the NRL era finished with the wooden spoon after being stuck on one win at this point in the season.

As we head into round seven, this is the weekend a lot of footy analysts traditionally view as the time of the season where the field settles and we really start to get a good guide on where most teams are headed.

The Panthers and Storm are the obvious standouts, and behind them are the Sharks, Eels, Roosters, Sea Eagles and Rabbitohs – who most think will end up in the eight but just need to determine in which order.

That’s excluding the Cowboys, who are seventh on three wins, and the Warriors in ninth and also on three wins. With due respect to both, they remain part of a logjam of nine clubs in a battle for potentially one remaining finals spot.

What is important for all fans to take note of is that right now, history says every team is still in premiership contention.

But what the numbers also say is that winning this weekend could be the difference for as many as seven clubs – those on two wins or fewer – having a shot at the playoffs or sliding into that wooden spoon battle.

Dead last on the ladder with one win and the worst points differential. Just to make a bad situation worse, the Dogs have been smashed with a Covid outbreak on the eve of Friday’s crucial clash in Brisbane.
While you wouldn’t have said the Dogs would be a definite top-eight team this year, there was certainly a level of optimism after a much-hyped recruitment drive.
But the results have been massively underwhelming, and if they don’t beat the Broncos this weekend, it could be a long end to the season if you take history as a guide.
People won’t remember there was a Covid outbreak this week – they just look back at the wins and losses. And dating back to 1998, only three teams have finished this round with one win and still played finals footy. The last to do so was the Raiders and Dragons, in 2002. One win doesn’t make a season, but the Easter Monday boilover certainly may have saved it for Michael Maguire’s team.
During the NRL era, no team has gone through the opening six rounds without a win and then played finals footy. As relieving as the win over Parramatta was, the records also show if the Tigers don’t back it up against the Rabbitohs on Saturday, it’s almost certain they won’t be alive come September. There is also the dreaded wooden spoon hanging over their head.

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