New Zealand Warriors back in with a chance
TWO wins from their past six games had the Warriors staring down the barrel of yet another late season collapse before Sunday's emphatic seven try 42-0 win over the Gold Coast Titans revived their NRL playoff hopes.
They now have their fate in their own hands and an away win over Penrith next Sunday night will book their place in the top eight while they will hope other results fall their way to help improve their playoff prospects.
If North Queensland were to lose their next two games, against the struggling Sharks in Townsville tonight and against Manly also at home on Sunday, and fifth- plcaed Melbourne beat eighth-placed Brisbane on Friday, and Canterbury lose to the Gold Coast on Sunday, the Warriors could do the unthinkable and claim fifth or sixth to play the elimination final in Auckland.
A defeat to the fourth-placed Panthers would all but spell the end unless the Raiders beat the Eels on Saturday and the Storm beat Brisbane by nine points or more to give the Warriors a points-differential advantage.
Warriors captain Simon Mannering was pleased his side is once again in control of their own destiny and said it was up to them how far they can advance up the premiership ladder.
"It's pleasing to have that being the case and not having to worry about other teams," Mannering said after the final regular season home game. "I guess before going into this one, if you worry about the points differential and all that too much it takes away from just getting that win first and foremost. We did that this week and we get to put all our focus on Penrith. I guess our playoffs start early and if we get the two points there then we're in the eight and that's in our own hands."