Results from Round 18, bonus points and points differential will all have a bearing on who takes out the minor premiership and who sneaks into the first week of sudden death football.
There’s still some jostling for places in the top six on the line as well, as clubs do the maths on who they may face in Qualifying Finals kicking off on Saturday 10 August.
With permutations aplenty, we’ve cast our eye over what’s at stake for each of the finals contenders.
Warringah, Eastwood and Sydney University are all guaranteed a spot in the finals, but can also each finish on top should results go their way.
Eastwood face finals hopefuls Eastern Suburbs at Woollahra, while the Rats take on Southern Districts knowing a bonus point win guarantees a first-place finish.
Sydney take on West Harbour in the Pirates final game of the season, and their last at Concord Oval before the ground is redeveloped. With their position in the top 3 secure, will the Students go all out for top spot – and hope for other results to fall their way – or cool their heel for week one of the finals?
Norths are also a lock for week one of the finals and set to gain little from their clash at home with Randwick, but will no doubt be looking to finish the regular season strongly.
Manly will watch on from the sidelines in Round 18 knowing they’ll play finals next weekend, but could finish fifth pending Norths result against Randwick.
Eastern Suburbs and Gordon are ultimately the two teams fighting it out for a place in the six. The Stags need a win over the last-placed Two Blues, and will be cheering on Eastwood to get a result at Woollarah Oval – knowing a superior points difference could be their ticket to finals football.
The final regular round of the Shute Shield between Eastern Suburbs and Eastwood will be broadcast on 7TWO at 3pm on Saturday 3 August.