How Do The Rugby League Playoffs Work?

After the regular season has concluded the best 8 teams in the National Rugby League (Australia’s premier rugby league competition advance to the playoffs.

The playoffs last for 4 weeks culminating in the NRL Grand Final where a champion is declared. The NRL Grand Final always takes place in Sydney, NSW and is played at the Olympic Stadium.

What Teams Play In NRL finals?

The top eight teams during the NRL regular season advance to the finals. The teams are ranked on a ladder over 24 games and are awarded 2 points for a win, 1 point for a win and 0 for a loss. The 8 teams with the most points advance to the NRL finals.

If teams are tied who ever has a better for and against total advances to the finals.

For example if Team A and Team B are ranked 8 on the NRL ladder with both accumulating 30 points during the regular season but Team A scored 100 points and only had 40 points scored against them while Team B scored 90 points and had 50 points scored against them then Team A advances to the NRL finals. 

Where Is NRL Grand Final Played

The NRL grand final is always played in Sydney, New South Wales at the Olympic Stadium in Homebush. There have been plans for future Grand Finals to be played in Melbourne but so far that hasn’t occurred.

All other NRL playoff games are played wherever a side has home advantage. For example a playoff game between Brisbane Broncos and Melbourne Storm will be played in Brisbane if the Broncos were higher in the NRL ladder than the Storm.

However, the other Sydney teams even if they have secured home field advantage for their side are forced to play at the Olympic Stadium or the Sydney Football Stadium as the NRL playoff crowds are often too big for local stadiums to contain.

What Happens If A NRL Playoff Game Is Drawn?

If a NRL playoff game is drawn, extra will be played. The teams will play two 5 minute halves, whoever has the highest score after the 10 minutes wins. If teams are still tied, golden point will occur with the first team to score being declared the winner.

If an NRL playoff game is tied at the end of regulation time the two sides will have a small break like a mini half time. Then a coin toss will occur to determine which side will receive the ball. Then one side will kick off and the sides will play one half of 5 minutes followed by a second 5 minute half.

The side with the highest score after the full 10 minutes will win the NRL playoff game and progresses to the next round of playoffs. If the two sides are still tied they will then move to golden point. Whichever side scores first in golden point wins the match and moves on in the NRL playoff bracket.

What Happens in Round 1 Of NRL Playoffs?

During round 1 of NRL playoffs the eight teams are divided into two groups of four, the top 4 teams who were positioned 1 to 4 on the NRL ladder and the bottom 4 teams were positioned 5 to 8 on the ladder.

The number 1 side (minor premiers) play the 4th ranked side while the 2nd ranked team plays the 3rd ranked team. The top 2 sides get home field advantage during their NRL playoff game.

None of the games played between the top 4 teams are elimination matches. However, the winners earn a bye and the right to home field advantage in the preliminary final (semi-final) game. While the losers have to play again next week in an elimination match.

In the bottom 4, number 5 plays number 8 while the 6th ranked side battles the number 7 side. All of these games are elimination matches and the 5th and 6th ranked sides have home field advantage. The winners of these games go on to face the losers of the top 4 matches

What Happens In Round 2 Of The NRL Playoffs?

During round 2 of the NRL playoffs the 2 top 4 teams who lost their first match play the 2 bottom 4 sides who won their first match. The two winners of these matches progress to the preliminary finals where they face the two top 4 sides that won their first match.

The top 4 ranked sides who lost their first NRL finals games will play the winners of the clashes between the bottom 4 sides. Whichever side is highest rank will play the lowest rank side. For example if the number 1 ranked side lost and the number 8 side won, they will play each other in this round of the NRL playoffs. 

The top 4 ranked sides also have won the right to home field advantage during this NRL playoff game. These are all elimination matches and whoever loses will have their season ended.

The top 4 ranked sides who managed to win their first NRL finals games get the luxury of bye during round 2 of the NRL playoffs. They get extra valuable time to rest and recover so they are at 100% for their preliminary final game. They will play the winners of the matches that occur in round 2.

What Happens In Round 3 Of The NRL Playoffs?

In round 3 of the NRL playoffs the winners of the qualifying finals from the first week play the winners of the semi-finals from the second weeks in preliminary finals. The winners of these matches book their place in the NRL Grand Final.

The winners of the preliminary finals enter the NRL Grand Final. While the losers have to pack their bags as their NRL season is over.

The winner of the first qualifying final plays the winner of the second semi-final, and the winner of the second qualifying final plays the winner of the first semi-final. This system ensures that no two teams can play each other more than once during the NRL finals.

The top 4 winning sides benefit from a prolonged recovery after coming off a bye and also get to host the game in their home state and if they are a non Sydney team in their home stadium. These games occur on Friday night and Saturday night.

What Happens In Round 4 Of The NRL Playoffs?

In round 4 of the NRL playoffs the grand final occurs. The NRL Grand Final is contested by the two winners of the preliminary finals and always takes place in Homebush, Sydney at the Olympic Stadium early Sunday evening. Whoever wins is declared the NRL champions and lifts the premiership.

Any team from the top 8 has a chance at making it to the NRL Grand Final and becoming premiers. However, home-field advantage and the ability for top 4 teams to secure a bye is very powerful. Currently, no NRL who has ranked 7th or 8th on the NRL ladder has won the Grand Final. 

The location of the NRL Grand Final never changes. This is the one game in the NRL playoffs that the higher ranked team can not secure home-field advantage for. The NRL Grand Final has always been played in Sydney and since its construction has always been contested at the Olympic Stadium in Homebush.

Recent Posts