The Sydney Roosters have dismissed suggestions the NRL title race is shaping up as a two-team battle between the premiers and the table-topping Melbourne Storm.
The league's two most dominant forces of the 21st century, boasting seven grand final triumphs between them from 15 appearances in title deciders, are on course to clash in the showpiece match of the season for the second straight year.
But Roosters five-eighth Luke Keary, the 2018 Clive Churchill Medallist, has made the startling claim that as many as a dozen teams can still win the competition four rounds out from the finals.
"If you make the finals, anything can happen. You've just got to get yourself there," said Keary, ahead of the Roosters' clash with the 11th-placed Warriors on Sunday at the SCG.
"It's a quality competition. You've seen teams beat teams from all parts of the ladder.
"So once you're in the finals, it changes into a different competition and anything can happen."
Nor does superstar fullback James Tedesco believe it's a two-horse race for premiership glory.
"No, not at all," Tedesco said.
"The teams in the eight, even teams outside the eight, can still make a run for it.
"You've got the top four at the moment but then you've got Parra and Manly who are playing some really good footy.
"Anyone on their day can sort of make a run for it. We've just got to stay concentrated on our game and go week to week and keep improving until the finals."
Despite dominating the Storm in the 2018 grand final, Tedesco believes Melbourne - heading for their third minor premiership in four seasons after being pipped by the Roosters on for and against last year - remain the competition's benchmark outfit.
"Melbourne's consistency ... they're always at the top of the table and obviously Craig does a great job with them down there," he said.
"We're probably similar, but Melbourne are six points ahead in the competition at the moment so they're obviously a bit of a head above the rest of us.
"But every time we come up against them, it's always a tight game and I think it's going to be interesting at the end of the year."
Keary says it's imperative that the Roosters keep their eye on the ball and secure a top-two finals berth having beaten Canberra last week to take outright possession of second place on the ladder.
"There is an advantage there obviously," Keary said.
"We really enjoy playing at the SCG too so it would be nice to get a home final."
© AAP 2019