Five Key Points - Sharks v Bulldogs

1 Its tight at the top
Incredibly the top eight teams were separated by just two competition points at the completion of the 25-round regular season.

The Sharks were one of four teams on 34, made up from 16 wins and the two points from their bye, finishing fourth behind the Roosters, Storm and Rabbitohs on for-and-against.

Then two behind that with 32, were the next four in the Panthers, Broncos, Dragons and Warriors.

With the closeness of the top eight, all indications are that the upcoming Finals series will be an exciting one for the fans, with winners, and an eventual premier, difficult to predict.

It's tight at the top, with all eight teams remaining likely to have the belief that they can go all the way and come out on top in four weeks' time. We said it 2016 and can say it again now - why not us?

2 He can score 'em, and set 'em up
Valentine Holmes added to his try tally with a second half touchdown in the win over the Bulldogs, his 21st of the year in setting a new mark for tries in a season for the Cronulla club.

So we all know he can score 'em, but Holmes showed on Sunday at ANZ Stadium that he can set 'em up as well.

Holmes was a constant menace with ball in hand, drawing the attention of defenders with almost every possession, and in adding to his second half try also three times threw the final pass for the men outside him to score.

Twice Sosaia Feki was the recipient, on the other occasion Kurt Capewell the beneficiary.

It was a classic example of what the modern fullback can and is expected to do, with Holmes's ball playing, coupled with his running game and try scoring ability, making him one of the most valuable players in the competition heading into week one of the finals.

3 Selection dilemma - again
Last week Five Key Points highlighted the fact that Shane Flanagan was likely to have some difficult selection decisions to make once his entire backline was fit and available.

Just a week ago, the versatile Kurt Capewell was outstanding in the win over the Knights, while Josh Dugan moved into the centres and played with the physicality and class he displays when representing NSW and Australia.

However, at his post-match press conference, Flanagan hinted he will try to find room for Ricky Leutele and Jesse Ramien in his team for their first round finals match next Saturday.

Nobody envies the decisions he will be forced to make, Capewell again combining brilliantly with Holmes and his outside man in Sosaia Feki in the Bulldogs win.

On the other side of the field, it would take a brave man to move a representative centre in Dugan to the wing or to another position.
The good news is, all players mentioned have been in good form, the bad news, someone is going to miss out.

Coaches say these are good situations to be in, better than having little or no options due to injury or suspensions, but it does set up a selection dilemma for the Sharks coach.

4 Happy home coming for Woods
He wasn't there for very long, but at least for a short while Aaron Woods called the Bulldogs his footballing home.

Halfway through the season he made the move over to the Sharks and since that time has made every post a winner.

The Sharks are certainly happy to have him, Woods pleased to be at a club readying themselves for a finals series campaign.

Woods again played his role to perfection on Sunday, running for almost 150 metres and making 37 effective tackles in 60 minutes on the field.

He has been a valuable addition through the nine matches he's played for the Sharks and is likely to be crucial to the team's chances of beating the Roosters next week and making a run towards the NRL title.

It was a happy homecoming of sorts for Woods, who avoided early mad Monday celebrations with his midyear switch and looks forward to having an impact in the big games ahead with his new club.

5 Stay at home Sharks
Heading into round 25 all indications were the Sharks were set for a road trip to Melbourne to face the Storm in the first week of finals.

The Storm were first and looking home and hosed for the minor premiership, the Sharks pretty much a lock for fourth position, meaning the two teams that fought out the 2016 Grand Final were set to meet up next weekend.

Then the Storm lose to the Panthers on Friday, the Roosters win big on Saturday and go past them on percentages and the finals equation changes dramatically.

The Sharks kept up their end of the bargain by beating the Bulldogs in locking up fourth and rather than booking flights on Monday morning, they were preparing themselves for an all-Sydney qualifying final on Saturday.

So now that the dust has settled, the finals draw completed, and the venues and kick-off times confirmed, the Sharks will stay at home and meet the Roosters in an intriguing match-up at Allianz Stadium next Saturday night.