The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official view of the Queensland Rugby League.


THE 2013 Intrust Super Cup premiership is the Northern Pride's to lose.


The finals are just one month away and in my opinion, there are seven teams in contention for five play-off places.


The team that wins this year can rightfully claim to be among the best of the past decade due to the competition's exceptionally high standard this season.


Even the Sunshine Coast Sea Eagles are not an automatic win anymore.


The five-team finals series sees the minor premiers have a bye in week one with teams two and three playing a qualifying final and teams four and five playing an elimination final.


The race to the finals is made even more thrilling via a draw which sees many play-off hopefuls play each other.


Here are my predictions as to which teams will make the finals and be best positioned for a premiership tilt.


The cut-off for contenders for me is the seventh placed North Devils on 22 competition points.


The remaining teams from one through to sixth place are Northern Pride (32 competition points), Mackay Cutters (28), Tweed Heads Seagulls (25), Easts Tigers (24), Wynnum Manly Seagulls (24) and Ipswich Jets (24).


A cut-off of 28 points appears likely for finals entry but because of the ladder log jam from places three through five, a team's for-and-against will prove decisive.


Of the three teams on 24 points, Easts Tigers differential of plus 178 means they are certainties to qualify if they win two of their remaining four games.


Which leaves Wynnum Manly, the Jets and Devils fighting for fifth place.


Looking at the remaining games it is almost guaranteed the Pride, who have a bye this weekend, will win the minor premiership.


The seventh-placed Devils need to win three of their remaining four games and have to dramatically improve their for-and-against (minus 83) so form suggests they will miss out on the finals.


The Jets face an easier run home than most thanks to a bye this weekend but have a poor for-and-against of minus six and just three games to arrest it.


The Jets face the Devils, Redcliffe Dolphins and Burleigh Bears in the last three rounds and all are expected victories for the Walker brothers.


Wynnum Manly, with a for-and-against of plus 28, come off back to back losses and are grieving the tragic death of coach Graham Murray.


They have two easier games in the Capras and Sunshine Coast but they also face Easts Tigers and in the last round the Pride.


The Tigers also face the Pride in their remaining four rounds and have winnable games against the Sea Eagles and Souths Logan Magpies.


Tweed Heads, which hold a relatively poor for-and-against of plus 15, face Devils and Cutters in the run home but should win games against the Dolphins and Capras.


The Cutters (for-and-against of plus 51) round 23 clash against Tweed Heads will decide who earns second or third place on the ladder, with week one home ground advantage up for grabs.


Ultimately, my prediction for the finals finishing order is: Pride, Tweed Heads, Cutters, Tigers and Jets.


The Pride's record at home means a grand final is near certain with their likely combatants the Tigers or Jets.