NRL Projections Update – Round 20, 2017

The Broncos kicked off round 20 by throttling the Bulldogs. Brisbane were on from the gun and Canterbury were in the contest for the first twenty minutes before conceding late tries before half time. The Broncos returned after the break firing and after securing a series of repeat sets in the third quarter, ran the Bulldogs to exhaustion and piled on the points.

The Knights are almost not worth commenting on anymore. One try came in the thirtieth minute for Newcastle but otherwise it was one-way traffic to Bondi. The Roosters accumulated tries throughout the game to run out comfortable winners. Souths were never in the contest against Cronulla. There was a whiff of upset but the Sharks showed up early, used their league-leading defence to keep the error-riddled Rabbitohs at bay and didn’t leave themselves too much work to do, to the delight of the home crowd.

Saturday saw three wins with each going the way they were expected to but with none decided by more than twelve points. The Titan succumbed to the Panthers at Pepper Stadium. Gold Coast had an early lead and went into half time near even but Penrith took control in the second half and took the win. In Canberra, the Raiders reinforced their reputation for crappy discipline with some big, late hits on Storm players. That didn’t stop Melbourne from outplaying the home team but injury concerns for the Storm now hang over their premiership chances. North Queensland played out a scrappy contest with New Zealand in Townsville. The Cowboys made fewer errors and had just enough attacking panache to outpace the Warriors and carry the two points.

In the Tips post, I suggested that despite the massively lopsided nature of this round, a couple of upsets were still on the cards. The Dragons duly obliged by obliterating the Sea Eagles. Manly were down by thirty at half time and nearly managed to drag themselves back into it before Saints re-accelerated and left them behind. At ANZ, a western Sydney derby played out in front of 30,000 people. They were treated to a close contest, albeit one with a significant number of errors. Parramatta just edged out Wests with a field goal in the final ten minutes. The Tigers were unable to respond and sank.

Round 20 Results

brisbane-sm Brisbane 42 (12-6) d canterbury-sm Canterbury 12 (6-11)

sydney city-sm Sydney City 28 (13-5) d newcastle-sm Newcastle 4 (2-15)

cronulla-sm Cronulla 26 (12-6) d souths-sm South Sydney 12 (6-12)

penrith-sm Penrith 24 (9-9) d gold coast titans-sm Gold Coast 16 (7-11)

melbourne-sm Melbourne 20 (14-4) d canberra-sm Canberra 14 (7-11)

north qld-sm North Queensland 24 (12-6) d warriors-sm New Zealand 12 (7-11)

st george illawarra-sm St George Illawarra 52 (10-8) d manly-sm Manly 22 (11-7)

parramatta-sm Parramatta 17 (11-7) d wests tigers-sm Wests Tigers 16 (4-14)

Continue reading “NRL Projections Update – Round 20, 2017”

Analysis – Golden Point is (close to) a coin toss

In 2003, the Golden Point system was introduced to decide games that were drawn at full time. Prior to that, instead of the two points awarded to the outright winner, the drawn teams would split the points and take home one competition point each.

Golden Point continues play for a further ten minutes after full time in two five minute halves or until a team scores at least one point, winning the game. A field goal is the most common way these games are decided. If the game has no points scored after the ten minutes, then the game remains drawn and the teams share the points.

I don’t love it and I think it’s a crapshoot.

(Crap-shoot or craps-hoot? One sounds more fun than the other)

Look! Here’s some evidence to suggest it is a craps-hoot.

Continue reading “Analysis – Golden Point is (close to) a coin toss”

NRL Tips – Round 20, 2017

Let’s be honest. This round doesn’t seem to offer much in the way of comedic potential and I use “comedic” in its loosest possible sense because I’m not actually funny. But I try hard and isn’t that really what life is about? No, it’s not. It’s about getting tips right.

Round 20 has eight lopsided meetings. Six of the eight are a pairing of a top eight team against a bottom eight team and the other two aren’t much chop either. To demonstrate, I will forgo the usual jocularity in favour of cold hard stats, just to drive the point home.

Having said that, with eight games at an average of 67% chance for each of the favourites, you’d expect around 2.5 upsets per round. I don’t see why round 20 would be any different because God himself has singled me out to not get a perfect round this year. It’s like a trial from the Bible but involving less infanticide.

The Manly-St George match-up is the only meeting of top half teams, even though the Dragons haven’t played like a top eight team in months and will shortly cease to be in finals contention. At the other end, the Panthers-Titans game is a meeting of bottom eight teams with both sides showing form: Penrith taking a win would make it three running and the Gold Coast would be four on the trot. If it buckets down in Penrith, maybe the Titans will slip-and-slide to victory.

I’ll go back to roasting crap teams next week but man, it’s not even worth doing for this weekend. They’ll suffer enough.


canterbury-sm Canterbury (6-10) @ brisbane-sm Brisbane (11-6)


  • Greeks: 70% average
  • Betting markets: 74%
  • tippers: 94%
  • Plus home ground advantage

Continue reading “NRL Tips – Round 20, 2017”

NRL Projections Update – Round 19, 2017

Nathan Cleary confirmed his future superstar status by carrying the Penrith Panthers on his back, leading them to a win over the Warriors to open round 19. His elephantine performance had Penrith in control for the last sixty minutes of the game leading to only the Warriors’ second loss at Mt Smart Stadium this year. Canberra got home in golden point over St George Illawarra in a game that it looked like no one wanted to actually win. After an exchange of wayward field goal attempts, the game wrapped up 14-all at full time. The Raiders pushed on with a 40/20 from Aidan Sezer giving them the field position to set up the golden try.

The Broncos were at risk of a post-Origin loss to the Knights. It seemed like it might head that way when Newcastle led 12-6 at half time. A fired-up Broncos returned to the field and put the sword to the Knights, coming home comfortable winners. On the Gold Coast, torrential rain led to some questioning whether the game should continue. It did because they are professional football players and taking bodily risks is part of the job description. In what I would have described as the biggest upset of the season if it hadn’t already happened in round 8, the Titans dominated the Sharks, not even giving them the opportunity to claw their way back in.

Manly made their win over Wests a lot harder than expected in front of a packed Brookvale Oval. Despite the Sea Eagles scoring two tries in the first ten minutes, the Tigers managed to go into half time in front. Manly kicked it up a gear in the second half and ran in three unanswered tries to pick up the two points. The Rabbitohs took the final game of the round to Cairns and were promptly battered into submission by a rampant Cowboys side. North Queensland barely had to get into gear before building a solid lead that Souths were never able to threaten. The conclusive win for the Cowboys was not enough to lift them further up the ladder.

Round 19 Results

penrith-sm Penrith 34 (8-9) d warriors-sm New Zealand 22 (7-10)

canberra-sm Canberra 18 (7-10) d st george illawarra-sm St George Illawarra 14 (9-8)

brisbane-sm Brisbane 34 (11-6) d newcastle-sm Newcastle 22 (2-14)

gold coast titans-sm Gold Coast 30 (7-10) d cronulla-sm Cronulla 10 (11-6)

manly-sm Manly 28 (11-6) d wests tigers-sm Wests Tigers 16 (4-13)

north qld-sm North Queensland 23 (11-6) d souths-sm South Sydney 10 (6-11)

Continue reading “NRL Projections Update – Round 19, 2017”

NRL (& Origin) Tips – Round 19, 2017

Despite being a post-Origin round, if everyone sticks to the form guide for a change, it should be a somewhat easy round to tip. That said, I’ve had a shocking year so I don’t doubt that there will be some “upsets” as I would prefer to think of them but what everyone else calls “blindingly friggin obvious”.


nsw-sm New South Wales (49-2-59) @ qld-sm Queensland (59-2-49)


Sure, why not? I don’t know anything and I’ve tipped both games wrong. Queensland fixed their game up after the first round. The Maroons will be playing at a packed Suncorp Stadium with standing room only. The poetic justice would be sweet if the NSW “dynasty” lasted for a game and a half.

I’m going to give you some free advice, New South Wales. You can’t build a dynasty on Mitchell Pearce and James Maloney. James Tedesco is pretty good but if Nathan Peats was any good, he’d be playing for a team other than the Titans. None of these guys are the once-in-a-generation players that have been at the core of the Maroons for the last decade and by sheer dint of coincidence, managed to be in the same state side. Instead the Blues have good, even great, players who are not future Immortals. That is why it will not be a dynasty but it may be more even in future. On that basis, I may start flipping a coin next year because it’s as good as any other system.

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Club Report – St George Illawarra Dragons


St George Illawarra were the first club to form from a merger of the 1980s expansion team Illawarra Steelers and the second most successful NSWRL premiership side of the St George Dragons. The team met early success in their first year, reaching the 1999 grand final and going down to the then newly minted Melbourne Storm.

Through the 2000s, the Dragons were always a threat, regularly making finals appearances. This period of strength reached its peak at the end of the decade with back-to-back minor premierships under Wayne Bennett with Darius Boyd, Jamie Soward and Brett Morris and winning the big one in 2010. Leaner years have followed recently, with the Dragons appearing in only one finals series since 2012. Nonetheless, the Dragons stormed off to flying start this year and remain in contention for a final appearance.

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NRL Projections Update – Round 18, 2017

Round 18 was a round of 3.5 upsets. It opened in Sydney with the “fiercest” local derby rugby league has to offer. Souths reverted to their mean performance of the year and Easts, minus a few Origin stars, managed to keep a lid on their opponent’s dysfunctional attack. I think under normal circumstances, the Roosters would have brought it home more comfortably but the Bunnies were odds-on favourites after last week’s thrashing.

As of the time of writing, people were still complaining about the lopsided penalty count in favour of the Panthers, who hosted the Sea Eagles on Saturday. Ignoring the ‘it’s just raising revenue’-style of argument, Manly also committed more errors and missed two conversions. Ill-discipline is one thing but losing to Penrith and ending the excellent run was an unpleasant surprise, especially with His Saltiness playing. Down in Melbourne, the Eels sprinted out to an early lead over the Storm and never looked back. By halftime, they were up three tries to one. Without their stars, Melbourne were unable to get back in the contest, going down to Parramatta.

Sunday brought the most exciting game, which is surprising considering it involved the 14th placed Bulldogs against the last placed Knights. Newcastle edged out to an almost unassailable lead at Belmore with ten minutes to go but due to a mix of poor play and bad luck that is unique to the Knights, managed to fall behind with fifteen seconds remaining. A short kick-off and a wayward attempt at penalty goal sealed the defeat for Newcastle. Canterbury celebrated like they’d done something significant but really they should have won the game by half time and never lost the lead.

Round 18 Results

sydney city-sm Sydney City 14 (12-5) d souths-sm South Sydney 12 (6-10)

penrith-sm Penrith 16 (7-9) d manly-sm Manly 8 (10-6)

parramatta-sm Parramatta 22 (10-7) d melbourne-sm Melbourne 6 (13-4)

canterbury-sm Canterbury 20 (6-10) d newcastle-sm Newcastle 18 (2-13)

Continue reading “NRL Projections Update – Round 18, 2017”