NRL Tips – Qualifying Finals, 2017

If you haven’t checked out the deep dive in this year’s finals yet, I urge you to do so. I’ve sliced the finals every which way imaginable but for the record, here’s my bracket that will almost certainly be destroyed within fifteen minutes of the first game:

2017 finals bracket.PNG

Here’s why I tipped the way I did.

Draw

brisbane-sm Brisbane (16-8) @ sydney city-sm Sydney City (17-7)

If you’re only going to tune into one final this weekend, not only would I question your presence on this blog (shit’s about to get a whole lot harder), but I would recommend it be this game because it’s the only one paper that might be close.

The Roosters come into this slight favourites, having finished higher on the ladder and playing at home. The regular season record was one win a piece, although the aggregate score of 48-24 is well in the Donkeys’ favour. It’s tighter than Sam Kasiano’s jersey.

One of the big question marks is whether Brisbane are any good without Darius Boyd. Kodi didn’t have a great game as his replacement in fullback but returns to the number 1 jersey this week but given Derrius’ performance against Parramatta, his absence may be more boon than bane.

I think Brisbane will get this. Despite everything they’ve done to me this year, I reckon they have it in them.

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Analysis – A deep dive into the 2017 NRL Finals

It’s finals time!

They may be all smiles now but come October, seven of these men will have failed in the quest to win the 2017 NRL premiership, joining the eight that have already been eliminated over the last few months. Let’s have a look at who they might be.

What history tells us

1995 was the first season with a top eight finals structure. Prior to that, it was top five and in 1998 only, it was top ten. Here’s where on the ladder every premiership winner from 1995 to 2016 came from:

gf positions

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NRL Projections Update – Round 26, 2017

Results

brisbane-sm Brisbane 20 (16-8) d north qld-sm North Queensland 10 (13-11)

parramatta-sm Parramatta 22 (16-8) d souths-sm South Sydney 16 (9-15)

sydney city-sm Sydney City 20 (17-7) d gold coast titans-sm Gold Coast 16 (7-17)

manly-sm Manly 28 (14-10) d penrith-sm Penrith 12 (13-11)

melbourne-sm Melbourne 32 (20-4) d canberra-sm Canberra 6 (11-13)

cronulla-sm Cronulla 26 (15-9) d newcastle-sm Newcastle 18 (5-19)

canterbury-sm Canterbury 26 (10-14) d st george illawarra-sm St George Illawarra 20 (12-12)

wests tigers-sm Wests Tigers 28 (7-17) d warriors-sm New Zealand 16 (7-17)

Ladder Compare

Normally, we’d run through the Collated Ladder but this week, being the end of the regular season and the real ladder is far more accurate (being complete and all), I thought I’d compare the different systems to see how their rankings stack up:

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Club Report – Wests Tigers

wst-lgBackground

Wests Tigers have won one premiership. The year was 2005 and a young Benji Marshall side-stepped an entire league to lead his team to an extremely unlikely victory over grand final debutants, the North Queensland Cowboys. The Tigers had finished the regular season in fourth, behind the Eels, Broncos and Dragons.

The Tigers were formed in 2000 from a merger of the Western Suburbs Magpies, a team the NSWRL had been trying to get rid of for years, and the Balmain Tigers. The resulting joint venture has struggled for success beyond their fairytale year but never have hit the rock bottom of receiving a wooden spoon. It’s been six years since the Tigers featured in the finals and a year or two of re-building is ahead before they may make another appearance.

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NRL Tips – Round 26, 2017

We did it, guys! We made it to the end of the season. If you’re like me, it’s been a slog. It’s certainly the most committed I’ve been to watching large, sweaty men smashing into each other for many years. Making it so far has not been aided by my truly terrible tipping performance but you’ve come this far, we may as well see it through.

Draw

brisbane-sm Brisbane (15-8) @ north qld-sm North Queensland (13-10)

This is, without a doubt in my mind, the biggest rivalry in the NRL. You might have mistakenly thought it was Easts-Souths but that the two games earlier this year had an attendance of about half of those who turned up to Suncorp in round 3 tells a different story.

You, being a bit on the slow side, might have also mistakenly thought that copping a belting at the hands of the Eels would have dented the Broncos’ confidence in any meaningful way. Nothing could be further from the truth and I don’t say that because I’ve repressed any memory of last Thursday night with large quantities of liquor.

The Cowboys’ season is on the line, although they can still make the finals even if they lose and the Dragons win. This should provide additional motivation but North Queensland’s lineup is looking tender and bruised after a long, difficult season. If they do make the finals, they’ll need most of their current lineup to still be in one piece if they are to succeed.

I can’t go past the Broncos to settle this one and hopefully by more than one point.

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NRL Projections Update – Round 25, 2017

Results

parramatta-sm Parramatta 52 (15-8) d brisbane-sm Brisbane 34 (15-8)

canberra-sm Canberra 46 (11-12) d newcastle-sm Newcastle 28 (5-18)

north qld-sm North Queensland 22 (13-10) d wests tigers-sm Wests Tigers 14 (6-17)

canterbury-sm Canterbury 26 (9-14) d gold coast titans-sm Gold Coast 14 (7-16)

melbourne-sm Melbourne 64 (19-4) d souths-sm South Sydney 6 (9-14)

sydney city-sm Sydney City 16 (16-7) d cronulla-sm Cronulla 14 (14-9)

manly-sm Manly 22 (13-10) d warriors-sm New Zealand 21 (7-16)

st george illawarra-sm St George Illawarra 16 (12-11) d penrith-sm Penrith 14 (13-10)

Collated Ladder

Now to look ahead to see what the Collated Ladder has predicted for the final standings of the season.

The Collated Ladder is a bit useless now and I’m mostly just publishing it for completeness. For example, it strangely has both Brisbane and North Queensland losing their final round face-off, which is a relic of the way the ladder comes together. Look at the Stocky column for a better bet:

  • 90% of a last win – Sydney
  • 80% of a last win – Melbourne, Parra
  • 70% of a last win – Penrith, St George
  • Approx 50:50 – Brisbane/NQ and Cronulla/Newcastle

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Club Report – Canberra Raiders

can-lgBackground

What a team the Canberra Raiders were in the early 1990s. As one of the NSWRL’s first expansion teams in 1982, the Raiders made five grand finals between 1987 and 1994 (that’s seven years!). Of those five grand finals, Canberra won three of them in 1989, 1990 and 1994. Jason Croker, Mal Meninga, Ricky Stuart, Laurie Daley, Brett Mullins, Gary Belcher, Glenn Lazarus, Craig Bellamy, Tim Sheens – the list of top players in those premiership winning sides is almost endless.

Since then, it’s been a whole lot of nothing. The Raiders have been poor but not so bad that they even find themselves at the bottom of the ladder. 2016 was a year of redemption, finishing second on the ladder, the momentum of which they have blown throughout the 2017 season and they will be lucky to make the finals.

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