NRL Projections Update – Round 23, 2017

Results

souths-sm South Sydney 28 (8-13) d canterbury-sm Canterbury 14 (7-14)

newcastle-sm Newcastle 29 (5-16) d parramatta-sm Parramatta 10 (13-8)

brisbane-sm Brisbane 32 (14-7) d cronulla-sm Cronulla 10 (13-8)

st george illawarra-sm St George Illawarra 42 (11-10) d gold coast titans-sm Gold Coast 16 (7-14)

melbourne-sm Melbourne 16 (16-5) d sydney city-sm Sydney City 13 (14-7)

penrith-sm Penrith 24 (12-9) d north qld-sm North Queensland 16 (12-9)

canberra-sm Canberra 36 (10-11) d warriors-sm New Zealand 16 (7-14)

wests tigers-sm Wests Tigers 30 (6-15) d manly-sm Manly 26 (12-9)

Collated Ladder

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

Melbourne are currently sitting on sixteen wins and are projected to take eighteen. With three games to go and playing very well, that might be more like nineteen by the end of the regular season. Brisbane and Sydney City close out the top three spots, just as they do now. Both sides are going to stay at least four points off the pace.

The remaining spots are interesting. Penrith in the top four? They’re currently only two points off Cronulla, who are not playing well. Three wins for the Panthers and two for the Sharks would not be a surprising outcome. The Collated Ladder also has the Cowboys not far off the pace and there’s not much to separate them – Stocky wins and Pythag are very close for all three. Fourth place is very important as almost all of the premiership winners of the last twenty years have finished in the top four.

Continue reading “NRL Projections Update – Round 23, 2017”

NRL Projections Update – Round 22, 2017

I’m running a bit short on time this week, so I’ll dispense with the usual round up of matches and dive straight into it.

Actually, I’ll take one moment to say that I watched five of the eight games on the weekend (missed the Saturday fixtures) and the Souths-Saints game was the best of the lot. It might be because my expectations were so low but that was a hell of a finish from the Bunnies.

Round 22 Results

parramatta-sm Parramatta 20 (13-7) d canterbury-sm Canterbury 4 (7-13)

souths-sm South Sydney 26 (7-13) d st george illawarra-sm St George Illawarra 24 (10-10)

melbourne-sm Melbourne 26 (15-5) d north qld-sm North Queensland 8 (12-8)

newcastle-sm Newcastle 26 (4-16) d warriors-sm New Zealand 10 (7-13)

brisbane-sm Brisbane 54 (13-7) d gold coast titans-sm Gold Coast 0 (7-13)

canberra-sm Canberra 30 (9-11) d cronulla-sm Cronulla 12 (13-7)

manly-sm Manly 36 (12-8) d sydney city-sm Sydney City 18 (14-6)

penrith-sm Penrith 28 (11-9) d wests tigers-sm Wests Tigers 14 (5-15)

Continue reading “NRL Projections Update – Round 22, 2017”

NRL Projections Update – Round 21, 2017

I think rugby league historians prefer the expression “dour” when they really mean “boring” game. The Panthers-Bulldogs match on Thursday night will not be making much of an impression in the record books and so I think we’re safe to use the expression “boring”. The teams went to the break at Pepper Stadium even but we all knew something from the Panthers was coming and they delivered, scoring two more tries and taking the win.

The Sharks were never in any real doubt against the Warriors in Auckland on Friday night. The Warriors out-errored the league leaders in the field and lost out in possession, the kicking game and the game overall to the Sharks. The Broncos were in the picture in the first half against the Eels, sprinting out to a twelve point lead in the first ten minutes. The Eels got level quickly and kept the Broncos’ playmakers quiet and out-muscled their forward pack. Jonus Pearson was a liability on the Brisbane wing, slipping over half a dozen times, while Corey Norman and Mitchell Moses have formed a solid combo in the Eels’ halves, steering Parramatta to a win.

After dismantling Manly the week before, the question was “Are St George good again?” The answer was a resounding “no”. Everything went the Knights’ way for a change in front of a good turnout in Newcastle. With only a narrow lead at half time, the expectation was that the Knights would fade away but they kept the Dragons out and sealed the win with a late try and field goal. Taking a 3-1 try lead into the break, Canberra were in control of their rendezvous with Souths. The Raiders eventually took the win after the full eighty, despite a late consolation try for the Bunnies, avoiding the need for the childish meltdowns that has marked more recent Canberra losses. At Allianz, the Cowboys stormed to an early lead and looked in pole position to take a somewhat surprising win. The Roosters showed why they are in contention for this year’s minor premiership and overall premiership by pegging the Cows back to even and then taking the lead by the three-quarter mark. The Roosters kept the Cowboys at bay for the remaining quarter of the tense affair to take the two points.

Melbourne demolished Manly on Sunday afternoon for Cameron Smiths’ 350th game. The Sea Eagles were only down by six at half time before the Storm monstered their way through the second half to take a commanding win. Manly have now suffered two big losses in a row, raising questions over their form. On the Gold Coast, the Titans basically handed the Tigers a win on a platter. Any time the Gold Coast looked dangerous or in a scoring position, they managed to drop the ball or pass it forward. Wests’ execution was cleaner and netted them two points in an otherwise unentertaining game.

Round 21 Results

penrith-sm Penrith 16 (10-9) d canterbury-sm Canterbury 8 (7-12)

cronulla-sm Cronulla 26 (13-6) d warriors-sm New Zealand 12 (7-12)

parramatta-sm Parramatta 28 (12-7) d brisbane-sm Brisbane 14 (12-7)

newcastle-sm Newcastle 21 (3-16) d st george illawarra-sm St George Illawarra 14 (10-9)

canberra-sm Canberra 32 (8-11) d souths-sm South Sydney 18 (6-13)

sydney city-sm Sydney City 22 (14-5) d north qld-sm North Queensland 16 (12-7)

melbourne-sm Melbourne 40 (14-5) d manly-sm Manly 6 (11-8)

wests tigers-sm Wests Tigers 26 (5-14) d gold coast titans-sm Gold Coast 4 (7-12)

Continue reading “NRL Projections Update – Round 21, 2017”

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 (6-12)

sydney city-sm Sydney City 28 (13-5) d newcastle-sm Newcastle 4 (2-16)

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”

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 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 (7-10) d newcastle-sm Newcastle 18 (2-14)

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

NRL Projections Update – Round 17, 2017

Parramatta and Canterbury kicked off round 16 on Thursday night at ANZ. The Eels opened with a solid first half and collapsed into a terrible second half, letting the Bulldogs back in to a game they should have stitched up with twenty to go. The right team got up in the end on golden point but the Eels made it much harder on themselves than necessary.

The Titans and Dragons went head-to-head down the Coast, resulting in a semi-surprising win for the home team. St George looked like they’d forgotten how to play and the Gold Coast played their usual unvarnished but somewhat effective brand of football to bring it home. Meanwhile, I watched the Broncos get absolutely demolished by the Storm. They were never in the game and were shown up by the best in the business. The win moves Melbourne four points clear of the chasers on the ladder.

I thought that would be the biggest win of the round but then the Roosters were destroyed by the Sharks at Gosford, going down by thirty-two points. It reinforces my view that the Roosters are not consistent against top teams and the Sharks tend to thrive on a strange combination of adversity and weakness. The Warriors nearly snuck one past the Sea Eagles, racing off to an early 14-0 lead before being pegged back by half time and then overhauled in the second half. It was close but Manly seemed in control, taking the win on a wet Perth evening. As I expected, the Cowboys got the better of the Raiders in freezing conditions – as mentioned unnecessarily often on the broadcast and social media – at GIO Stadium. Canberra only looked to be in the game for the first quarter against North Queensland before being worn down to a childish, punchy tantrum of a side that may as well write 2017 off.

Just as my tips were getting good, Newcastle lost the Spoonbowl, and now they will very likely “win” the Wooden Spoon. The Tigers ran riot against a below average Knights outfit, who resume last place on the ladder with Tigers still having a bye in hand. Penrith took an early lead against Souths and looked to be in control until Sam Burgess got sent off for fighting, firing up the Rabbitohs leading them to pile on forty-plus points. The win puts the Rabbitohs back into this season’s calculations, albeit at a significant disadvantage, and returns a question mark over the Panthers.

Round 17 Results

parramatta-sm Parramatta 13 (9-7) d canterbury-sm Canterbury 12 (6-10)

gold coast titans-sm Gold Coast 20 (6-10) d st george illawarra-sm St George Illawarra 10 (9-7)

melbourne-sm Melbourne 42 (13-3) d brisbane-sm Brisbane 12 (10-6)

cronulla-sm Cronulla 44 (11-5) d sydney city-sm Sydney City 12 (11-5)

manly-sm Manly 26 (10-5) d warriors-sm New Zealand 22 (7-9)

north qld-sm North Queensland 31 (10-6) d canberra-sm Canberra 18 (6-10)

wests tigers-sm Wests Tigers 33 (4-12) d newcastle-sm Newcastle 12 (2-13)

souths-sm South Sydney 42 (6-9) d penrith-sm Penrith 14 (6-9)

Continue reading “NRL Projections Update – Round 17, 2017”