Analysis – Another bloody mid-season review (Part I)

With the conclusion of round 13, it’s half time in the 2017 NRL season. It’s the ideal time to do what everyone else is doing and look back at the season so far. This week we’re looking at the first eight clubs that come up in alphabetical order.

Part II to come next week.

Benchmarks

There are some important benchmarks to consider when looking ahead to the end of the season.

Firstly, let’s look at the regular season. I’ve tallied up the average number of wins for each position, the average for-and-against and the number of teams with a negative for-and-against for each spot on the ladder. The dataset covers 1998 to 2016, so there are some inconsistencies from seasons which had twenty or fourteen teams and where points penalties were applied to the 2002 Bulldogs, 2016 Eels and 2010 Storm.

The main takeaways are that twelve wins should get you into the finals and eighteen should get you the minor premiership. Six or seven wins will still only get you the bottom spots on the ladder (unless the 2016 Knights are playing).

Continue reading “Analysis – Another bloody mid-season review (Part I)”

Club Report – Newcastle Knights

new-lgBackground

Feared in the 2000s and now at the league’s nadir in the 2010s, the Newcastle story is definitely one of ups and downs. Founded in 1987 as an expansion to the NSWRL, Newcastle were early successes, taking their first premiership in 1997 during the ARL/Super League split. Andrew Johns led the team to a second premiership in the united competition in 2001.

The wheels of the club came off not long after his retirement. A string of scandals followed. In 2011, the Knights were bought by Nathan Tinkler whose subsequent bankruptcy pushed the team into NRL ownership. Since then, the team has consistently underperformed. Their 2016 season, where Newcastle finished with just one win, one draw and the wooden spoon, was the only time in the NRL’s history that a team has finished with fewer than three wins. This season is not going much better for them. While I don’t claim to be a Knights fan, it is difficult not to feel for the loyal fans who haven’t got much to look forward to.

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