NRL First Quarter Grades

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2013 has completely flown by, evidenced by the fact that the NRL season is six rounds in. This means that it is time for the quarterly NRL grades. For those who aren’t my friends on Facebook and did not see my grading last year, I analyse each team’s performance based on simply the numbers. I also add in some comments regarding the performance of the team to try to explain the numbers. Nothing too complicated, just simple stuff.

In the first 6 rounds of 2012, 1769 points were scored at an average of 18.43 points per team per game. This is only 4 fewer than the first 6 rounds of 2012, where 1773 points were scored. The first quarter in 2012 was the lowest scoring quarter in 2012, hence the first quarter of 2013 is lower than all of the quarters in 2012. This could be attributed to teams lacking to adapt to the new obstruction rules that were introduced this year (which were also tweaked after 4 rounds). When comparing the points per game scored by each team, the standard deviation of the first 6 rounds is 24.8, compared with 29.4 over the same period in 2012. When comparing points conceded per game, the standard deviation is much larger, as in the first quarter of 2012 it was 23.8 and in the first quarter of 2013 it was 30.7. This would suggest that the ability of the defence dictates the amount of points that are scored in games, as opposed to the ability of the attack. Of course this is a small population, so this may not be the case but it is what the numbers are suggesting.

A

Melbourne: 6-0

The defending premiers just keep on keeping on and just like last year, they are the only unbeaten team after 6 rounds of the NRL season. Melbourne has scored 26.5 points per game over the first 6 rounds, which is ranked number 1 in the NRL. This is down from the first quarter of 2012 where they scored 33 points per game but more than the total 2012 average of 24.1. In defence, the Storm has conceded just 14.3 points per game so far in 2013 to be 4th in the league. This is higher than the 13.2 points per game that the Storm conceded in the first 6 rounds of 2012 but lower than the 15 points per game conceded through the entire 2012 campaign. Still, these are very impressive stats. The most impressive player for the Storm in 2013 so far has to be Cooper Cronk. He is the perfect example of what hard work can do for anyone. Melbourne is again the benchmark and it will be difficult for any team to knock them off their perch. In 2013, The Storm has 3 wins from 3 games both at home and away. They won 9 home games in 2012 and 8 away games, so it appears that they will at least meet these totals in 2013, if not better them. Melbourne has been strongly challenged twice at home by the Tigers and Canterbury, both who are near the bottom of the ladder. Yet they were still too good to win both games. Away from home, the Storm has notched up impressive wins against the Cowboys, Brisbane and South Sydney. Over the next 6 games, Melbourne has 4 home games and 2 away matches, which are listed below. Two interesting games in these next 6 are in rounds 10 and 11, where the Storm play fellow top 4 teams Manly and the Roosters.

Next 6 games: vs Warriors (Thu, 7:00pm), vs Canberra (Sat, 5:30pm), at Penrith (Sun, 6:30pm), vs Manly (Mon, 7:00pm), at Roosters (Sat, 7:30pm), vs Cronulla (Sun, 6:30pm).

South Sydney: 5-1

My pre-season premiership prediction has started 2013 with a bang, winning 5 straight games before falling to Melbourne in Round 6. At times, they haven’t looked overly impressive but they have still gotten the job done. In the higher profile games, the Rabbits have shown the ability to take their game to another level. Provided they stay fairly healthy, they will again be in the mix deep in September. In attack, Souths have scored 22.8 points per game in the first 6 rounds of 2013, which is ranked 4th in the league. This is more than the 19.8 points per game that they scored in the first quarter of 2012 but lower than the average of 23.3 points scored per game in the whole 2012 season. Defensively, the Rabbits have conceded 17.5 points per game and are ranked 8th in the NRL. This is less than both the 19.7 conceded in the corresponding period last year and the entire 2012 average of 18.3. There have been many South Sydney players who are in good form, but the most impressive has been Sam Burgess. He is very close to being the best forward in the world, if he isn’t already. Burgess has provided the grunt and go-forward which has given the superstars in the backline room to move. At home Souths are 1-1 and away from home, they have won all 4 games. In 2012, the Rabbits won 9 home games and 7 away games. Away from home, they look like eclipsing their 2012 total as they have already notched up an impressive away win against the Roosters. Souths will need to replicate their 2012 home form if they are to again finish in the top 4, but their only home loss has been to Melbourne so they won’t face any more home games as tough as that one. Over the next 6 games, Souths have 3 home games and 3 away games. The most notable game is a Round 7 blockbuster at Brookie against Manly.

Next 6 games: at Manly (Fri, 7:45pm), at Brisbane (Fri, 7:35pm), vs North Queensland (Fri, 7:35pm), vs Wests (Fri, 7:35pm), at Cronulla (Mon, 7pm), vs Newcastle (Sat, 7:30pm).

Manly: 5-1

Well, I picked this team to finish 11th before the 2013 season started. I feel like a complete moron for doing so. This team still proves it can still match it with the best in the NRL, despite their age. It remains to be seen if Manly can keep up this good start to the season. The Eagles have scored 23.2 points per game so far in 2013, which is more than the 19.7 per game in the first quarter of 2012 and the total season average of 20.7. Manly is currently ranked 3rd in the NRL in attack. However they are currently positioned near the top of the ladder on the back of their league-best defence. Manly has only conceded an astonishing 9 points per game, which is far lower than the 16.8 points per game which was the average in both the first quarter of 2012 and the entire 2012 season. This strong start to the season has been without star back rower Glenn Stewart. Anthony Watmough has stepped up in his absence and has been rewarded with another test jersey as a result. Manly once again has shown that they indeed have a home ground advantage as they have won all 3 of their home games in 2013. Two of these wins included shut outs against Newcastle and the Tigers. Away from home the Eagles are 2 from 3, with their only loss a close one at the Gold Coast. In 2012, Manly won 9 games at home and 7 games away. It looks like they are well on the way to matching and possibly beating these tallies. In their next 6 games, Manly again have 3 home games and 3 away games. There are some potentially great games as they play Souths in Round 7, the Roosters in Round 9 and Melbourne in Round 10. Not the easiest schedule, to say the least.

Next 6 games: vs Souths (Fri, 7:45pm), at St George Illawarra (Mon, 7pm), vs Roosters (Mon, 7pm), at Melbourne (Mon, 7pm), vs Canberra (Sun, 2pm), at Warriors (Sun, 4pm).

B

Sydney Roosters: 4-2

No team had more hype going into 2013 than the boys from Bondi and rightfully so too. Their star recruits have lived up to expectations as they currently sit inside the top 4. The Roosters have scored 24 points per game, which is better than the average for all four quarters in 2012. This improvement has resulted in the 2nd best attack in the NRL at the moment. In defence, they have conceded only 11 points per game, which is far lower than all four quarters in 2012 and the 2012 season average of 26.1 per game. The Roosters have not allowed a point in three of the last four games, which is an unbelievable effort. Again, this significant improvement has seen the Roosters possess the 2nd best defence in the league. James Maloney has been a significant purchase for the Chookies. His indifferent form of 2012 is now in the rear-view mirror and looks quite settled. He has in career-best form and should be rewarded with his first NSW origin jersey. NSW fans (like me) are hoping that he can help end the streak and bring the Origin shield back south of the border.  At home, the Roosters have won 3 games out of 4, with the only loss being against Souths. In 2012, they only won 5 home games, so this total looks like being surpassed. Away from home, the Roosters are 1 from 2 games. The loss at Canberra might be one they look at later in the season, which they wished that they had again. Yet, they only won 3 games away from home in 2012, so the Roosters are a good chance of beating that total. Over the next 6 games, the Roosters have 3 home and 3 away games. Key matches include ANZAC Day against the Dragons in Round 7, visiting Manly in Round 9 and playing Melbourne in Round 10.

Next 6 games: vs St George Illawarra (Thu, 4pm), vs Penrith (Sun, 3pm), at Manly (Mon, 7pm), at North Queensland (Sat, 7:30pm), vs Melbourne (Sat, 7:30pm), at Parramatta (Fri, 7:45pm).

Gold Coast: 4-2

There was very little hype surrounding the Titans before the 2013 season, but they have made other teams and followers of the NRL aware of their ability. This may be the biggest team across the park of all time and they are matching their size with brute grunt, well almost all of the team. The Titans have scored 21.7 points per game so far in 2013, which is much higher than the 12.3 per game in the first 6 rounds of 2012 and the total 2012 average of 18.7. They are currently ranked 5th in the league in attack. In defence, the Gold Coast has conceded 18.3 points per game, which is the tied-5th best defence in the NRL. This is slightly better than last season’s average of 18.5 per game and the average over the same period in 2012 where 19.7 points per game were conceded. Albert Kelly has provided an instant impact for the Gold Coast as he has filled the void at halfback that was vacated at the end of last season. However, if the Titans are to stay up near the top of the ladder, they need Kelly’s partner in crime Aidan Sezer back on the field. He has missed the past couple of games due to injury and the Titans have not looked as threatening without him. At home, the Titans have won 3 from 4 games, which is only 1 less than last season’s total home wins. The only loss was against Brisbane, but one of these wins was a very impressive win over Manly. Away from home, the Gold Coast has won 1 from 2 games, with the only defeat coming at the hands of a very emotional Cronulla team in round 1. This 50% away win ratio is the same as in 2012, as they won 6 from 12 games outside of the glamour strip. Over the next 6 rounds, the Titans play 3 games at home and 3 away from home. In this stretch, they play both Queensland rivals with a trip to Brisbane in Round 10 and a home game against the Cowboys in Round 12.

Next 6 games: vs Newcastle (Sun, 2pm), at Warriors (Sun, 2pm), vs St George Illawarra (Sun, 3pm), at Brisbane (Fri, 7:35pm), at Parramatta (Sun, 3pm), vs North Queensland (Sun, 3pm).

Newcastle 4-2

The Knights have been hot and cold to start the season. At times, they have looked like world beaters, showing great attacking potential. At other times, they are just content to play ‘Bennett Ball’. Still, they are currently in 5th. This is mainly due to their strong defence, which has conceded just 14.2 points per game and is the 3rd best in the NRL. This is much better than the 2012 average of 20.3 per game but only just better than the 15.2 conceded per game in the first rounds of 2012. In attack, Newcastle has scored 21.3 points per game, which is greater than the 16.3 points per game scored over the first 6 rounds of 2012 and the total 2012 season average of 18.7. This attack is ranked 6th in the league, despite being held to single figures on two occasions in 2013 so far. The worry for Knights fans is the piling injury and suspension list. Key signings Jeremy Smith and Beau Scott, as well as five-eight Jarrod Mullen are out for considerable periods due to suspension or injury. They will need unsung players such as Robbie Rochow, Adam Cuthbertson and Tyrone Roberts to take up more responsibility. At home, the Knights are 4 from 4. By doing so, they only have one fewer home win already than their entire 2012 tally. They are making Hunter Stadium somewhat of a fortress again. Away from home is a different story as the Knights are winless from 2 games. They only won 5 games away from home last season, so there is still time to surpass this. The Knights would want to start learning how to win away from home, as 4 of their next 6 games are away from home. The toughest clashes include trips the Gold Coast in Round 7 and to South Sydney in Round 12.

Next 6 games: at Gold Coast (Sun, 2pm), vs Cronulla (Sun, 2pm), at Canberra (Sun, 2pm), vs Canterbury (Sun, 3pm), at Warriors (Sun, 2pm), at Souths (Sat, 7:30pm).

C

Brisbane 3-3

The Broncos were quite poor in the opening three rounds of the season, but picked up their form over the last few weeks. In particular, their attack has shown a lot more potency. Over the first 6 games, the Broncos have scored 17.7 points per game, which is lower than the average over the first 6 games of 2012 (22.3) and the total 2012 season average (20). This attack is ranked 8th in the NRL. Their defence on the other hand has been quite strong for the most part in 2013. Brisbane’s defence is ranked tied for 5th in the league, having conceded 15 points per game so far in 2013, which is on par with the average of the first 6 games in 2012. However, this is better than the total 2012 defensive average of 18.6 points per game. There have been no real stand out players for Brisbane so far in 2013, but Justin Hodges is the key. In attack, he has provided some very classy touches and showed why he has been a fixture in the Queensland and Australian teams for so long. At home, the Broncos have only won 1 game out of 3 played. They won 7 games at home last year, so there is some improvement needed if this tally is to be equalled. However, both losses were against the teams coming 1st and 2nd (Melbourne and Manly). Away from home, Brisbane has won 2 from 3 games. The Broncos are well on the way to surpassing their total of 5 wins in 2012. This includes an impressive win over the Titans. Over the next 6 weeks, Brisbane will play 3 games at home and 3 away from home. Matches of note include home games against Souths in Round 8 and against the Gold Coast in Round 10.

Next 6 games: at Wests (Sat, 7:30pm), vs Souths (Fri, 7:35pm), at Parramatta (Sat, 7:30pm), vs Gold Coast (Fri, 7:35pm), at Canterbury (Fri, 7:35pm), vs Warriors (Mon, 7pm).

St George Illawarra 3-3

Speaking of teams that have greatly improved over the past few weeks, here are the Dragons. My pre-season wooden spoon prediction was looking quite strong after 3 rounds, but a change in attacking style has led to a change in fortune for the big red v. Statistically, it doesn’t look like the Dragons have gotten results, yet they are still in the top 8. In attack, they have scored just 15 points per game, which is ranked 13th in the NRL. This is marginally worse than both the average over the first 6 rounds of 2012 of 15.3 and the 2012 season average of 16.9. In defence, the Dragons are ranked 10th in the NRL, having conceded 20.3 points per game, which is worse than the 17 points per game conceded in the corresponding period in 2012 and the 2012 season average of 18.3. The star player for the Dragons so far in 2013 has been Trent Merrin. He has shown strong offloading ability, which the Dragons backs have taken advantage of. At home, the Dragons have won one game from two, which was an impressive win over Newcastle. They have their work cut out for them if they are to match their 2012 total of 9 home wins. Away from home, they have matched their 2012 tally by winning 2 from 4. This has included a win in the local derby at Cronulla. Over the next 6 weeks, St George Illawarra will play 3 games at home and three away from home. Matches of note include the ANZAC Day clash against the Roosters in Round 7 and a home game against Manly in Round 8.

Next 6 games: at Roosters (Thu, 4pm), vs Manly (Mon, 7pm), at Gold Coast (Sun, 3pm), vs Parramatta (Sat, 5:30pm), vs Penrith (Sat, 5:30pm), at Canterbury (Fri, 7:45pm).

Canberra 3-3

It is a credit to the Raiders with the way that they have bounced back following is disastrous start to 2013. Star fullback Josh Dugan was released, there were reports stating that others wanted to leave, yet they currently sit in 9th. Like the Dragons, the Raiders aren’t impressive statistically. In attack they have scored 16 points per game, which is well below the 19.8 per game scored in the first 6 rounds of 2012 and the season average of 22.7. They are ranked 11th in the league in attack. The stats get worse, as the Raiders possess the NRL’s worst defence as they have conceded 25.2 points per game. This is much more than the 16.7 points per game conceded in the first quarter of 2012 and the 2012 season average of 22.3. A great sign for the Raiders came in Round 6 with the return of skipper Terry Campese. If he can play anywhere near as well as he did in 2008 and 2010, this will provide the Raiders with a huge boost. At home, the Raiders are unbeaten, which is the perfect start to eclipsing their 2012 total of just 6 home wins. The victory over the Roosters was a very impressive win. Away from home, the Raiders have lost all three games. This goes against their strong away form of 2012, where they won 7 games. The Round 1 loss to Penrith might end up being a game that Canberra wishes they could have again. Over the next 6 rounds, Canberra will only play 2 games at home. It is a tough stretch with notable clashes against Melbourne in Round 8, Newcastle in Round 9 and Manly in Round 11.

Next 6 games: at North Queensland (Sat, 5:30pm), at Melbourne (Sat, 5:30pm), vs Newcastle (Sun, 2pm), at Cronulla (Sun, 2pm), at Manly (Sun, 2pm), vs Brisbane (Mon, 7pm).

Cronulla 2-4

It’s really hard to give the Sharks a grade after their tumultuous start to the season. As Cronulla’s coach Shane Flanagan said (after he was reinstated), it has been an incredibly draining period for the players. Statistically, Cronulla’s defence is still very strong as they have conceded 15.2 points per game, which is ranked 7th in the NRL. This is more than the 12.8 conceded per game in the first quarter of 2012 but less than the 2012 season average of 18.4. In attack, Cronulla have struggled as they have only scored 14.7 points per game so far in 2013, which is ranked 14th in the league. Yet, this is slightly better than the attack in the same period in 2012, which was 14.3 per game, but it is lower than the 2012 season average of 18.5. A reason for the lack of attack has been the loss of Todd Carney. If the Sharks are to win more games this season, they will need Carney on the field. A positive for the Sharks is the form of Michael Gordon, who has been very good and has put himself back in Origin calculations. At home, the Sharks have won 2 from 3, including the very emotional win in Round 1 against the Gold Coast. Away from home, the Sharks have 0 wins from 3 games. Last season they won 7 games at home and 5 away from home. They will need to improve if they are to match these totals in 2013. Over the next 6 games, 3 are at home and 3 are away from home. There are two very tough clashes, with the first at home to Souths in Round 11 and the second at Melbourne in Round 13.

Next 6 games: vs Canterbury (Sun, 3pm), at Newcastle (Sun, 2pm), at Wests (Fri, 7:35pm), vs Canberra (Sun, 2pm), vs Souths (Mon, 7pm), at Melbourne (Sun, 6:30pm).

D

Parramatta 2-4

Parramatta once again started a season with high expectations and a new man in charge. After Round 1, these expectations were being realised. Unfortunately, after that it hasn’t been so good. Statistically, the Eels have scored 6 more points per game than over the corresponding period last season (18.2 in the first quarter of 2013 and 12.2 in the 2012 first quarter). Parra are ranked 7th in the NRL in attack and are just scoring more points per game in 2013 than they did in 2012 (total average of 18.0. Defensively, there is still plenty of room for improvement as their 13th ranked defence has conceded 24.2 points per game. Yet, this is better than their efforts over the first 6 rounds of last season (28.2 per game) and over the whole 2012 campaign (28.1 per game). A player who has impressed for the Eels in 2013 is Joseph Paulo. At lock, he has provided some much needed attacking spark, who has taken pressure off Sandow and Hayne. At home, the Eels have won 2 from 3, including the 40-10 shellacking of the Warriors in Round 1. They are half way to last year’s home win tally of 4. Away from home, Parra are winless from 3 games. They only won two games last year, so since the start of 2012, Parra have only won 2 away games from a possible 15. Of these losses, the loss in Round 3 to the Tigers was the most disappointing as the Eels lost the plot in a very winnable game. Over the next 6 games, the Eels have 4 home games, one of which is in Mudgee. It’s a very good gesture by the club to take an NRL game to the country. The toughest game of these six is in Round 13 when they host the Roosters, who flogged them 50-0 in Round 4.

Next 6 games: at Penrith (Mon, 7pm), vs North Queensland (Sat, 7:30pm), vs Brisbane (Sat, 7:30pm), at St George Illawarra (Sat, 5:30pm), vs Gold Coast (Sun, 3pm), vs Roosters (Fri, 7:45pm).

Wests Tigers 2-4

Another team with a new coach (despite still paying their old coach) is the Wests Tigers. With a weaker squad than in previous years, little was expected of this team at the start of the season. In attack, the Tigers are not the flashy side that they once were as they have only scored 15.5 points per game in 2013 and are ranked 12th in the NRL in attack. This has included being shut out twice, by Newcastle and Manly respectively. Yet, this is identical to the amount of points they scored in the first quarter of 2012 but it is considerably lower than the 21.1 points per game scored over the whole 2012 season. In defence, things aren’t much better as they also possess the 12th best defence in the league. Wests have conceded 23.8 points per game, which is more than over the same period in 2012 (23.2 per game) and over the entire 2012 season (23.0). A horde of injuries haven’t helped the Tigers, with star players Marshall, Koroibete and Galloway out for significant periods. A lot of responsibility is now on NSW hopefuls Robbie Farah and Aaron Woods. At home, the Tigers have won 2 from 3, but the loss in Round 6 to the Dragons is the most disheartening of them all as it was a very winnable game. They are still a good chance of matching last year’s home win total of 6. Away from home, the Tigers are winless from 3 games. However, these three losses have been to top 8 teams Newcastle, Manly and Melbourne. After only winning 5 games last year, Wests will need to string a few away wins together if they are to improve on that. Over the next 6 games, 3 are at home and 3 are away from home. The toughest games in this stretch are against the Broncos in Round 7 and against Souths in Round 10.

Next 6 games: vs Brisbane (Sat, 7:30pm), at Canterbury (Fri, 7:35pm), vs Cronulla (Fri, 7:35pm), at Souths (Fri, 7:35pm), vs North Queensland (Fri, 7:35pm), at Penrith (Sun, 3pm).

North Queensland 2-4

I was very tempted to give the Cowboys a grade of F; however they just snuck in to the D-grading. North Queensland have been disappointing over the first six weeks, however they have started to put things together over the past couple of weeks. In attack, the Cowboys are statistically well down on last season as the 16.3 points scored per game is ranked tied-9th in the league. This is well below 20.7 and 24.9, the points per game scored over the first quarter of 2012 and the average over the entire 2012 season. In defence, the Cowboys possess the 9th ranked defence is conceding 18.3 points per game. This is an improvement on the amount of points conceded over the first quarter of 2012 (19.7 per game) and over 2012 (18.5 per game). Obviously, the star player for the Cowboys is Johnathan Thurston. Without him, the Cowboys would be a good chance of being at the bottom of the ladder. However, he is missing departed hookers Payne and Segeyaro. The Cowboys have only played two games at home, winning one of these. The only loss was to Melbourne, so they are still a good chance of matching their 2012 home win tally of 8. Away from home, the Cowboys have won 1 from 4. The most disappointing loss was to the Warriors in Round 4 and they have a lot of work to do if they are to win 7 away games like they did in 2012. Over the next 6 games, again 4 of these games are away from Townsville. The most difficult games are in Rounds 9 and 10, where the Cowboys will clash with Souths and the Roosters respectively.

Next 6 games: vs Canberra (Sat, 5:30pm), at Parramatta (Sat, 7:30pm), at Souths (Fri, 7:35pm), vs Roosters (Sat, 7:30pm), at Wests (Fri, 7:35pm), at Gold Coast (Sun, 3pm).

F

Penrith 1-5

Penrith supporters would want to be a very patient bunch. It looks like it will take considerable time before the Panthers will be a premiership force again, but Phil Gould and Ivan Cleary have a plan and they are sticking to it. In attack, they have scored 16.3 points per game in 2013, which is lower than the 18.2 points per game scored over the first quarter of 2012 and the 17.0 points per game scored throughout the whole 2012 season. This attack is ranked tied for 9th in the NRL. Their defence is not as strong as they are ranked 15th in the league, having conceded 24.7 points per game. This is higher than the 18.8 conceded per game in the first 6 rounds of 2012 and the 24.0 conceded over the whole 2012 season. In an otherwise disappointing campaign, the form of James Segeyaro has been something for Panther fans to be excited about. He has provided attacking spark out of dummy half, but needs much more support. At home, the Panthers have won 1 game from 3, which matches their 2012 home win ratio. However, the 2 losses were against premiership contenders Souths and the Gold Coast, so Penrith will have a chance to win home games against less strong competition. Away from home, Penrith are winless from 3 games. They have also lost away games to fellow strugglers Wests and North Queensland, so it appears that they will have a paltry away record as they did in 2012 when they only won 4 games. Over the next 6 games, 4 of these are at the foot of the mountains. The toughest games over the next 6 are at the Roosters in Round 8 and at home to Melbourne in Round 9.

Next 6 games: vs Parramatta (Mon, 7pm), at Roosters (Sun, 3pm), vs Melbourne (Sun, 6:30pm), vs Warriors (Sat, 7:30pm), at St George Illawarra (Sat, 5:30pm), vs Wests (Sun, 3pm).

Warriors 1-5

The Warriors started the season horribly as they were crushed by the Eels. Since then, they have significantly improved, despite only winning one game. Over the past three weeks, they won one game and lost two games by 2 and 4 points respectively. In attack, the Warriors have only scored 14.3 points per game, which is lower than over the same period last year, where they scored 20 points per game. The currently ranked 15th best attack in the league is scoring fewer points per game than they did in 2012, where they scored 20.7 points per game. The Warriors’ defence is ranked 14th in the league as they have conceded 24.3 points per game. Yet, this is better than the entire 2012 average of 25.4 but lower than the first quarter of 2012, where they conceded 23.7 points per game. The stand-out player for the Warriors in 2013 is Ben Matulino. Despite starting from the bench (probably so he can provide the most impact), he has cemented his position as the club’s best front rower and is almost always a certain selection for New Zealand. At home, the Warriors have won one game from 3, but two of these losses were close games against top 4 teams Souths and the Roosters. So, they have a chance of surpassing last year’s tally of 5 home wins. Away from home, the Warriors are winless from 3 matches, with the most disappointing the Round 1 flogging to Parramatta, as mentioned above. This continues their poor home record for the Warriors, as they only won 3 games away from home in 2012. Over the next 6 games, the Warriors again have 3 home games and 3 away games. Matches of note include the ANZAC Day clash in Melbourne in Round 7 and a home game against Newcastle in Round 11.

Next 6 games: at Melbourne (Thu, 7pm), vs Gold Coast (Sun, 2pm), vs Canterbury (Sat, 7:30pm), at Penrith (Sat, 7:30pm), vs Newcastle (Sun, 2pm), at Brisbane (Mon, 7pm).

Canterbury 1-5

I expected a fall from last year’s minor premiers and grand finalists, but I didn’t expect this great of a fall. Currently, the Dogs sit at the foot of the ladder and have a lot of work to do if they are to climb it. Statistically, the Dogs have fallen greatly in attack as their last-placed attack has only scored 11.3 points per game. This is far lower than the 23.7 scored per game in 2012 and the 21.7 scored per game in the first quarter of 2012. Their defence is ranked 11th in the NRL, having conceded 22.8 points per game. This is much higher than the average over the first six rounds of 2012 (16) and the entire 2012 season (15.4). Over the first few weeks, the impressive players for the Dogs were Josh Reynolds and Josh Morris, but their form has taken a bit of a slide over the past couple of weeks. Star signing Tony Williams has been a big disappointment, even to the extent where he has stated that he is struggling to fit in with the Bulldogs’ style of play. Ben Barba only missed 3 games, but his form is nowhere near the level of 2012. At home, the Dogs have lost all three games. These three losses already match the total amount of home losses of 2012. Two of these losses were to top 4 teams Souths and Manly, so their home record may be helped by playing teams lower on the ladder. Away from home, Canterbury has won one game from 3. They also only lost 3 games away from home last year, so they can only afford to lose one more if they are to match that effort. Over the next 6 games, the Dogs have three home games and three away games. The more difficult games over this stretch are against Newcastle in Round 10 and against Brisbane in Round 11.

Next 6 games: at Cronulla (Sun, 3pm), vs Wests (Fri, 7:35pm), at Warriors (Sat, 7:30pm), at Newcastle (Sun, 3pm), vs Brisbane (Fri, 7:35pm), vs St George Illawarra (Fri, 7:45pm).

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