NRL First Quarter Season Grades

0

With 6 rounds of the NRL in the books, rugby league writer Daniel Boss assesses the form of every team in the competition with his quarterly grades.

Authors’ note: The analyses for the teams that played on Friday were completed prior to their games.

This article will be similar to last year’s articles but I intend to make these more compact, which will hopefully mean it takes less time to go through all the teams while still providing as much analysis as the past. With that said, this is where we are at after six rounds of the 2014 NRL season.

2014 Q1* aggregates

  • Points scored: 1865, 19.4 per game (2012 Q1: 1773, 18.5 per game; 2013 Q1: 1769, 18.4 per game)
  • Standard deviation of points scored: 20.5 (2012 Q1: 29.4, 2013 Q1: 24.8)
  • Standard deviation of points conceded: 24.7 (2012 Q1: 23.8, 2013 Q1: 30.7)
  • *Q1 refers to the first quarter

It can be seen that there is an increase in the number of points being scored in the game, which indicates that the new rules that have looked to speed up the game are working as a faster game obviously gives an advantage to the attacking team. The fall in standard deviation in points scored indicates that the competition is more even than in the previous two seasons. This is confirmed by the fact that only four points separates the second placed Bulldogs and fifteenth placed Warriors. The fall in standard deviation in points conceded also indicates that the competition is much more even, as defences are struggling to hold out teams given the quicker pace of the game. As a result, we aren’t seeing great defensive efforts that were produced in the past couple of years.

A

Gold Coast Titans: 5-1

  • Points scored: 107, 17.8 per game (2012 Q1: 74, 12.3 per game; 2013 Q1: 130, 20.7 per game)
  • Points conceded: 112, 18.7 per game (2012 Q1: 128, 21.3 per game; 2013 Q1: 90, 19.5 per game)
  • Home record: 2-1 (2012: 4-8; 2013: 7-5)
  • Away record: 3-0 (2012: 6-6; 2013: 4-8)

The Titans are the only side to have lost only one game in 2014 so far and as a result, they are the only side to receive an ‘A’ grade. Sure, their only loss was a very poor home loss to the Tigers, but in the other five games, they have been very strong. Opposition teams will have to beat the 2014 version of the Titans, as the Gold Coast club will not lose games through silly play and other mistakes. Their record is particularly impressive when considering that their first choice hooker Matt Srama has not played a game due to injury and that first five eight Aidan Sezer and fullback William Zillman have both missed games as well. Part of the reason they have been able to do this is due to the form of their leaders Greg Bird and Nate Myles. Both have been outstanding.

Statistically, the Titans haven’t been impressive but they have gotten the job done. The draw over the next six weeks isn’t too bad and four wins from these six is a realistic goal. If they do get four wins from the next six, a place in the top eight will not be too far out of sight.

Next 6 games: at Penrith (Mon, 7pm), at Wests (Sun, 3pm), vs Souths (Sat, 5:30pm), at Brisbane (Fri, 7:40pm), vs Warriors (Sat, 5:30pm), vs Penrith (Sat, 5:30pm).

B

Parramatta: 4-2

  • Points scored: 129, 21.5 per game (2012 Q1: 73, 12.2 per game; 2013 Q1: 109, 18.2 per game)
  • Points conceded: 140, 23.3 per game (2012 Q1: 169, 28.2 per game; 2013 Q1: 145, 24.2 per game)
  • Home record: 3-0 (2012: 4-8, 2013: 5-7)
  • Away record: 1-2 (2012: 2-10, 2013: 0-12)

As mentioned earlier this week in my Round 7 preview, the Eels are the feel good story of the NRL in 2014. At this stage, Brad Arthur is hands down the coach of the year but he has had some help in getting the Eels up the ladder. Wing sensation Semi Radradra has had an explosive start to the year and seems to be scoring tries at will. Jarryd Hayne is playing well and more importantly, he appears to be fully fit. Also, the signing Nathan Peats has turned out to be a master stroke. In the one game Peats missed, the Eels got towelled by the Roosters but in the five games that he has played, the Eels have won four (and probably should have won five). Another positive sign has been the return of Chris Sandow, who seems to be playing with a clear head. Hopefully he can do this for the rest of the season.

Statistically, the Eels have improved in the first quarter in both attack and defence, when compared to the past two seasons. Also, they have beaten last year’s away by winning one game away from home. Four of the next six games are at home, so winning three of these next six is definitely not too big of an ask. If they do that, then they will still be well and truly in finals contention.

Next 6 games: vs Wests (Mon, 4pm), at North Queensland (Sat, 5:30pm), vs Cronulla (Mon, 7pm), vs St George Illawarra (Sat, 3pm), at Penrith (Fri, 7:45pm), vs North Queensland (Fri, 7:40pm)

Wests Tigers 4-2

  • Points scored: 159, 26.5 per game (2012 Q1: 93, 15.5 per game; 2013 Q1: 93, 15.5 per game)
  • Points conceded: 136, 22.7 per game (2012 Q1: 139, 23.2 per game; 2013 Q1: 143, 23.8 per game)
  • Home record: 3-0 (2012: 6-6, 2013: 5-7)
  • Away record: 1-2 (2012: 5-7, 2013: 2-10)

This is another feel good story, as many had the Tigers finishing at the foot of ladder prior to the start of the season. On the back of James Tedesco, Robbie Farah and a fiery young forward pack, the Tigers find themselves in the top 4 after the first six rounds. The key over the next six games for the Tigers will be their ability to scrape out a couple of wins without their two best attacking players in Tedesco and Farah. Their tough forward pack might just be able to get the job done. Aaron Woods has rebounded from a poor end to the 2013 season and is even in contention for a spot in the Australian test team. Bodene Thompson has solidified a permanent spot in the second row, while James Gavet has brought some much needed intensity and energy off the bench.

The Tigers have found their attacking spark again and this resurgence in their attack has been the catalyst for their early season success. Their home form is strong, which is an improvement on the past two seasons. The draw over the next six games is a bit tricky. If the Tigers can get two wins out of these six, then I think that will be a good effort, especially without Tedesco and Farah.

Next 6 games: at Parramatta (Mon, 4pm), vs Gold Coast (Sun, 3pm), at Roosters (Fri, 7:40pm), at Cronulla (Sat, 5:30pm), vs Brisbane (Sat, 7:30pm), at Newcastle (Sun, 2pm)

Manly 4-2

  • Points scored: 108, 18 per game (2012 Q1: 118, 19.7 per game; 2013 Q1: 139, 23.2 per game)
  • Points conceded: 91, 15.2 per game (2012 Q1: 101, 16.8 per game; 2013 Q1: 54, 9 per game)
  • Home record: 3-1 (2012: 9-3, 2013: 8-4)
  • Away record: 1-1 (2012: 7-5; 2013: 7-4-1)

Manly are arguably the most in-form team in the competition after six rounds. Sure, they were ambushed by the Tigers in Round 5, but they won four of the remaining five games, including one without star five eight Kieran Foran. Peta Hiku has made the most of the opportunities that have been given to him because of injury and as a result, he has grabbed David Williams’ wing position. The forward pack continue to do their job, with new additions Josh Starling and Dunamis Lui leading the way. However, the Eagles will need Jason King fit if they are to go all the way in 2014, as he adds leadership to the young front row. Also, they still have Daly Cherry-Evans, who just keeps being one of the best players in the league.

In attack and defence, the Eagles haven’t been as statistically good as in past seasons but they are still in the top 4 after six rounds. Over the next six games, the draw contains some tough games and they may be without some origin players if they are unable to back up. Four wins from six would be about par here, which puts the Eagles in a good position for a late season surge.

Next 6 games: vs North Queensland (Fri, 7:40pm), vs Canberra (Sun, 2pm), at Melbourne (Sat, 7:30pm), vs Newcastle (Mon, 7pm), at Brisbane (Sun, 3pm), vs Canterbury (Fri, 7:40pm)

Canterbury 4-2

  • Points scored: 140, 23.3 per game (2012 Q1: 130, 21.7 per game; 2013 Q1: 11.3 per game)
  • Points conceded: 80, 13.3 per game (2012 Q1: 96, 16 per game; 2013 Q1: 22.8 per game)
  • Home record: 2-1 (2012: 9-3, 2013: 6-6)
  • Away record: 2-1 (2012: 9-3, 2013: 7-5)

While the Bulldogs have the best defence in the NRL, they haven’t looked overly impressive in some of their games. However, early in the season, all that matters is getting the two points and the Dogs have been able to get them. It really has been a team effort, as there have been no stand out performers. The loss of Frank Pritchard to a pectoral injury is a big blow and Dogs fans are hoping that he can be back before the finals. If there has been a stand out, it has been five eight Josh Reynolds, who is putting pressure on James Maloney for the NSW number 6 jersey. I have also been impressed with Dale Finucane and Josh Jackson, who have provided stability, a strong work ethic and impact to this team.

Statistically, the Dogs have recorded their best first quarter in both attack and defence when compared to their previous two seasons. One of these seasons, 2012, resulted in a minor premiership and grand final appearance. The Dogs were mediocre both at home and away last season and they have already gotten off to good starts in both home and away games in 2014.

Next 6 games: at Souths (Fri, 4pm), vs Newcastle (Sat, 7:30pm), at St George Illawarra (Sun, 3pm), vs Warriors (Sun, 2pm), vs Roosters (Fri, 7:45pm), at Manly (Fri, 7:40pm)

Melbourne 4-2

  • Points scored: 135, 22.5 per game (2012 Q1: 198, 33 per game; 2013 Q1: 159, 26.5 per game)
  • Points conceded: 151, 25.2 per game (2012 Q1: 79, 13.2 per game; 2013 Q1: 86, 14.3 per game)
  • Home record: 3-1 (2012: 9-3, 2013: 10-1-1)
  • Away record: 1-1 (2012: 8-4, 2013: 6-6)

Melbourne is another team that hasn’t looked impressive in the first six round, yet they still have four wins under the belt. Their defence isn’t up to previous standards, as evidenced in the statistics below. Yet, they still have Cameron Smith, Billy Slater and Cooper Cronk which means that they will still be in the hunt for the finals. One of the more impressive Melbourne players has been centre Will Chambers. He has put himself in Queensland origin contention with a strong showing over the past few weeks. Jesse Bromwich is another player who has also kept going from strength to strength and should be a key part of the New Zealand test side in a few weeks. Unfortunately, Ben Hampton hasn’t played as well as he did last year, with the Storm turning to Ben Roberts at five eight.

As mentioned above, the telling stat from the list above is the deterioration in Melbourne’s defence. This is something that they will have to fix up in the coming weeks and months. They have already matched their home loss total from last season and are on target for last year’s away record. Over the next 6 weeks, there are some tough games, so getting 3 wins would be about par for the Storm.

Next 6 games: at Canberra (Sun, 3pm), vs Warriors (Fri, 6pm), vs Manly (Sat, 7:30pm), at Souths (Fri, 7:40pm), at North Queensland (Sat, 7:30pm), vs Roosters (Sun, 3pm)

C

St George Illawarra 3-3

  • Points scored: 139, 23.2 per game (2012 Q1: 92, 15.3 per game; 2013 Q1: 90, 15 per game)
  • Points conceded: 138, 23 per game (2012 Q1: 102, 17 per game; 2013 Q1: 122, 20.3 per game)
  • Home record: 1-2 (2012: 9-3, 2013: 3-9)
  • Away record: 2-1 (2012: 2-10, 2013: 4-8)

The Dragons started the 2014 season fast by posting three straight wins. However, they followed these wins up with three straight losses. They did play better in their controversial Round 6 defeat in Melbourne, which coincided with Michael Witt’s return from injury. If Witt stays fit, then the Dragons’ attack will be more potent. He will provide direction for Gareth Widdop, which will help him continue to play at a high level. Widdop just may be the buy of the year at this point. Another impressive player has been Leeson Ah Mau, who has provided some impact in the back row. Star winger Brett Morris has scored some sensational tries, while Trent Merrin continues to improve and is a definite selection for the NSW Blues if fit.

The stats show that the Dragons early season success came off the back of an improved attacking game, which is a result of the purchases of Gareth Widdop and Michael Witt. The Dragons need only two wins both at home and away to match their 2013 totals. The Dragons have a relatively tough run over the next six games and I think they would be happy with at least 3 wins from these 6.

Next 6 games: vs Warriors (Sat, 5:30pm), vs Roosters (Fri, 4pm), vs Canterbury (Sun, 3pm), at Parramatta (Sat, 3pm), at Souths (Mon, 7pm), vs Cronulla (Sat, 7:30pm)

Brisbane 3-3

  • Points scored: 122, 20.3 per game (2012 Q1: 134, 22.3 per game, 2013 Q1: 106, 17.7 per game)
  • Points conceded: 111, 18.5 per game (2012 Q1: 90, 15 per game, 2013 Q1: 90, 15 per game)
  • Home record: 1-2 (2012: 7-5, 2013: 6-6)
  • Away record: 2-1 (2012: 5-7, 2013: 4-7-1)

The first four games for the Broncos were very impressive and were looking like top four contenders. However, their form over the last two weeks has dropped off significantly. Their attack has looked very disjointed over the past fortnight and fullback signing Ben Barba is playing with little or no confidence. This year, the Broncos have again looked to start the game with a smaller front row, with Corey Parker starting games at prop. This has given Matt Gillett more time on the field, which he has definitely appreciated if his form is any indication. As for Josh Hoffman, I don’t think that five eight is his best position. If Barba continues to struggle under the high ball, then Hoffman may be moved back to fullback where he is best suited.

Statistically, the Broncos aren’t as strong defensively as they have been in the first six rounds of the past two seasons. This is telling as late defensive lapses have cost the Broncos games so far in 2014. Once again, their home record isn’t overly strong, which is a concern. Over the next six weeks, the Broncos have a mixed schedule, with some tough games. Three wins from these next six would be about par.

Next 6 games: at Newcastle (Fri, 7:40pm), vs Souths (Fri, 8pm), at North Queensland (Fri, 7:40pm), vs Gold Coast (Fri, 7:40pm), at Wests (Sat, 7:30pm), vs Manly (Sun, 3pm)

Penrith 3-3

  • Points scored: 95, 15.8 per game (2012 Q1: 109, 18.2 per game; 2013 Q1: 98, 16.3 per game)
  • Points conceded: 98, 16.3 per game (2012 Q1: 113, 18.8 per game; 2013 Q1: 148, 24.7 per game)
  • Home record: 3-1 (2012: 4-8, 2013: 6-6)
  • Away record: 0-2 (2012: 4-8, 2013: 5-7)

I had high hopes for the Panthers leading into the 2014 NRL season. However, after what I have seen in the first six rounds, I have a feeling that they won’t live up to such lofty expectations. In attack, they barely trouble opposition defences, as they have only scored more than 20 points in a game this year and that was against a woeful and depleted Newcastle side. They aren’t getting enough spark out of halves Peter Wallace and Jamie Soward, who both aren’t threatening the line when they take the line on. James Segayaro isn’t playing as well as he has over the previous two seasons, which isn’t helping. There is hope for the Panthers though, as Josh Mansour has had a strong start to the year and their forward pack is one of the toughest, if not the toughest, in the league.

The big area of improvement for the Panthers, when compared to the past couple of years, is in defence. It has kept them in every game so far this season. Also, they are a very tough team to beat at home, which is an improvement on past seasons. Their draw over the next six weeks is not too difficult, so any less than three wins would be considered a disappointment.

Next 6 games: vs Gold Coast (Mon, 7pm), at Cronulla (Sat, 3pm), at Newcastle (Sun, 2pm), at Canberra (Sun, 2pm), vs Parramatta (Fri, 7:45pm), at Gold Coast (Sat, 5:30pm).

South Sydney 3-3

  • Points scored: 118, 19.7 per game (2012 Q1: 119, 19.8 per game; 2013 Q1: 137, 22.8 per game)
  • Points conceded: 85, 14.2 per game (2012 Q1: 118, 19.7 per game; 2013 Q1: 105, 17.5 per game)
  • Home record: 1-1 (2012: 9-3, 2013: 9-3)
  • Away record: 2-2 (2012: 7-5, 2013: 9-3)

After the first game of the 2014 season, Souths supporters were again dreaming of a drought-breaking premiership. However, in the following three weeks, the Rabbits were quite ordinary as they lost all three games. They have bounced back to win their last two games and are now back in the top 8. These results have been partly because of the move of John Sutton back to five eight. I do think that lock is Sutton’s best position but with Luke Keary injured for now, Sutton is their best option in the number six. Dylan Walker did give five eight a decent shake but he is much more suited in the centres at this point in his career. The loss of Isaac Luke to injury is a big blow but they have been able to cover for him with rookies Apisai Koroisau and Cameron McInnes.

While Souths’ attack hasn’t been as good as in previous seasons, their defence has kept them in games. In their three wins, they conceded less than 10 points in each of these games. Over the next six weeks, the Rabbits play some tough games. They should be able to win four of these six games at least.

Next 6 games: vs Canterbury (Fri, 4pm), at Brisbane (Fri, 8pm), at Gold Coast (Sat, 5:30pm), vs Melbourne (Fri, 7:40pm), at Cronulla (Mon, 7pm), vs St George Illawarra (Mon, 7pm)

D

Sydney Roosters 2-4

  • Points scored: 114, 19 per game (2012 Q1: 86, 14.3 per game; 2013 Q1: 144, 24 per game)
  • Points conceded: 89, 14.8 per game (2012 Q1: 110, 18.3 per game; 2013 Q1: 66, 11 per game)
  • Home record: 1-2 (2012: 5-7, 2013: 8-4)
  • Away record: 1-2 (2012: 3-8-1, 2013: 10-2)

The defending premiers have had a far less than ideal start to the 2014 campaign. However, they have been a good chance to win all of their games, aside from the Round 1 loss to Souths. A reason for their lack of success so far this season has been the lack of form from five eight James Maloney. His usually strong support play and running game just isn’t there at the moment. Also, Sonny Bill Williams’ absence due to suspension also hasn’t helped. The best player for the Roosters so far this season has been Boyd Cordner. His strong defence and strong running game have helped the Roosters out of trouble and is a certainty for the NSW Blues if fit. As for Michael Jennings, he needs a big month to retain his origin jersey, even though he hasn’t been in bad form this year.

The stats show that the Roosters’ defence is still quite good, so I expect them to pick up some more wins if they maintain this strong defence. The Roosters need to win the remainder of their away games this season, if they are to match last season’s total. Their draw over the next six games isn’t overly difficult, so anything less than four wins from these six would be a disappointment.

Next 6 games: at Cronulla (Sat, 7:30pm), at St George Illawarra (Fri, 4pm), vs Wests (Fri, 7:40pm), at North Queensland (Sat, 7:30pm), at Canterbury (Fri, 7:45pm), vs Canberra (Sat, 5:30pm)

Newcastle 2-4

  • Points scored: 106, 17.7 per game (2012 Q1: 98, 16.3 per game; 2013 Q1: 128, 21.3 per game)
  • Points conceded: 124, 20.7 per game (2012 Q1: 91, 15.2 per game; 2013 Q1: 85, 14.2 per game)
  • Home record: 1-1 (2012: 5-7, 2013: 7-4-1)
  • Away record: 1-3 (2012: 5-7, 2013: 5-7)

If the Round 6 victory over Canberra showed anything, it was that the Knights are a far different team with Jarrod Mullen in it than they are without him. In the first five games, they really struggled in attack and Mullen’s showing in the Canberra game, along with his strong form at the end of the 2013 season, has put him in contention for the NSW five eight spot. The injury to Darius Boyd also hasn’t helped and his return to the team resulted in an improvement in attack. Veteran Beau Scott has also played quite well and found his attacking game, which has been missing over the past couple of seasons. Willie Mason has also turned back the clock and is playing quite well, which is providing direction for the rest of the side.

Statistically, the Knights’ defence isn’t as strong in the first part of the 2014 season as it has been for the first quarter of the previous two seasons. They continue to have a poor away record, which they will need to rectify if they are to climb the ladder. Over the next six games, there are a few difficult assignments, so three wins would be expected from the next six games.

Next 6 games: vs Brisbane (Fri, 7:40pm), at Canterbury (Sat, 7:30pm), vs Penrith (Sun, 2pm), at Manly (Mon, 7pm), at Warriors (Sun, 2pm), vs Wests (Sun, 2pm)

Canberra 2-4

  • Points scored: 108, 18 per game (2012 Q1: 119, 19.8 per game; 2013 Q1: 96, 16 per game)
  • Points conceded: 128, 21.3 per game (2012 Q1: 100, 16.7 per game; 2013 Q1: 151, 25.2 per game)
  • Home record: 0-2 (2012: 6-6, 2013: 8-4)
  • Away record: 2-2 (2012: 7-5, 2013: 2-10)

The Raiders have been solid in the opening six games. They have focused on limiting mistakes and not losing games through poor play, which they were guilty of in previous seasons. In doing this, they seemed to have lost their attacking flare, as the only player who challenges defences is Anthony Milford. In some games, the Raiders have been far too reliant on Milford. Injuries and suspensions to their back rowers hasn’t helped as Josh Papalii, Joel Edwards and Shaun Fensom have all missed at least one game this season. The backline isn’t as strong as it was in previous seasons, but the play of Jarrod Croker is encouraging as he is in career best form. As for the Jack Wighton experiment at five eight, it hasn’t been the most successful but the Raiders are persisting and time will tell if is pays off.

One positive for the Raiders in 2014 is their away form, as they have already won as many away games this year as they did last year. However, they have lost their last six games at home, which is a huge negative as the Raiders take pride in the home record. Their schedule over the next 6 games contains some tough games, so winning three from these six would be expected.

Next 6 games: vs Melbourne (Sun, 3pm), at Manly (Sun, 2pm), at Warriors (Sat, 3pm), vs Penrith (Sun, 2pm), vs North Queensland (Sun, 3pm), at Roosters (Sat, 5:30pm)

North Queensland 2-4

  • Points scored: 100, 16.7 per game (2012 Q1: 124, 20.7 per game; 2013 Q1: 98, 16.3 per game)
  • Points conceded: 89, 14.8 per game (2012 Q1: 118, 19.7 per game; 2013 Q1: 110, 18.3 per game)
  • Home record: 2-1 (2012: 8-4, 2013: 7-5)
  • Away record: 0-3 (2012: 7-5, 2013: 5-7)

Following a win in the Auckland Nines, a lot was expected of the Cowboys in 2014. However, they have continued to underwhelm as they have only won two of their first six games. The big issue for the side is that there is no point of difference in attack aside from Johnathan Thurston. The Cowboys need with Robert Lui or their hooker combination to take some pressure off Thurston. Aside from the key positions, the Cowboys have be a little underwhelming as well. With that said, Jason Taumalolo is starting to live up to his potential. With Kangaroo front rowers and some good young back rowers, they should be getting more momentum. As for their backline, they haven’t had too many opportunities this season.

Statistically, the Cowboys defence is much improved on previous seasons. If they maintain this good defence, then they will win more games as the season goes on. They are yet to win a game away from home, which continues the weak record from last season. The Cowboys’ draw over the next 6 games is quite tough, so getting three wins would be a good effort.

Next 6 games: at Manly (Fri, 7:40pm), vs Parramatta (Sat, 5:30pm), vs Brisbane (Fri, 7:40pm), vs Roosters (Sat, 7:30pm), at Canberra (Sun, 3pm), vs Melbourne (Sat, 7:30pm)

Warriors 2-4

  • Points scored: 116, 19.3 per game (2012 Q1: 120, 20 per game; 2013 Q1: 86, 14.3 per game)
  • Points conceded: 159, 26.5 per game (2012 Q1: 142, 23.7 per game; 2013 Q1: 146, 24.3 per game)
  • Home record: 1-2 (2012: 5-7, 2013: 7-5)
  • Away record: 1-2 (2012: 3-9, 2013: 4-8)

The start to the 2014 NRL season could not have gone worse for the Warriors. Their coach ‘resigned’, a part owner wants out as a result and the team is near the bottom of the ladder. It’s hard to see how things can improve from here but they do have a lot of talent in the squad. Star signing Sam Tomkins has shown glimpses of class but is still taking time to get used to playing in a different team. A big disappointment has been Feleti Mateo, who has been in and out of first grade. On his best day, he is one of the best players in the league. Kevin Locke is returning from in the lower grades and it will be interesting to see where he fits into the side. One selection decision that confuses me has been the dropping of Konrad Hurrell, their best attacking player.

The stats show that the Warriors’ defence is letting them down and has done over the past few seasons. Their away record is still poor and this will need to change if their second quarter grade is to improve, as four of the next six are away from home. The Warriors play some tough games over that stretch, so being able to win at least three games would be a good effort.

Next 6 games: at St George Illawarra (Sat, 5:30pm), at Melbourne (Fri, 6pm), vs Canberra (Sat, 3pm), at Canterbury (Sun, 2pm), at Gold Coast (Sat, 5:30pm), vs Newcastle (Sun, 2pm)

F

Cronulla 1-5

  • Points scored: 69, 11.5 per game (2012 Q1: 86, 14.3 per game; 2013 Q1: 88, 14.7 per game)
  • Points conceded: 134, 22.3 per game (2012 Q1: 77, 12.8 per game; 2013 Q1: 91, 15.2 per game)
  • Home record: 1-2 (2012: 7-4-1, 2013: 8-4)
  • Away record: 0-3 (2012: 5-7, 2013: 6-6)

The fact that there is currently a team below the Warriors on the ladder is mind-boggling. The Sharks have had a horrible start to the 2014 season, partly because of poor form and partly because of injuries. Todd Carney is essentially playing on one leg and his usual strong running game is not there at the moment as a result. Injuries in the forward pack to Luke Lewis, Paul Gallen and Anthony Tupou have had an impact as the Sharks have not been as strong in the forward pack. However, despite all of these injuries, the Sharks should have more wins on the board at this stage. Andrew Fifita’s form isn’t as good as it was last season and the team needs him to find his best form. They also need some better play from their backline, as they simply aren’t threatening opposition defences.

Statistically, the Sharks haven’t had a great attacking game to start the season, but the 2014 attack is worse than the attack of the previous two years. They base their wins on the back of their defence, but Cronulla’s 2014 defence is far worse than in previous seasons. Over the next six games, three wins is about par but they will need more than that to get back into finals contention.

Next 6 games: vs Roosters (Sat, 7:30pm), vs Penrith (Sat, 3pm), at Parramatta (Mon, 7pm), vs Wests (Sat, 5:30pm), vs Souths (Mon, 7pm), at St George Illawarra (Sat, 7:30pm)

Share.

About Author

Leave A Reply

Or