NRL Third Quarter Grades

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Rugby League writer Daniel Boss grades each team on their past 6 games – the third quarter of their 2013 NRL premiership campaign. How does your team stack up?

In the last 6 games for each team, the average points scored per team was 20.36 points per game. This is lower than last year’s third year average of 20.73 points per game. This is not as substantial as the gap seen in the second quarter and the average points scored per game actually increased in the third quarter, compared to falling this time last year. The standard deviation for average points scored per team was 36.96 and was higher than the standard deviation for average points conceded per team was 33. This is the first quarter in 2013 that the standard deviation is higher for points scored than for points conceded. This suggests that the ability of the attack is determining how many points are scored in a game, rather than the ability of the defence. This could be a result of good teams building combinations in attack and bad teams still struggling to build combinations. It also could be due to some teams (for example, Melbourne) not being able to score as many points are a result of missing key players due to origin commitments.

Despite the reasons, it appears that this year’s finals series should be really good. The top 4 are very clear cut, with the next 5 teams probably going to challenge for the final 4 spots in the finals. I can’t see any team currently 10th or below making the finals.

A

Sydney Roosters 5-1 (1st quarter: B, 4-2. 2nd quarter: A, 5-1)

After beating soundly beaten by the Warriors in Round 14, the Roosters have won 5 straight games and now look assured of a top 4 finish. They are currently premiership favourites, despite sitting in 2nd place behind South Sydney. They have maintained their strong attacking form, as they have averaged 25.7 points per game over the last 6 rounds. This is slightly higher than the averages from the first two quarters, 24 and 24.7 per game respectively. The Roosters have also maintained their strong defensive ability, as they have conceded just 10.8 points per game in the last 6 rounds. This is slightly better than their averages over the past couple of quarters, 11 and 13 per game respectively. They are currently ranked 2nd in attack and 1st in defence in the league. Despite disappointing Origin campaigns, the halves Pearce and Maloney are still playing well for the Roosters. The most underrated player in this side is hooker Jake Friend. He gets through a mountain of work each game and controls the side out of dummy half, which allows the halves and Sonny Bill Williams to focus on attacking the defence. The Rooster won all three away games and won two of their three home games in their last 6 games. For the season, they are 7-3 at home and 7-1 away from home. As a result, they have eclipsed their 2012 win totals both at home and away from home.

Over the next 6 games, one of their two home games is against a side in the top 8 (Canberra in Round 22) and two of their four away games are also against sides in the top 8 (Cronulla in Round 24 and Souths in Round 26). The last round clash against Souths may well decide the minor premiership.

Next 6 games: at Penrith (Fri, 7:35pm), vs Canberra (Sat, 5:30pm), at Wests (Mon, 7pm), at Cronulla (Mon, 7pm), vs Gold Coast (Sun, 3pm), at South Sydney (Fri, 7:45pm).

Warriors 5-1 (1st quarter: F, 1-5. 2nd quarter: C, 3-3)

The Warriors have shown even more impressive form in their past 6 games and are now on the fringe of the top 8. They are currently one of the form teams of the competition and are a side that no team wants to play at the moment. Surprisingly, the Warriors attack has regressed since last quarter, as they scored 21 points per game over the past 6 games, compared to 24.8 per game in the 6 games prior. This is better than the first quarter average of 14.3 points per game. The big improvement has been in defence, as they have conceded 18.3 points per game in the third quarter. This is far better than the averages in the first two quarters, of 24.3 and 28 per game. They possess the 8th best attack and 14th best defence in the NRL. The Warriors suffered a blow by losing winger Glen Fisiiahi for the season as a result of an injury; however they are at full strength otherwise. Thomas Leuluai has been a big improver for the Warriors and is proving quite a good foil for Shaun Johnson. In particular, Leuluai’s running game has really developed and has scored some strong tries in recent games. The Warriors only loss over the last 6 games was away from home, which meant that they won 3 games at home and 2 away from home in the third quarter. For the season, their home record is 6-3 and their away record is 3-6. They have already matched or surpassed their 2012 win totals both at home and away from home.

Over the next 6 games, three are at home and three are away from home. Two of the three home games are against top 8 teams; Round 21 against Cronulla and Round 25 against Canberra. One of the three away games is against a top 8 side, being Manly in Round 22.

Next 6 games: vs Cronulla (Sat, 5pm), at Manly (Sun, 2pm), vs Penrith (Sun, 4pm), at Gold Coast (Sat, 5:30pm), vs Canberra (Sat, 5pm), at St George Illawarra (Sat, 3pm).

South Sydney 5-1 (1st quarter: A, 5-1. 2nd quarter: A, 5-1)

The Rabbitohs are still flying high on top of the ladder. They only need two wins from their last 6 games to clinch a top 4 position. However, their aim is to stay at the top of the ladder which would be their first minor premiership since 1989. Statistically, Souths’ attack has continued to improve as they scored 28.7 points per game in the third quarter. This is higher than the first two quarters where they scored 22.8 and 27.5 points per game respectively. They also improved statistically in defence, as they only conceded 12.5 points per game over the past 6 games. Again, this is better than the first two quarters as Souths conceded 17.5 and 12.7 points per game respectively. The Rabbits currently possess the best attack and 2nd best defence in the NRL. One negative for Souths is the injury to star fullback Greg Inglis and the loss to the Dragons showed that they need Inglis to be playing if they are to break the 42-year dry spell. However, this could turn out to be a positive as the spell on the sideline could freshen him up for the finals. This side is currently firing on all cylinders and anything less than a premiership would be a disappointment. As mentioned above, the only loss for Souths in their past 6 games was at home to the Dragons. They won their other 3 home games and both away games. For the season, Souths are 7-2 at home and 8-1 away from home. They need to win two of their final three home games to match their 2012 home win total. The Rabbits have already eclipsed their 2012 away win total.

Over the next 6 weeks, Souths have 3 home games and 3 away games. All three home games are to other sides currently in the top 5, while one away game is against a fellow top 4 side. It is not an easy run home.

Next 6 games: at North Queensland (Sat, 7:30pm), at Melbourne (Fri, 7:35pm), vs Manly (Fri, 7:35pm), vs Canterbury (Fri, 7:35pm), at Wests (Sat, 5:30pm), vs Roosters (Fri, 7:45pm).

B

Manly 4-2 (1st quarter: A, 5-1. 2nd quarter: C, 2-3-1)

After a loss to the Roosters in Round 16, Manly’s place in the top 4 looked very shaky. However, following 4 straight victories, the Eagles have almost cemented that place in the top 4. Manly’s attack has really come to life in the past 6 weeks, as they have scored 33.3 points per game in that stretch. In achieving this, Manly is the first team to score 200 or more points in a quarter since I started conducting this analysis at the start of last season. Also, this is far better than the second quarter average of 13.7 and the first quarter average of 23.2. However, their defensive statistics have dropped off, as they conceded 18.7 points per game. This is more than the 9 and 15.3 points conceded per game in the first two quarters. Manly is currently ranked 3rd in both attack and defence in the NRL. Sea Eagle halfback Daly Cherry-Evans was rewarded with his first two origin jerseys in games 2 and 3 of this year’s series. He returned to club football with even more confidence. Another factor in Manly’s current four game winning streak is the return of Brett Stewart. His absence was greatly noticed by the team as they seemed somewhat lost without him. One concern for Manly is the lack of depth in the front row, as they have already lost Jason King and Joe Galavao for the season. They don’t seem to be as strong in the front row as other premiership contenders, so this may eventually cost them down the road. In the past 6 games, Manly won two from three games both at home and away from home. For the season, they possess records of 6-3 at home and 5 wins, 3 losses and a draw away from home. The Sea Eagles will need to win all three remaining home games and two of their last three away games if they are to better last season’s records.

Over the next 6 games, three are at home and three are away from home as mentioned above. Two of these three away games are against teams currently in the top 8 (Canberra in Round 23 and Souths in Round 24), while only one remaining home against is against another top 8 side (Melbourne in Round 25).

Next 6 games: at Parramatta (Sat, 5:30pm), vs Warriors (Sun, 2pm), at South Sydney (Fri, 7:35pm), at Canberra (Sun, 2pm), vs Melbourne (Sat, 7:30pm), vs Penrith (Sun, 2pm).

Canterbury 4-2 (1st quarter: F, 1-5. 2nd quarter: A, 5-1)

Last year’s grand finalists are, as they’re coach would say, flying under the radar. They are currently in 5th and are starting to play some good football. The Round 14 win at Brookvale Oval was quite impressive. Canterbury’s attack has greatly improved over the last 6 games, as they have scored 29.5 points per game. This is greater than the 11.3 and 22.7 points scored per game in the first two quarters. In defence, the Dogs have had a slight decline statistically as they conceded 17.7 points per game, which is higher than the 16.7 points per game conceded in the second quarter. However, this is much better than the first quarter average of 22.8 points conceded per game. The Dogs currently have the 5th best attack and 7th best defence in the league. A big blow in the Round 20 flogging of Parramatta was the injury to Ben Barba. This is a significant blow to Canterbury’s top 8 aspirations as Barba was just starting to find some of last year’s form. However, it is likely that Sam Perrett will replace Barba at fullback. Perrett has been in very good form recently, so giving him more ball may not be a bad thing. Over the last 6 games, the Dogs won both away games and two home games out of four. For the season, Canterbury’s home record is 5-5 while their away record is 5-3. They can’t match last season’s home record but they can match their 2012 away record if they win all four remaining away games.

In the last six weeks, two games are at home and four are away from home. It is a relatively easy run home as both home games are against sides outside of the top 8 and two away games are against top 8 teams (Canberra in Round 23 and Souths in Round 24).

Next 6 games: at St George Illawarra (Mon, 7pm), vs Gold Coast (Mon, 7pm), at Canberra (Sat, 3pm), at South Sydney (Fri, 7:35pm), vs Penrith (???), at Brisbane (Thu, 7:45pm).

Canberra 4-2 (1st quarter: C, 3-3. 2nd quarter: C, 3-3)

The Raiders are surprisingly well placed (compared to seasons gone by) as they are currently in the top 8 with six games to play. If they can mirror the late season runs of 2010 and 2012, they might be in the running to play a finals game at home. The biggest factor for the Raiders’ recent victories has been their defence, as they conceded 16.2 points per game in the third quarter. This is much lower than the 25.2 and 21.3 points per game conceded in the first two quarters. In attack, the Raiders have regressed in the third quarter as they scored just 16.7 points per game in the past 6 games. This is much lower than the 23.3 points scored per game in the second quarter but slightly higher than the 16 points scored per game in the first quarter. Canberra is currently ranked 10th in attack and 12th in defence in the NRL. It is a particularly good effort for the Raiders to currently be in the top 8, as they have battled with injury all season, especially in the backline. They are expected Jack Wighton and Edrick Lee back from injury in the next few weeks, while Blake Ferguson returned to play in the NSW Cup following a suspension. These inclusions will be important for Canberra. Over the past 6 games, Canberra won all 3 home games to maintain their perfect home record in 2013. Away from home, they lost two of their three games. For the season, the Raiders have an 8-0 record at home and a 2-8 record away from home. This suggests that a home final would be huge for Canberra, as they have surpassed their 2012 home record but will not match their 2012 away record.

Over the next 6 games, four are at home and two are away from home. All four home games are against sides in the top 8, while one away game is against a side outside of the top 8. This side is the red-hot Warriors in Round 25. If the Raiders are to play semi-final football in 2013, they will have done it the hard way.

Next 6 games: vs Melbourne (Sun, 2pm), at Roosters (Sat, 5:30pm), vs Canterbury (Sat, 3pm), vs Manly (Sun, 2pm), at Warriors (Sat, 5pm), vs Cronulla (Sun, 7pm).

Cronulla 4-2 (1st quarter: C, 2-4. 2nd quarter: B, 4-2)

Cronulla is another side that isn’t quite gathering headlines, well, aside from the whole ASADA thing. However, aside from a win against South Sydney, they have struggled to compete against the stronger sides in the competition. Yet, they are still currently in the top 8. Their attack has improved this quarter, as they scored 21.5 points per game. This is more than the 14.7 and 18.2 points scored per game in the first two quarters. Over the past six games, the Sharks have conceded 21.3 points per game, which is worse than the first two quarters as they conceded 15.2 and 20 points per game in these quarters respectively. Cronulla currently possess the 11th best attack and 6th best defence in the NRL. One positive for the Sharks has been the form of Todd Carney, who has been looking to prove the NSW selectors wrong. If he maintains his current form for the rest of the season, the Sharks may make some noise in September. Cronulla have relied on their depth in the back row, as Gallen and Lewis have missed quite a few games for Cronulla from injury and origin commitments. The inclusion of these two players could prove to be quite a boost that the Sharks need before the finals. In the past 6 games, the Sharks won all three home games and lost two of their three away games. For the season, their home record is 7-2 and their away record is 3-6. The Sharks will need to win one more home game and two more away games to match (or surpass in the case of the home record) their 2012 record.

In the next 6 games, three are at home while three are away from home. Two of the home games are against side currently in the top 8 (Newcastle in Round 22 and Roosters in Round 24), while only one away game is against a fellow top 8 side (Canberra in Round 26).

Next 6 games: at Warriors (Sat, 5pm), vs Newcastle (Sat, 7:30pm), at St George Illawarra (Sat, 7:30pm), vs Roosters (Mon, 7pm), vs North Queensland (Sun, 2pm), at Canberra (Sun, 7pm).

C

Newcastle 3-3 (1st quarter: B, 4-2. 2nd quarter: D, 2-4)

Following a Round 14 defeat in Melbourne, the Knights were four points outside of the top 8 and looking like they were fading down the ladder. However, a three game winning streak brought the Novocastrians back into the top 8. Statistically, their attack has slightly dropped off over the past 6 games, as they have scored 21.7 points per game. This is lower than the second quarter average of 23 points scored per game but slightly higher than the first quarter average of 21.3 points per game. The Knights have improved in defence, as they conceded 16.7 points per game in the third quarter, which is a lower average than the 22 points per game conceded in the second quarter. However, it is not as good as the first quarter average of 14.2 points conceded per game. Newcastle currently possesses the 4th best attack and 5th best defence in the NRL. A reason for the improvement in the Knights over recent weeks has been veterans Danny Buderus and Craig Gower. Both are an upgrade on Travis Waddell, as the service out of dummy half has been far better since Buderus and Gower have been brought back. Another bright spark for the Knights is James McManus, who earned a recall to the NSW origin team and is the current leading try scorer in the NRL. One question mark over the Knights is the strength up front, following the injury to Willie Mason. They do get Kade Snowden back but the loss of Mason may have an influence on the Knights’ semi-final chances. Over the past 6 games, Newcastle won one from three at home and two from three away from home. This bucks the season trend, as the Knights have been much stronger at home than away from home. Their season record at home is now 6-3, while their away season record is 3-6. Newcastle has already surpassed last year’s home record but need to win two away games to match their 2012 away record.

In the next 6 weeks, the Knights play 3 home games and 3 away games. Only two of these six are against sides in the top 8, with one of these at home (Melbourne in Round 23) and one away from home (Cronulla in Round 22). Realistically, the Knights should make the semi-finals based on this draw.

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

Penrith 3-3 (1st quarter: F, 1-5. 2nd quarter: B, 4-2)

After Round 18, an improbable finals appearance was looking likely. However, two straight heavy losses to fellow finals contenders have left the Panthers in a vulnerable position. Their attack over the past couple of weeks has not been overly threatening. Statistically, Penrith has dropped off in attack, as they scored 19.7 points per game over the past six rounds, which is lower than the second quarter average of 26.8 points scored per game. However, this is higher than the first quarter average of 16.3 points scored per game. In defence, the Panthers have also regressed, as they conceded 22 points per game in their past six games. This is also worse than the second quarter average of 13 points conceded per game, but better than their first quarter average of 24.7 points per game. The Panthers have the tied-6th best attack and tied-8th best defence in the NRL. Penrith are lacking from injuries, especially in the front row (is anybody noticing a trend here?). McKendry and Plum have been out with injuries, while Masoe has missed the past couple of games as a result of suspension. In addition to these injuries, Matt Robinson and Brag Tighe are also on the injured list. A good news story out of Penrith recently was the re-signing of their captain Kevin Kingston. Over the past 6 games, Penrith won one of two games and won two of four away games. For the season, their home record is 5-4 and their away record is 3-6. They have already surpassed their 2012 home record and need one away win to match last year’s away record. It certainly has been a year of improvement for the Panthers.

Over the next 6 games, Penrith play 3 games at home and 3 games away from home. Three of these games (one at home and two away from home), are against sides currently in the top 8. These games are against the Roosters in Round 21, Canterbury in Round 25 and Manly in Round 26.

Next 6 games: vs Roosters (Fri, 7:35pm), vs North Queensland (Sun, 6:30pm), at Warriors (Sun, 4pm), vs Brisbane (Fri, 7:35pm), at Canterbury (???), at Manly (Sun, 2pm).

Melbourne 2-4 (1st quarter: A, 6-0. 2nd quarter: B, 3-2-1)

Even though the Storm does have a losing record for the third quarter, I gave them a grade of C as two of these losses were without their Origin stars Slater, Smith and Cronk. The defending premiers will look to make a charge into the semi-finals as they did last year but they will need to see an improvement in their form if they are to do that. In attack, Melbourne was statistically well lower over the past 6 games as they scored just 14.3 points per game. In the first 6 games, they scored 26.5 points per game and in the following 6; they scored 22 points per game. Melbourne also conceded more points in the third quarter, an average of 20.5 points per game. This is compared to the first two quarters where they conceded 14.3 and 14.7 points per game respectively. The Storm is currently ranked tied for 6th in attack and 4th in defence in the league. A big setback for Melbourne was the season-ending injury to five eight Gareth Widdop in Round 15. His absence was a big reason why they struggled so much without their other established stars away on origin commitments. The Storm does have a handy replacement in Brett Finch but it is a downgrade from Widdop at this point of Finch’s career. In the past 6 games, Melbourne won both home games and lost all four away games. For the season, their home record is 7 wins, 1 loss and 1 draw, while their away record is 4-5. They need two more wins to surpass last season’s home record but will not be able to match their 2012 away record.

Over the next 6 weeks, Melbourne will play three games at home and three games away from home. One home game is against a side currently in the top 8 (Souths in Round 22), while all three away games are against fellow top 8 sides (Canberra in Round 21, Newcastle in Round 23 and Manly in Round 25).

Next 6 games: at Canberra (Sun, 2pm), vs South Sydney (Fri, 7:35pm), at Newcastle (Sun, 3pm), vs Parramatta (Sun, 3pm), at Manly (Sat, 7:30pm), vs Gold Coast (Sat, 5:30pm).

D

St George Illawarra 2-4 (1st quarter: C, 3-3. 2nd quarter: F, 1-5)

The Dragons’ season appears to be all but over as they will require to win the rest of their games to make the semi-finals. Over the past couple of weeks, they have shown some form and may prove to be nuisance value in the remaining six rounds. The Dragons were slightly worse in attack over the past 6 games, as they averaged 13.3 points per game. This is slightly lower than the averages in the first two quarters, 15 and 14.7 respectively. They were also worse in defence as they conceded 21.8 points per game in their last 6 matches, which is lower than the 20.3 and 20 points conceded per game in the first two quarters respectively. The Dragons are ranked 15th in attack and 11th in defence in the NRL. One positive for the Dragons is the form of Josh Dugan. He is their greatest attacking weapon and some of his play has helped the Dragons get a win in a few games this season. This team is still in a rebuilding phase but they should be a better side in 2014. One key injury for the Dragons is that to Matt Cooper, who is out for the season. If this is his last year, then it will be an end to a great career. Over the past 6 games, the Dragons lost all 3 home games but won two of their three away games. For the season, their home record is 2-6 and their away record is 4-6. They cannot match last season’s home record but have already surpassed last year’s away record.

In the next 6 games, four of these are at home while two are away from home. Only two games are against top 8 sides, both of them at home. These are in Round 21 against Canterbury and Round 23 against Cronulla.

Next 6 games: vs Canterbury (Mon, 7pm), at Brisbane (Sun, 3pm), vs Cronulla (Sat, 7:30pm), vs Wests (Sat, 3pm), at Parramatta (Mon, 7pm), vs Warriors (Sat, 3pm).

Wests Tigers 2-4 (1st quarter: D, 2-4. 2nd quarter: D, 2-4)

Following the Round 16 win over Melbourne, the Tigers had won 4 of their last 5 games. However, 3 straight losses have sent the Tigers crashing out of the finals race. In addition to this, the face of the club Benji Marshall has announced that he will be leaving at season’s end. The Tigers showed significant improvement in their attack over the past 6 games as they scored an average of 17.5 points per game. This is higher than the averages in the first two quarters of 15.5 and 12 points scored per game respectively. They also improved defensively, as they conceded 24 points per game, which is lower than the second quarter average of 30.3 points conceded per game. This is slightly worse than the first quarter average of 23.8 points conceded per game. Wests are ranked 14th in attack and 15th in defence in the league. Aaron Woods was rewarded for his good form with two origin selections. However, his performance in both games suggests that his is not at that level at this stage in his career. Two massive positives for the Tigers is the form of young wingers Nofoaluma and Simona. Some of their efforts in recent weeks have been nothing short of spectacular. Over the past 6 games, Wests won two home games out of a possible four and lost both away games. For the whole of the 2013 season, the Tigers’ home record is 5-5 and their away record is 1-7. They need one win to home match last year’s home win total and four away wins to match the 2012 away win total.

Over the next 6 weeks, the Tigers have two home games and four away games. Both home games are against top 8 teams (Souths in Round 23 and the Roosters in Round 25) while all four away games are against sides outside of the top 8.

Next 6 games: at Gold Coast (Sun, 3pm), at Parramatta (Fri, 7:35pm), vs Roosters (Mon, 7pm), at St George Illawarra (Sat, 3pm), vs South Sydney (Sat, 5:30pm), at North Queensland (Sat, 7:30pm).

Brisbane 2-4 (1st quarter: C, 3-3. 2nd quarter: D, 2-4)

The almighty Broncos have entered the world of mediocrity. It appears that they will miss the semi-finals for just the second time in 22 years. As a result, Brisbane has told halves Scott Prince and Peter Wallace that their services will not be required next season. The Broncos have regressed in their attacking statistics over the past six games, as they scored 17 points per game. This is lower than the first two quarter averages of 17.7 and 19 points scored per game. There was improvement in their defensive statistics, as the Broncos conceded 21.2 points per game in the past 6 games. This is lower than the second quarter average of 23.5 points conceded per game but higher than the average in the first 6 games, which was 15 points conceded per game. Brisbane is ranked 12th in attack and tied for 8th in defence in the NRL. The Broncos have suffered some injuries in the backline, which has forced back rower Alex Glenn to the centres. These injuries have put even more pressure on star centre Justin Hodges, who is their greatest attacking threat. Moving Sam Thaiday back to the second row should also help as well. Over the past 6 games, Brisbane won one game from two at home and won one game from four away from home. For the season, their home record is 3-5 and their away record is 4-6. The Broncos will need to win four games at home to match last year’s home record and one game away from home to match their 2012 away record.

Over the next 6 games, four are at home and two are away from home. Two home games are against sides in the top 8 (Newcastle in Round 25 and Canterbury in Round 26) and one away game is also against a top 8 side (Newcastle in Round 21).

Next 6 games: at Newcastle (Fri, 7:35pm), vs St George Illawarra (Sun, 3pm), vs Parramatta (Fri, 7:35pm), at Penrith (Fri, 7:35pm), vs Newcastle (Fri, 7:35pm), vs Canterbury (Thu, 7:45pm).

North Queensland 2-4 (1st quarter: D, 2-4. 2nd quarter: D, 2-4)

The Cowboys’ very disappointing season has claimed a victim, that being coach Neil Henry. On paper, this was a top 4 team but they currently sit in the bottom 4. It was a decision that pretty much had to happen as it appears that the Cowboys need something to change things up.  In attack, North Queensland did improve in the past 6 games as they scored 20 points per game, which was higher than the 16.3 and 15.7 points scored per game in the first two quarters. However, their defence was worse over the past 6 games, as they conceded 22.3 points per game. In the previous two quarters, they conceded an average of 18.3 and 19.2 points per game. The Cowboys’ attack is ranked 13th and their defence is ranked 10th in the NRL. One positive for North Queensland in recent weeks has been the return to strong form of prop Matt Scott. He was a big reason why Queensland came back from one game down to win this year’s origin series. However, Scott’s form could not mask the fact that the Cowboys are still struggling to find the right hooker and halfback. This lack on continuity has impacted on Johnathan Thurston’s play this season. I dare say they wish they had James Segeyaro back. Over the past 6 games, the Cowboys won one home game from a possible four and won one away game out of two. This takes their season home record to 3-5 and their away record to 3-7. Both their 2012 home and away records will not be matched this season.

In the next 6 games, four are at home and two are away from home. Two home games (Round 21 against Souths and Round 24 against Newcastle) are against top 8 sides, while one away game (Round 25 against Cronulla) is against a top 8 side.

Next 6 games: vs South Sydney (Sat, 7:30pm), at Penrith (Sun, 6:30pm), vs Gold Coast (Sat, 5:30pm), vs Newcastle (Sat, 7:30pm), at Cronulla (Sun, 2pm), vs Wests (Sat, 7:30pm).

F

Gold Coast 1-5 (1st quarter: B, 4-2. 2nd quarter: C, 3-3)

Last quarter, I stated that the fate of the Gold Coast’s season would be determined by the games in the third quarter. Well, the Titans have blown their good start to the season by only winning 1 from their past 6 to now fall outside of the top 8. It is now an uphill climb if they are to challenge for a place in the finals. The biggest reason for this is the drop-off in their defence as they have conceded a whopping 33 points per game in the third quarter. This is much higher than the 15 and 19.5 points per game conceded over the first two quarters. Their attack has also fallen statistically, as the Gold Coast only scored 16.7 points per game over the past 6 games. This is lower than the 21.7 and 20.7 points scored per game in the first two quarters. This is the lowest attacking statistic since the first quarter of 2012 (12.3 points per game). The Titans possess the 9th best attack and the 13th best defence in the league. The loss of towering centre Jamal Idris to injury has been a crushing blow for the Titans. They are also missing William Zillman to injury, which has resulted in the loss of some attacking prowess. For the Titans to make a charge for the finals, they need co-captains Bird and Myles to really stand up after they were significant contributors for New South Wales and Queensland respectively in the Origin series. The sole win for the Titans over the last 6 weeks was at home, while they lost all three away games in this period. For the season, the Titans are 6-4 at home and 2-6 away from home. The home record already surpasses last year’s effort, however they will need to win all 4 remaining away games if they are to match last year’s total.

Over the last 6 games, the Gold Coast has two home games and four away games. Three of the away games are against sides in the top 8, Canterbury in Round 22, the Roosters in Round 25 and Melbourne in Round 26.

Next 6 games: vs Wests (Sun, 3pm), at Canterbury (Mon, 7pm), at North Queensland (Sat, 5:30pm), vs Warriors (Sat, 5:30pm), at Roosters (Sun, 3pm), at Melbourne (Sat, 5:30pm).

Parramatta 0-6 (1st quarter: D, 2-4. 2nd quarter: F, 1-5)

It will take a miracle for Parramatta to avoid consecutive wooden spoons. It appears that the club is a rabble, both on and off the field. Statistically, Parra were worse in attack over the past 6 games, as they scored a paltry 9.3 points per game. This is lower than the previous two quarters, where they scored 18.2 and 13.5 points per game respectively. The defence slightly improved, when compared to the previous quarter. Over the last 6 games, the Eels conceded 30.5 points per game, compared to 31.3 in the 6 games prior to that. These are both higher than the first quarter average of 24.2 points per game. Parramatta are ranked 16th in both attack and defence in the NRL, which suggests that their current ladder position is appropriate. Chris Sandow has been dropped to NSW Cup for the second consecutive season, while Jarryd Hayne may not return this season so that he can be fit for the World Cup. This equates to a fair portion of the salary cap that is not currently on the field and is a reason for the Eels’ current struggles. In the last 6 games, the Eels lost both home games and all 4 away games. For the season, their record is 3-6 at home and 0-9 away from home. To match last season’s totals, Parra need to win one of their last 3 from home and two of their last 3 away from home.

In their last 6 games, three of these are against sides currently in the top 8. They play Manly in Round 21, Melbourne in Round 24 and Newcastle in Round 26.

Next 6 games: vs Manly (Sat, 5:30pm), vs Wests (Fri, 7:35pm), at Brisbane (Fri, 7:35pm), at Melbourne (Sun, 3pm), vs St George Illawarra (Mon, 7pm), at Newcastle (Sun, 3pm).

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