Round 8 seemed to be a return to normal with a few upsets bringing us back to earth after a very successful Round 7. Round 9 will be more of the same with some even match-ups, including a top of the table clash between the Dragons and Storm on Sunday arvo and a questionable game as to whether Manly will turn it on or off against Souths.
The Greeks and I all hit about 50% last round, although Eratosthenes was the only one to correctly call the Roosters-Dragons game…just. I’ve made a few tweaks to the table this week to include a record of the consensus pick of each game which comes from which way our jury of four – Eratosthenes, Euclid, Archimedes and myself – vote.
The jury consensus is only measured for games where there was no “split” in voting. That’s happened nine times so far this season, so those results are not counted. I’m planning on having five jurors next season, so this shouldn’t be a problem in 2018.
After round 8:
Penrith (2-6) @ Brisbane (5-3)
Manly (4-4) @ South Sydney (3-5)
Parramatta (4-4) @ North Queensland (5-3)
Newcastle (1-7) @ Gold Coast (2-6)
Canberra (4-4) @ Canterbury (4-4)
Cronulla (5-3) @ Wests Tigers (3-5)
Sydney (6-2) @ New Zealand (3-5)
Melbourne (7-1) @ St George Illawarra (6-2)
There’s no split votes this week but there’s a couple of games that are making me nervous. The Sea Eagles-Rabbits game is the most obvious but the Raiders-Bulldogs match is also a little painful to call. It really depends on which team turns up on the day.
It’s hard to imagine Penrith, Parra, Wests or NZ getting one over their more fancied opponents and I think based on recent form we can safely conclude that the Gold Coast will account for Newcastle, pumping another nail into the coffin of their 2017 campaign.
I’ve gone for Melbourne in the big matchup of the round. The Storm have all their major pieces in play but the Dragons may be missing Widdop. As we saw against the Roosters, without Widdop (and to a lesser extent, Dugan) the Dragons lack direction and finesse in their attack. Nightingale can’t carry the team. Slippery conditions are forecast in Woolongong, which hasn’t favoured either team so far this year. While the Dragons’ defence is strong, it will not withstand the Storm if Cronk, Smith and Slater are on song.
I’ve added a new column for this week, taking a simple average of the probabilities forecast for the consensus pick. It is under 50% for some teams as one system may heavily under-rate a team to more than offset two tepid endorsements by the other systems.