For a weekend of footy that didn’t contain any close games, the product on display was pretty much as good as it gets. A 2-out-of-3 Burgii Souths upset Easts in their local derby on Thursday night, comprehensively outgunning their more fancied opponents. Melbourne showed what they can be capable of if they put their minds to it, smothering Newcastle. The Dragons continue an unbeaten run taking down the Sharks for the second time in 2018. Brisbane went to New Zealand and beat the Warriors, showing some signs that last year’s team isn’t yet dead and buried. North Queensland are in real trouble with an incredibly poor outing against a barely competent Canterbury outfit. Penrith went behind early, only to steam roll the Gold Coast at home and Manly were never in the contest against Wests, taking their first L of the season at their council park.
The ladder doesn’t tell the whole story. Sometimes, we can see other things – like hope, luck and disappointment – in the statistics. That’s what why we have the Indices.
Don’t get what you’re looking at? See the primer.
Saints still leading our Power Index, three weeks running now. They’re at 6-0 and we have them pegged as going 12-6 from here to the end of the season. Given the way the Dragons are playing, that should be eminently achievable. The Tigers slip up into third and the Warriors drop away to fifth, putting Wests into the premiership conversation for the first time in who knows how long. After watching them dismantle Manly, there’s no reason why they couldn’t be there in September.
I would say that we’ve narrowed down to five minor premiership contenders. Neither the Roosters or the Cowboys are in that group. Included are the Dragons, Panthers, Tigers, Storm and Warriors. All have chances over 9%. The next best candidate is Souths at 4%. It’s still early days and an eighteen game winning streak would likely put any team over the top but before you get too excited, you need to consider the likelihood of that. I have and that’s why we have the numbers we do. Interesting times.
Wests are finally where they belong, sitting atop our Hope Index. This is not only an acknowledgement of winning lots of games but also that we really didn’t expect this. As Archimedes re-rates their chances (they are currently rated a top four team), then their degree of difficulty will fall and their hope rating will decline. This doesn’t mean that fans should lose hope but rather that they should expect a higher standard of play than has been the case over the last couple of seasons. As the Tigers move down the Hope Index, they will also fall down the Panic and Disappointment indices and rise up the Power Index, which is ultimately where you want your team to be.
Last week, I put this post up with a quote about Queensland teams not making the finals. It did some rounds. Well, hate to burst everyone’s bubble but the Donkeys are back to at least a 50-50 shot of making the top eight. If they can find some form and play like they did against the Warriors, they may not win it all but they should be in with a shout of playing finals footy for at least a week or two.
There’s no surprises here. If you made a list of teams to be concerned about, I would give you the same top four and in exactly that same order.
The Eels are definitely in panic mode now. A 0-6 start to the season is extremely bad news, especially if you’re a team that was expected to contend for the title. Their wooden spoon chances are now a different colour to everyone else’s. The Cowboys drubbing at the hands of the Bulldogs puts them squarely in the firing line but Canterbury haven’t absolved themselves of their Oonspays tag. Manly copping one from the Tigers includes them in the Loser Quadrumvirate. It’s, uh, not the Latin-themed grouping you wanted to be included in. Pumping the Eels is not looking the achievement it was in round 2.
The Fortune Index is reverting to zero. In round 1, the maximum and the minimum were around 1000 rating points off. By round 3, this fell to around 700. As of this week, we’re at about 400 points each way. I would expect this to continue for a little while and we’ll start to establish the truly fortunate and unfortunate teams.
For now though, we have the Dragons displacing the Warriors at the top. The Storm and the Eels remain at the bottom. Brisbane, Sydney and Canterbury are in the middle.
The Eels are only fifth? How can this be? Well, we take a team’s class rating, estimate how many games we expect them to win based on that and see how far they fall short or far they exceed that expectation.
The Melbourne Storm have the highest expectations by virtue of being supremely good over the last few years. With only three wins, they have a long way to go to get to the seventeen we expect. Conversely, we only expected eleven from the Eels. Even with a winning percentage of .000, they’re still technically closer to their goal than Melbourne. It’ll develop – as the places from two through six have – over time.
Intrust Super Cup Results
I almost officially give up on tipping this competition. You never know what will happen. The Blackhawks edged out the Falcons at home, while Mackay comfortably strolled in for a win against Ipswich in Ipswich. Other than Mackay, all of those teams are now on .500. Easts went to Cairns and beat the Pride while Redcliffe sent the Hunters to a surprisingly bad 2-4 start to now sit ninth on the ladder. Even Tweed got their first win of the year in their battle of the seagulls over Wynnum-Manly. Norths ended Burleigh’s unbeaten run in Nundah while Souths keep powering, downing the Capras in commanding fashion.