NRL Recap – Round 15, 2018
It wasn’t a particularly close round with a number of teams stamping their authority on the opposition. I don’t actually have a lot to say about it other than repeating “x team was in control against y team but may have let in a few late tries”. It wasn’t the greatest advertisement for rugby league – Corey Oates’ miracle try aside – but with the rep weekend coming up, all clubs will take stock and re-assess their run into the finish.
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.
And just like that, with a single big loss to a rival, Penrith have been cut asunder from the leading group, like a mountain climber that’s fallen into a crevasse. A crevasse of mediocrity. I kid, slightly, because Penrith are still ahead of the rest but it highlights how one off night for the contenders could have significant long term consequences in the race for the minor premiership. They were first last week at 31% and, one hammering from the Roosters later, they’re now third at 17%.
The Dragons have resumed their lead after pumping Manly for their two points but the Rabbitohs are pretty close behind. Both are clear on eleven wins.
Boom! Tigers out, Broncos in, Raiders… maybe. The Tigers’ loss to the Raiders de-rates them by 20 points, which is a big deal for one game this year. Wests are now a 34% chance of making the finals. Canberra are 38%, so about the same, despite being a win behind. The Broncos are off into the distance at 63%. The race is on for the last finals position.
The next most likely finalist is Cronulla at 88%. The next least likely finalist is the Gold Coast at 22%. I wouldn’t be putting my money anywhere outside of Souths, Penrith, Brisbane, Sydney, NZ, Cronulla, Melbourne and St George Illawarra. The only question left is the final order.
The bottom six on the ladder are the top six on the Panic Index. In fact, they’re just about in reverse order. Parra’s 41% chance of taking the wooden spoon is starting to look insurmountable. The bottom four aren’t out of it either but it’s a race between those players. Sudden swings in form in the backend of the season aren’t unheard of but it’s hard to imagine based on what we’ve seen to date. Fortunately for those guys at the bottom, it may only require a win or two to be jagged to avoid the bottom.
The Bulldogs are having a 2017-Raiders-like run with narrow losses. They have five by my count, although there are a lot of other teams on four. At the other end, the Broncos keep sneaking home with six of their eight wins by six points or less, which is heart attack inducing for me and probably annoying for the rest of the league.
New Zealand continue to defy their respective projections, still riding a run from earlier in the year and some easier wins in recent weeks. As usual, the team will be unaffected by Origin and with the Warriors releasing only four players, the Denver test might not be that impactful either.
Finally. The lead has changed. The Cowboys lost, the Storm won and at long last, we have a new leader in the Disappointment Index. The Eels and Bulldogs aren’t far off the Storm, so if we get another round of similar results, Melbourne might slip further down the order.
Intrust Super Cup Results
Burleigh have been knocked out of first place for the first time since round 7. Four other teams have occupied second place in this time but the win for the Blackhawks over the Cutters while the Bears lost to the Falcons, has changed the pecking order. Wins for the Dolphins, in a four-pointer over the Magpies, and the Pride over the lesser Seagulls has seen them step over Souths Logan. Tweed and Sunshine Coast are in the proximate finals positions for the first time in a while. The Seagulls are looking down the barrel of their first finals appearance in a while.
- Kane Elgey, Konrad Hurrell and Bryce Cartwright held off a fast finishing Devils to take the win at Piggabeen
- Brodie Croft beat Dave Taylor in another close loss for the Capras at Coorparoo