Game of the Week – Bulldogs vs Rabbitohs – Charts to Whet Your Whistle

Happy Good Friday one and all, and congratulations Manly – the first 1600 metre game this year. Wow.

These little Form Tracker and stat charts are beginning to prove awfully useful. They’re not gospel, of course (pardon the seasonal pun), but they are informative nonetheless. Last night’s game went true to form, with the margin exceeding the prediction in the end.

Once again, the point is to analyse the form, then make your own adjustments based on who each team have played in prior weeks. Clearly, feasting on a diet of Raiders, Dragons and Warriors is going to give you a better profile than if you had the Cowboys’ draw of 2 Grand Finalists and a Wayne Bennett-coached Knights (who had just had their Tommy Haas kicked).

Here is is how the Form Tracker lines up tonight. The Bulldogs have played the Cowboys, Eels and Storm, while the Rabbitohs faced the Roosters, Sharks and Panthers. Even without a chart you would imagine the ‘Form’ would be on the Rabbitohs side. And so it is:Rabbitohs v Bulldogs

What the chart above says is that the Rabbitohs (in relation to the Bulldogs so far this year) have really put the foot down in the first half, opening up a sizeable lead, on average. From that point it’s a net negative – ie. taking the lead a little further before giving that last increase up, and more, in the last 20 minutes.

This might not be so bad given teh Bulldogs haven’t tended to do (relatively) well versus their opposition for most of the 2nd half. If they are in it with 10-minutes to go, though, they have shown an ability to find that extra thrust.

One thing working against them is a Rabbitohs team that is powerful and can be relentless when it wants to be, and earns above-average metresTotal Metres Difference:… Though the Bulldogs can mitigate it (so some degree) by controlling the ball and completing their sets in their usual disciplined way:Completion % vs Average

Expecting a Rabbitohs victory tonight, but a pretty close one. A try in it, perhaps. They need to beat the Bulldogs after 2 so-so performances. It’s the difference, I think, between them seeing themselves as a top 4 team, or a top 2. Here’s the telling factor:Tries v Average

Oh, and if you thought the Bunnies gave SBW a spray all night in the first round, I’d love to have a set of Sports Ears for when they get hold of Barba 🙂

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