Back to the full complement of eight games this week – hallelujah!
Before drawing on the (imprecise, but interesting) predictive powers of the Form Tracker for each of the weekend’s matches, the latter season NRL draw was announced yesterday, and has drawn some comment.
Much of the commentary was reserved for the fact that the Broncos continue to snag the Friday night games.
Is this a real issue? It has annoyed me in the past, and I have some sympathy for the idea that they do receive a favourable draw in this regard.
For example, would the Cowboys-Titans game not be a better Friday night spectacle than Broncos-Eels in Round 23? Or Titans-Warriors the very next week rather than Panthers-Broncos? You get the picture …
Clearly, there is an advantage to having the regularity of knowing you have seven days to recuperate and prepare for the next match. Further, this kind of repeated ‘spacing’ accumulates in a beneficial way.
Having a series of shorter term turnarounds, on the other hand, might mean the difference between an injury healing sufficiently, or being prone to further deterioration, particularly with consecutive short turnarounds.
But here’s the thing – looking at the draw, there are a mixture of 5-9 day turnarounds, and while the Broncos do have this seven-day regularity, they miss out on the longer gaps too. So, while the last 10 rounds have delivered the Broncos gaps of at least seven days on seven occasions, only one of those is longer. Other teams have a mixture of seven, eight and nine-day turnarounds.
The point is, it’s not significant … just annoying.
If any teams had a gripe, at the margin I would nominate Manly and the Roosters as having a slightly worse schedule than the Rabbitohs and Storm, and if I were the Roosters, I’d ask about the 5-day turnaround before the last game of the season against the Rabbitohs in what could be the playoff for the minor premiership.
As noted in a previous post, NRL CEO David Smith has been moving in the right direction with his management team, banning the biff and so on, and I like what I’m beginning to see.
The announcement of the reintroduction of Saturday afternoon matches within yesterday’s announcement is another excellent development. Most seem to appreciate this time slot – it’s family friendly and the ball movement isn’t affected by dew. It’s a better contest all round. Hopefully it is a precursor to an earlier Grand Final as well!
Now he can move onto reintroducing the shoulder charge which, as mentioned oh so long ago (and here too), was always fraught with danger once it became banned. The sooner head contact is dealt with appropriately, the sooner we can do away with ‘dud’ rules.
Now that we’re more than halfway through the season and armed with a better sample of data, how does each team’s record stack up for Round 17?
Note that the Form Tracker takes into account when each scores points and is scored against. There is no adjustment for home or away games or particular rivalries (that’s far too much work, though possibly not where the Raiders are concerned). Just the cold, hard numbers as put up by each club. See if you agree.
If the Dragons stay within 15 they should count it as a ‘win’.
Without the Fresh Prince in the centres, the Titans could really struggle in this one, evewi considering the more humid conditions and home-like advantage.
The Raiders can’t possibly lose at home can they? And vice versa …
The Knights have struggled to back up this year, so I have no hesitation favouring the Bulldog, possibly by plenty.
I have a feeling this is the week the Warriors come back to earth after 5 straight wins and a loooooong trip to an away game.