A quick look at the NRL Form Tracker for Round 17

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.

The Draw

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.

Afternoon Games

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.

Form Tracker

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.

Storm-BroncosStorm Tracker

Sharks-TigersSharks Tracker


If the Dragons stay within 15 they should count it as a ‘win’.


Dragons Tracker


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.

Titans Tracker


The Raiders can’t possibly lose at home can they? And vice versa …

Raiders tracker


The Knights have struggled to back up this year, so I have no hesitation favouring the Bulldog, possibly by plenty.


Bulldogs Tracker


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.

Rabbitohs Tracker

Manly-ParramattaManly Tracker


7 thoughts on “A quick look at the NRL Form Tracker for Round 17

  1. As a dr in the mixed up world of RL can you clarify a couple if things for me
    A) I’m hearing that these schedules were actually locked in ages ago by ch9?

    B) under new rights hasn’t ch9 already stipulated grand final will go back to 730?

    • Hiya,

      A. Simply had to have been locked in as you suggest, because there is no other explanation really.

      Judging by what Ch9 is offering on Fridays and Sundays, it’s hard to imagine they could get it so wrong. Then again, maybe that’s why they’re a billion dollars in debt and private equity want to flog it to mums and dads on the ASX.

      On thing I know is that they’re not putting Parramatta up on FTA out of altruism.

      B. The rights do suggest that, but I think the rights contract might be of the Benji-style where everything is up for negotiation.

      Like the Broncos on Friday nights, it’s about ratings, and if they could be persuaded that 5:30 or earlier would rate better, then I’m sure there’s more than enough rubbery substance in the contract to make it happen.

      I’d prefer earlier. It’s a better game. I can’t stand slippery surfaces, particularly in finals matches, where 10mtrs from each sideline is almost a no-go zone. It’s rubbish, RUBBISH I say!

      Le docteur de la league de rugby nationale.

      Sent from my iPad

  2. The Broncos gaining favouritism from the draw is an ongoing myth. Brisbane have repeatedly requested Sunday afternoons as their preferred timeslot when clubs are asked to identify their draw preferences each year. Crowds are down significantly on Friday nights in Brisbane compared to the prime Sunday afternoon slots.

    Conversely, the Cowboys get a majority of their home games in their preferred timeslot of Saturday nights – allows regional fans to travel more easily – and yet there are no complaints from the media / fans / experts etc.

    The real issue is that the Broncos rate well on TV in Queensland on Friday nights. Channel Nine want a return on their massive investment so they spam us with Broncos games – in prime time for Queensland and yawn time for NSW.

    The only teams that are really disadvantaged are those that have to suffer Monday night games where there is a small TV audience and an even smaller (proportionally) gate. Again, TV determines the allocation of those games.

    As a predominantly TV fan my greatest concern is that Sunday afternoons are dominated by “Isn’t Sunday afternoon at Leichhardt Oval great!” rubbish peddled by Phil Gould. I’d rather watch the Warriors, Raiders, Knights etc than the endless “reruns” of Parramatta and Wests Tigers. Again, TV determines what is available.

    On a positive note it’s great to see the Bunnies getting a solid run on TV in the rounds leading up to the finals. While not a Bunnies fan, they’re certainly great viewing from a football and story perspective. I’d love to see next season’s schedule programmed in six to eight week blocks so we aren’t stuck with some of the cellar-dweller playoffs of recent.

    • Yep, spot on wrt the Broncos and ratings and yawn time (exacerbated by the poor quality of commentary for that game, meaning I hardly ever watch it).

      The NRL has many issues to grapple with, not the least of which being the seriously sub-standard refereeing, but surely the commentary needs to be part of the rights deal? I would rather listen to Ken from A Fish Called Wanda than Ray Comatose Hadley. Seriously, the pauses are long enough to get the medics edgy, and there is zero analysis or value add. It’s the Alan Jones style of radio, juxtaposed onto an NRL game – ie. expounding upon the obvious with a sense of revelation.

      I can only imagine what it’s like for non-Fox subscribers.

      Sent from my iPad

    • Sorry, never quite finished there … itchy trigger finger … Or ham fist, or something!

      Re non-Fox … Who is going watch Parra-Tigers in Sydney in round 22 after Storm-Rabbitohs (which the Rabbitohs will win, by the way!)? If 15 v 16 isn’t bad enough, it’s late, and the 37 people who watch it will be subjected to an ear bashing in commentary that will have them reaching for the nearest fork to stick in their eye.

      The block-draw is a great idea. Problem is, it also describes my golf game 🙂

      Sent from my iPad

  3. I would much prefer Broncos-Parra as opposed to Titans-Warriors.. Who cares about either the Titans or the Warriors.. Parra is a long standing premiership winning team and the Broncs are the most successful newish team in the competition.. Much history.. Far bigger issues are origin ravaged rounds that leave teams with their stars and top matches made a mockery of.
    You should be debating the important topics not worrying about 5 day turnarounds.. Etc.. Etc..

    The Dragon

    • Hi Dragon,

      Long standing alright! 1986 is a long time for the Eels. And the Broncos were last a threat in 2006 and won’t be in the finals this year either. Slamming the old fella in a car door is preferable to watching that game. Having said that, I wouldn’t the necessarily be making my plans around a Titans TV match either. The top four and the Panthers and Warriors interest me very much, however, along with the Raiders and Sharks. The rest? Pfft, not a chance this year.

      Broncos and Friday nights is a ratings issue and the Broncos rate far higher than the Titans, whose fans seem to have a better time at Timezone or one of the many bars or establishments of ill repute than watching a game of football.

      There are issues of far greater import than turnarounds, I agree. Check out some previous blogs on concussion, recency bias, rules changes and dynamic pricing, for instance. I can almost feel a blog on sportspeople and emotional intelligence coming on!

      I still haven’t found a better approach to Origin than standalone matches, which seems a fairly logical approach. Gate revenue isn’t an issue because Origin is an ‘extra’ game, producing almost as many paying spectators as a regular round of NRL (in Sydney), and the NRL carries on again the next week anyway. The current system of half-arsed matches doesn’t float anyone’s boat.

      The real issue of the day is the standard of refereeing (see the Referees Rule Primer), which includes the video referees. Improving this aspect of the game is becoming increasingly urgent with every week of incomprehensible errors. Origin 2, the NRL showpiece, was completely ruined after only 20 minutes by refereeing decisions. The only send off for the entire year has been followed by weekly indiscretions that make JWH’s tackle look irrelevant … you get the picture. Besides, isn’t punching ‘attacking the head’?

      Have a good one mate,

      Dr NRL

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