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Friday, August 10, 2007

NRL Round 22 

After a polite inquiry from Leg Break of Sportsfreak fame and err... fortune, I have gone back and worked out our NRL pick success rate for the whole year.

In first place we have yamis with 85 correct from 136 equalling 62.5%

Second is latecomer dc_red with 40 correct from 68 equalling 58.8% (at one stage he was flying high at 65% but three shit rounds straight have seen him fall off the pace).

While in third we have the late and great bennyasena, struck down by an evil webmarshall before he could load his six shooter (or eight shooter in the NRL picking stakes) with 65 correct picks from 114 equalling 57%. He started off with a hiss and a roar, and was sitting tied with yamis on 62% after week 7 but it was all down hill from there as first his form deserted him and then his internet access to anything worth looking at.

Anyway, some fascinating matchups this week. They might not be great games but are vital for the respective teams involved. Biggest ones in red. Watch out for this scenario...

Tigers beat the Roosters tonight, Warriors beat the Titans on Saturday, Dragons beat the Rabbitohs on Saturday and Bulldogs beat the Raiders on Sunday. If those results all happen then 7 teams will have all but sealed their playoff spots. The only doubtful team would be the Broncos on 22 but even they would have a two point buffer and a superior points differential which equates to an extra two comp points.

Sea Eagles v Knights - Sea Eagles easily. If the Knights won this it would be the upset of the year.

Tigers v Roosters - everyone is waiting for the Roosters bubble to burst but they actually seem to suddenly be a good team rather than one that's simply playing on emotion. On paper I picked them to be awful at the start of the year and that's how they were going but who knows now? Craid Fitzgibbon, their captain and goal kicker is out with a knee injury and I think that will be the difference for a narrow Tigers win despite them suffering the loss of their own goalkicker the scrawny twinkle toes Hodgson.

Warriors v Titans - Warriors should all but seal a playoff spot here but maybe not by too many. Might depend on the weather a bit as well as a Titans team with their season on the line. Crap weather is predicted and Cartwright has decided to leave out the slightly injured Mat Rogers for that very reason. They are two points outside the 8 with a -70 points differential now and MUST WIN this match despite Cartwright suggesting they are targeting next weeks game more than this one and are looking to win their last three to make it. Any team that dares risk that strategy is fucked.

Dragons v Rabbitohs - Rabbitohs are the only team with a realistic chance of still making the top 8 who aren't currently in it but the Dragons will still think they are an outside chance and at home they could spoil the Rabbitohs season. But if the Rabbitohs don't win this then all their effort and big strides this year will be flushed down the shitter along with any love they feel for one another.

Eels v Sharks - Sharks have an excellent defence and never lose by much, only problem for them is they have a positive points differential but lie second to last and should stay there after this match. Eels by 10.

Bulldogs v Raiders - 50th match between these two sides. Hard to go past the Bulldogs despite still missing Mason and Morrin suspended for the season. They still have SBW, El Masri, Tonga, Hughes, Ryan and Maitua with Shrek O'Meley back from injury and coming off the bench. The Raiders are hard to beat at home but away they are bloody awful with two wins from 10. If the Bulldogs would grow up off the field they would win the minor premiership but with them its like Snoop Dogg said, "if it ain't one thing it's a muthafucken nutha".

Storm v Broncos -Storm should draw one of their better crowds (read 13,000) and should give the Broncos fans a nervous few weeks by beating them by 10. Their matchup v the Bulldogs next week could have monumental repercussions for the losing team.

Panthers v Cowboys - this could go either way it just depends what Panthers side turns up. For most of the year its been their shit side. Big wins over the Bulldogs and Rabbitohs split by losses to the Dragons and Raiders sum things up. They could win because the Cowboys are all over the place with a negative points differential despite lying in 4th spot. For the Warriors sake I hope there's an upset and that's what I'll pick. Panthers to try to fight off the wooden spoon with a 4 point win.

Stats for the year to date:
Goal kicks
66/79 Hazem El Masri (Bulldogs)
62/85 Cameron Smith (Storm)
59/70 Luke Burt (Eels)

leading Warrior - Michael Witt with 40/42

18 Matthew Bowen (Cowboys)
16 Israel Folau (Eels)
15 Matt King (Storm)

leading Warrior - Wade McKinnon with 9

Try Assists
23 Scott Prince (Titans)
21 Johnathon Thurston (Cowboys)
20 Michael Monaghan (Sea Eagles)
20 Tim Smith (Eels)

leading Warrior - Michael Witt with 11

385 Steve Price (Warriors)
342 Petero Civoniceva (Broncos)
324 Roy Asotasi (Rabbitohs)

24 Matthew Bowen (Cowboys)
18 Wade McKinnon (Warriors)
17 Steve Turner (Storm)

53 Sonny Bill Williams (Bulldogs)
43 Anthony Tupou (Roosters)
43 Paul Gallen (Sharks)

leading Warrior - Steve Price with 29 (McKinnon has 28, Witt has 25)

794 Craig Fitzgibbon (Roosters)
730 Micheal Luck (Warriors)
677 Lincoln Withers (Raiders)

Average Attendances
Season Average: 15,487 (last season was 15,600, 2005 was 16,468)
34,117 Brisbane
19,849 Cowboys
16,747 Titans
16,397 Bulldogs
16,395 Knights
15,698 Tigers
14,527 Sea Eagles
13,951 Rabbitohs
13,922 Eels
12,083 Roosters
11,857 Raiders
11,522 Storm
11,404 St George - Illawarra
11,048 Warriors
10,896 Sharks

A bit of a drop from the last two years crowds but it will still come in as the third best average ever. It's also been fairly solid with no clubs having really poor attendance. Only once before (2000) have all the clubs averaged over 10,000. Last year the Warriors had the worst crowd average with 8,829 so they have jumped a couple of thousand. That should go up a touch before the season end, especially if they could nab a home semi.

They'd be happy with the Titans though. Last time they had a team they averaged 6,599 in 1998 and in their debut season back in 1988 they only averaged 5,495. Shows how far things have come in that area.

3 top attendances from Qld; interesting.

Will hell freeze over before a 2nd team from Brisbane???

LB (stuggling to get a blogger account working)
I'm quite impressed by the turnout for the Rabbits. Didn't they used to be (in)famous for small home crowds. Like 5-6,000?
There's been a few crowds this year with 6,000 or so. I think the Warriors game away to the Sharks drew about 4,000 but that was largely due to the fact that there was horizontal rain and winds blowing shit over.

I don't think Brisbane will get another team any time soon. Especially since the Gold Coast got one.

I would say the next cabs off the rank are Central Coast and Wellington. Problem is they don't really want too many more teams unless the standard goes up. That means more mergers in Sydney and there aren't many obvious ones that I can see.

On the crowds being big in Brisbane. Two main reasons, one team towns that already have league established.

An advantage for the Sydney teams over the Warriors is that many of the games attract opposition supporters. Especially games at the main stadiums in sydney where a Bulldogs v Tigers game might attract 20,000 but it's a 12,000 - 8,000 split. The Warriors, Raiders, Storm are disadvantaged in that respect.

It makes for more intimidating game though in places like Auckland, Newcastle, Lang Park, Townsville where ALL the supporters are opposition supporters.
It's an interesting topic.

From a Wgtn perspective; you mention the horizontal rain in the game at Shark Park, yet there were 20k at the Caketin on Sat for a game v Manawatu (OK; different scenario)

Also woth noting that the future viability of an NRL side out of Wgtn depends on the success of the.... Phoenix

In what respect LB?

You mean that if the Phoenix are successful it will show that Wellington get behind teams and an NRL side would work OR, that the Phoenix would swallow up peoples dollars and they couldn't support another side?

If it's the latter I'm not so sure because the types of Wellingtonians that would go to watch the Phoenix are not exactly going to be the same as those who support league.

The NZ Knights and Warriors would be a good example. I'd say if you asked the 4,000 at a Knights game how many of them also go to Warriors games the answer would be close to sweet FA.

That said though, it would soak up sponsorship dollars, as well as spread the interest of the public and there would be floating fans who would like to go to both but couldn't afford it.

I think though that an NRL team would draw more week in and week out than a footie team playing like shit.

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