As promised the Sportress is here to deliver the two-thirds season review. Fair to say the landscape has changed since our Round 8 wrap up. The strong starts of the Tigers (5th now 14th) and Titans (7th now 13th) have surprisingly faltered (insert sarcasm here). Meanwhile nearly every team has had their valleys and peeks but it’s been the Cowboys and Broncos who have just kept winning week in and week out (and Manly who has just kept losing). So here’s a quick summary of where we stand.
North Queensland Cowboys – Great forward pack. Tick. Speedy backs. Tick. Best player in the world running the show. Big fucking tick! Fair to say things are going pretty well for the Cowboys.
After losing the first 3 games of the season with woeful defence the Cowboys have knuckled down and been one of the form teams this season. Should be noted in their impressive 11 game winning streak 6 of those victories were by 6 points or less and only 3 were by 10 points or more. Still if any team deserves a bit of luck it’s the Cowboys.
Sydney City Roosters – At the end of round 8 the Roosters were struggling with 4 consecutive losses. The injury to under rated hooker Jake Friend was a factor in this as the forwards struggled without good clean delivery in his absence. Since then the Roosters have won 6 from 7 with just the one hiccup against the Sharks. On paper the Roosters look like the most complete team in the comp. Doesn’t mean we can’t fucking hate them but.
South Sydney Rabbitohs – Last year’s champs started this season with some great wins and some ordinary losses. But while dealing with numerous injuries the Bunnies have started to get some solid form with 5 wins from their last 6 games (Whoops. Make that 5 from 7). Questions on how well the Rabbitohs can adapt their effective power game in 2014 with the faster interpretation of the ruck in 2015 still remain but only time will tell.
Brisbane Broncos – I know. They’re 12 – 3. Wayne Bennett strikes again. And full credit to him.
He has created a well disciplined team who have been ahead of the curve this season and performing to their complete potential. Their backs are pretty good. Their forwards are pretty good. Their halves are pretty good. But come finals time being consistent and just pretty good doesn’t cut it…..unless you are St George in 2010.
St George Illawarra Dragons – Speaking of the devil. Cracks are starting show. Dragons have gone 2 from 5 since round 8. Headline you won’t see in October. “Gareth Widdop scores match winning try as Benji Marshall receives Clive Churchill medal”.
Melbourne Storm – Billy Slater is done. Cronk battling injury. Origin fatiguing Cameron Smith and Will Chambers. Fair to say the wheels are coming off the aging Melbourne Storm. They’ve lost 4 of their last 5. While the Storm still have more than enough quality to make the finals they need a better support cast and better luck with injuries if they’re going to have another crack at a premiership.
You Wot Mate
What the fuck Manly? You’ve got a half back and five-eighth who have been apparently valued at 15 million dollars over the next 15 years. You’ve got very strong players at fullback and hooker with Stewart and Ballin.
I’ll concede Toovey needed to sign some forwards (Willy Mason doesn’t count) but Manly shouldn’t be the worst team in the competition. Also thanks for fucking up my tipping.
Raiders win their last nine games and come up against the Warriors in the first elimination final. Ricky employs his highly successful “watch and walk backwards” defensive strategy against Shaun Johnson and we lose 50 – 0. Josh McCrone comes off the bench and executes the game plan perfectly.