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EYE-BALL’s Snoop-Poop on – NRL Round 20 – Upsets galore – Final 8 positions on the line…

July 22, 2012
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– NRL Round 20 – Upsets galore
– Final 8 positions on the line…
| Author: EYE-BALL’s Snoop-Poop | 21st July 2012 |
With only one match to be completed to finish the round – Cowboys v Tigers in Townsville, tomorrow night – the compression on the leader board is a promoters dream.

Tigers hold eighth position on 22 points – behind them are five teams on 20 points.  Seventh place is the Seaeagles and their form is also suspect.If Cowboys win tomorrow night – they will go to 4th ahead of the Broncos who could have slid from 3rd to 6th if Cowboys win and had the Sharkies won.The upsets over the weekend were Parramatta’s win over the Storm, bottom placed beats top placed and that makes 4 losses in a row for the Storm.

The Broncos loss will be expensive – Hoffman and Teo will be fronting the judiciary and both will miss matches.  Teo has gone once already this season and could get 2-3 weeks for his careless coat-hanger.

Hoffman’s hit on Bailey was just blatant, and any argument he was going for the ball is stupid.  Clenched fist – stiff forearm – he did not miss.

The Broncos are in trouble and their momentum like the Storm is backwards.

Canterbury were awesome against the Seaeagles – despite to rough house tactics employed by Toovey’s troops.  Glen Stewart is a coward – always attacking in defence from behind and always offering a cheap shot – Babar just keeps defying the critics and nobody can shut him down despite him being targeted.

The Rabbits are another form team but without Inglis their surge might suffer.  His hit on Young from my view was OK – he did the same to the Broncos Hoffman twice a few weeks ago and did not even bring a penalty.  His elbow did not lift and first contact was made below the head and Young’s head cannoned into Inglis with the force of the tackle.  A great hit … the NRL have either got to ban the ‘shoulder charge’ – and make players use their arms to engage in a tackle, or define the parameters of a shoulder charge.

If a player stands his ground and braces himself with his shoulder and it makes contact with the head in any way – the judiciary see it as ‘head-high’ and a stint on the sideline beckons.

Given Young’s physical distress the rules need to protect players and a blind-side shoulder charge risk’s a players safety.  For mine it has to go – as with the third man in low on the player in possession.

Back to the ladder – teams lining up for the 8th position – Warriors, Titans, Knights, Raiders, and Dragons can all turn it on on a good day.   Realistically, Warriors are about the only team who could  last past the first weekend of Finals footy.

The top four spot also has interest given the new finals matchups.  Storm and Broncos are most at risk from losing their top 4 spot.  If they do – their season will be all but over.  The teams to watch for mine are the Bulldogs,  the Rabbits depending on how long they give Inglis, and the Cowboys with their massive forward pack and Thurston.

Manly’s Coach Toovey ‘mad-dog’ interview last night says a lot about the mad-monk performances this year.  He ain’t a coaches bootlace … and the exodus of players from Manly this season attests to that.

With six rounds to go – a finals berth is there for the taking for 13 of the 16 teams.  The Roosters only have pride to play for at 14th and the Panthers and Eels will battle for the wooden spoon.   The Eels victory over the top placed Storm last night and their coaches last game – give some indication how close the competition is.

The Run Home – thanks to Rookie Bookie…

  1. Canterbury 30 points (+156) – Cowboys (h), Knights (a), Broncos (h), Tigers (h), Raiders (a), Roosters (h) – Prediction WWWWLW = 40 pts
  2. Storm 28 points (+155) – Saints (a), Panthers (h), Titans (h), Broncos (a), Sharks (h), Tigers (a) – Prediction – LWWWLL = 34 pts
  3. Rabbitohs 28 points (+77) – Tigers (h), Titans (a), Manly (h), Sharks (a), Eels (h), Knights (a) – Prediction – LLWWWL = 34 pts
  4. Cowboys 26 points (+83+ winning margin tomorrow night) – Bulldogs (a), Manly (h), Warriors (h), Saints (a), Knights (h), Sharks (a) – Prediction – LLWWWW = 34 pts
  5. Broncos 26 points – (+82) – Eels (h), Raiders (a), Bulldogs (a), Storm (h), Manly (a), Panthers (h) – Prediction – LLLLLW = 28 pts …
  6. Sharkies 25 points (-11) – Panthers (h), Warriors (a), Knights (a), Souths (h), Storm (a), Cowboys (h) – Prediction – WLLLLL – 27 pts
  7. Manly 24 points (+33) – Warriors (h), Cowboys (a), Souths (a), Knights (h), Broncos (h), Titans (a) – Prediction – WLLWWW = 32pts
  8. Tigers 22 points (+4- whatever they lose to the Cowboys tomorrow night) – Souths (a), Eels (h), Saints (h), Bulldogs (a), Roosters (a), Storm (h) – Prediction – WWWLWW = 32 pts …
  9. Warriors 20 points (+25) – Manly (a), Sharks (h), Cowboys (a), Panthers (h), Saints (a), Raiders (h) – Prediction – LWLWWW = 28 pts
  10. Titans 20 points (-22) – Roosters (a), Rabbits (h), Storm (a), Eels (h), Panthers (a), Manly (h) – Prediction – WLLWWL = 26 pts
  11. Knights 20 points (-34) – Raiders (a), Bulldogs (h), Sharks (h), Manly (a), Cowboys (a), Rabbits (h) – Prediction – LLWLLW = 24 pts
  12. Raiders 20 points -(39) – Knights (h), Broncos (h), Panthers (a), Easts (h), Bulldogs (h), Warriors (a) – Prediction – WWWWWL – 30 pts
  13. Dragons 20 points (-58) – Storm (h), Roosters (a), Tigers (a), Cowboys (h), Warriors (h), Eels (a) – Prediction – WLLLLW = 24 pts

The final 8 would then be:

  1. Bulldogs – 40 pts
  2. Storm – 34 pts
  3. Rabbits – 34 pts
  4. Cowboys – 34 pts
  5. Manly – 32 pts
  6. Tigers – 32 pts
  7. Raiders – 30 pts
  8. Broncos – 28 pts
  9. Warriors -28 pts
  10. Sharkies – 27 pts
  11. Titans – 26 pts
  12. Knights – 24 pts
  13. Saints – 24 pts

The eighth spot would then be decided on for/against record between Broncos and Warriors with the Broncos having 57 points advantage after round 20.  Every team in the top eight if the Warriors make it has a shot –

Of course this is all crystal ball stuff and the pressure of the moment will get to some teams.  More importantly – how will a referee’s whistle blow for a penalty influence the outcome of the Finals ladder –  I guarantee you it will be the case  In a season where back to back sets has resulted in 70% of all tries scored – and this stat is only been beaten by the number of tries scored of the back of a penalty.

A big thanks to Rookie-Bookie for his in-depth week in week out analysis and odds presentation for all NRL, AFL and Union codes.  Nobody would realise how much work went into his weekly efforts.

His efforts have made this season more predictable even though his selections in the latter part of the season have wavered a little.  But then who else would have picked Eels to beat Storm, and Canberra to thrash the Sharkies over the weekend.  He will come good for the Finals series.

We’re now down to the business end of the season – if Inglis goes then we know the judiciary is rigged …

EYE-BALL’s Snoop-Poop …

  1. HissyFit
    July 22, 2012 at 10:35 pm

    What an ego, you sink or you swin on these predictions.

  2. Budda Balls
    July 22, 2012 at 10:42 pm

    Canberra to win their next 5 games to make the 8, Broncos to lose their next 5 to maybe miss the 8!!!

    Big call man!

  3. rookie bookie
    July 22, 2012 at 11:15 pm

    I struggle with your predictions. You know that Bellamy, Storm players and supporters await the return of Billy Slater. His attacking options will lift them. He instills confidence in those around him. All year I have been waiting for them to fall apart. It is important to get early season wins. During SOO period the best teams will always suffer. After SOO in the business end of the season it is imperative teams put it together. They must play every match to win comprehensively.

    Sharks also were a miracle, and now they have fallen it doesn’t look real easy for them. Sure Gallen will be back, but they are so based around Carney and Gallen.

    The Raiders are a strange combination, woeful against Titans last week, hammered Sharks today. I use 13 wins as qualifying for the 8 and you show how 8th spot can be 12 wins and for and against counts. I truly doubt Raiders can beat Broncos, Bulldogs and Warriors, and then Panthers, Knights and Easts will each be a decent contest. There lack of discipline in first 12 matches is very telling.

    Every team is going well right now, in patches. I backed Chooks today because I could see that Wooden Spoon is between Eels, Panthers and Chooks. In that light I expected Easts to really show up. How wrong I was.

    Most importantly you are far too hard on the Broncos. Where they played last year for Lockie, this year it is Petro. In the 3rd SOO it was all about Petro and every match from here in will be the same. Consecutive matches against Eels and Raiders see them in the 8. Thereafter they play heavy weights, Bulldogs, Storm and Manly. Those 3 matches will determine their true stuff.

    All the biggies have tough runs still in front of them. Dogs get Cowboys, Knights then …. Every team sees them as the team to beat. They do look like minor premiers, but the fractured cheek of Casiano will see them vulnerable against the Cowboys, and I expect he will be back against Knights.

    As for the Knights, pre season comp hot pots, they are now starting to do something right. A bit of forward from the forwards and the class of Boyd and Uate can cut them to ribbons. Only 3 weeks ago, Souths gave them a lesson.

    The Warriors loss last night has had me thinking deeply about the group on 20 points. I believe 6 of the current 8 are over the line. If the Tigers win tomorrow night, then the 4 point chasm between 8th and 9th will be massive. Should they lose, well then…

    The upsets will continue.

    NRL loves this, it should be top 5 or top 6. The team who squeaks into 8th will be 85% chance bundled out in week 1 of the finals. That means all this hype will amount to nothing. That said great teams emerge in this stage. That is what really matters. Parra’s run in 2009, Tigers in 2005, Raiders in 1987 there are simply too many to recall or do justice to. Who can recall the Cowboys in 2004, They finally came of age. That is why we love the game. Picking winners is fun, and being wrong is OK. It is such a male thing.

  4. July 23, 2012 at 10:18 am

    It’s a deep deep thing when upsets like Parramatta beating the Sorm and the Sharks getting beaten by Canberra challenges the way we think matches will go. With regard to Canberra – Josh Duggan’s return made a big difference and his want to prove something will make Canberra’s form over the next six weeks similar to Jarred Hayne’s performance when Parramatta made their run to the finals.

    O inf course it’s all crystal ball stuff, and we never know when the unexpected twists and turns that turn a game weill come. Many will depend on the referee’s call – but what can be assured is that the loss of key players will definetly have an impact on game day performances.

    Take the Broncos for example, there likely to be without Teo for 3 to 4 weeks and possibly Hoffman for at least one maybe two. Given there season long weak backline constructs, and as evidenced by the number of tries they score from kicks – their struggle to score points for the rest of season will hurt them. Their forwards have been magnificent all season and their defence has kept them in many games. But for the rest of the season defence is not going to win their place in the final eight.

    The match between Bulldogs and the Seaeagles on Friday night had a defence intensity close to State of Origin level – the Bulldogs withstood the Manly rough house tatics and came out winners. At this point the season Canterbury are the outstanding team, this was the first time that Manly had a near full strength team on the park since the first round. Only Brett Stewart has to return. I don’t think Manly can reverse the result in the run to the flag.

    I agree with your comments about the Sharkies, my prediction for them to lose the last five matches of the season, when they play Warriors away, Knights away, Souths at home, Storm away, and Cowboys at home, I think loss predictions for the last five matched is quite a realistic forecast.

    The interesting team of course is the Storm – with Slater due to return next week or the week after it can’t come soon enough. Bellamy will do his job as coach and get them back on track. I don’t see them winning the competition simply because other teams have found ways to shut down the Smith/Cronk/Slater combination.

    Another team that interest is the Tigers, they are one of the most exciting teams in the competition when there are on fire, and they run home is not as tough as others.

    The Cowboys have looked awesome at times during the season, their front row is the equal, if not the best in the league, Thurston in trhe halves, and with a polished back row they have the potential to hurt many teams both in defence and attack. I rate them highly and expect them to come into contention via bookies odds.

    Rookie-Bookie, we may differ in many ways to arrive at a point where we voice an opinion about league team chances – that is what makes a contest, or at least some interest from third parties.

    Keep up the awesome Rookie Bookie workload … many depend on it.

  5. rookie bookie
    July 24, 2012 at 4:06 am

    Cowboys win is noted, They are really flying under the radar. In preparing this week post I noted how West Coast Eagles have slipped from Equal 1st to 5th in two weeks. In NRL not only have Melbourne likely lost the minor premiership, but Broncos are out of the 4 and Cowboys are just in by virtue of for and against. With Teo out for a week and Hoffman 2. Cowboys are in a tough string of matches right now, and if they come through strong they will look very good for the finals, where no match is easy right now, they have Bulldogs Manly and then Warriors. A narrow defeat with Bulldogs is basically one tough ref’s call, or simply call it luck. In a final contest you have a realistic chance. Losing by 10 points or more will call into question their realistic chances.

    On that score I worry for Sharks, losing by 32 (woeful defence) Warriors loss to Knights, Saints loss by 3 tries. While Manly were comprehensively beaten by a better team they are still in the mix. Souths have worries of a different issue without both Luke and Inglis through some tough matches.

    From the positive side, Parra and Newcastle are playing in a way we have expected all year, and even Penrith have gone Ok in last two matches. Newcastle and Raiders have a chance because Wests lost tonight. Waiting for Ellis to come good is simply not enough. Tigers may well be playing Storm in round 26 to determine 8th spot. The real issue is a win tonight would have reduced the hopes and expectations of all those teams on 9th. In that Wests failed.

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