Crikey’s NRL Hot Form Chart is taking up season 2008 exactly where season 2007 left off. Each week, we rate the teams over their last five premiership performances and let you know who’s hot like ScarJo, cold like TomKat, or tepid and flat like Brendan Nelson.

Unsurprisingly, the Hot Form Chart likes Melbourne. Who doesn’t? The premiers are tipped by many to become the first back-to-back winners of the competition since the Broncos some ten years ago. However, there is a sense that the end-of-season exodus has left Melbourne shallow in key positions and vulnerable when Cameron Smith is controlled or absent.

Parramatta seems the team most likely to challenge but their players have a tendency to get shot at. Late night antics and disciplinary suspensions aside, the Hot Form Chart is still tipping the party-boy Eels to overcome the Bulldogs — a team that finished last season with four losses, a cultural crisis and a bunch of players breaking down the door to get out of the place. Will Steve Folkes join Wayne Bennett (and Graham Murray and Nathan Brown) as a coaching casualty in 2008?

The Roosters — the team that picks up former Bulldog In Excelsis Willie Mason — seem destined for big things in rugby league’s 100th season. But Crikey like the look of their round one opponent too. The Rabbitohs have Craig Wing, Rusty’s Book of Feuds , and the Charity Shield, sport’s most sought after piece of silverware outside the AFL’s NAB Cup.

Interest will also surround the Manly-Cronulla clash. Better things are expected from the Sharks in 2008, and worse things from the Sea Eagles. Last year’s runner-up must overcome the bitterness of a Grand Final thumping without key play-maker Michael Monaghan, who is chasing Pounds Sterling with a team called Warrington in a place called England.

Here is how we are seeing the teams in the lead-up to round one of the NRL’s Centenary year:

Last 5
premiership
games

Team

2007 form
rating

Final 2007
position

Sequence

1

Melbourne

1

1

W-W-W-W-W

2

Cowboys

2

3

W-W-W-W-L

3

Manly

3

2

L-W-W-W-L

4

Parramatta

4

4

L-W-W-W-L

5

Cronulla

5

11

L-W-L-W-W

6

Rabbitohs

6

7

W-W-W-L-L

7

Penrith

7

16

W-L-W-W-L

8

Roosters

8

10

D-W-L-L-W

9

Warriors

9

5

L-W-W-L-L

10

Dragons

10

13

W-L-L-W-L

11

Titans

11

12

W-L-W-L-L

12

Newcastle

12

15

L-L-L-L-W

13

Tigers

13

9

L-L-W-L-L

14

Canberra

14

14

L-L-W-L-L

15

Brisbane

15

8

L-L-W-L-L

16

Bulldogs

16

6

W-L-L-L-L

Crikey’s Hot Form Tips for round one are:

  • Rabbitohs
  • Cowboys
  • Parramatta
  • Manly
  • Newcastle
  • Penrith
  • Dragons
  • Melbourne

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey

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