NRL Hot Form Chart
Three teams, three very different stories for those who wear a uniform of blue and yellowish hue.
I can’t recall, but did any pundits have the Titans so high in their pre-season estimations? The Gold Coast top the NRL ladder and the Hot Form Chart. Each week, they contribute evenly and have been able to cover key injuries. They also have Scott Prince in career-best form. The halfback must be uppermost in the minds of Queensland and Australian selectors.
On Sunday, the Titans face New Zealand who are coming off a heavy loss to a resurgent North Queensland. It was only a short time ago that the soft and sinister sound of knives being sharpened could be heard around Dairy Farmers Stadium. Three wins and a meteoric rise up the Hot Form Chart, and the whisk-whisk now sounds for the opposition. This week, that comes in the form of Melbourne — match of the round material if ever I’ve seen it.
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By contrast, the blue and yellow wrapped around the Eels seems more like a shroud. This time I do recall Parramatta’s pre-season expectations: they were big, premiership big. Was Public Enemy’s advice ignored and the hype believed? We can only speculate but there is some good news for Eels’ fans: this week, a loss is out the question — Parra don’t play in this abbreviated ANZAC round.
Manly seem to be running into critical encounters every week. This time it is against fellow Hot Form chart improver the Bulldogs. The Sea Eagles are set to be missing some stars but are always hard to toss at Brookvale.
On ANZAC Day, the Roosters and Broncos will be at short odds to return to winning form against Crikey’s bottom teams, the Dragons and Souths respectively.
And Cronulla will attempt to arrest their downward Hot Form slide against a Tigers outfit that welcomes back key playmaker and injury recidivist Benji Marshall.
Last week: 6
AFL Hot Form Chart
Is the sun setting on the West’s golden footballing era? Two years ago, the Eagles were AFL premiers and many considered the Dockers their heir apparent. Even at the start of this season the teams from WA were not without fans. Expectations were still high. Hope had a horse and he was cantering into the sunset.
But Crikey’s Hot Form charts (not to mention the AFL ladder) show that the steed is in fact a donkey.
Freo and the Weagles sit 14th and 15th respectively on the Hot Form Chart after woeful starts to the year. Both face unbeaten teams this weekend with losses likely to make the finals unreachable for both clubs.
Where did it all go wrong? For West Coast, the answer to that question seems pretty obvious but the Dockers pose an altogether different proposition. They are missing Paul Haselby terribly but the problem goes a lot deeper than that, with questionable recruiting considered by most to be at its core.
Freo have the job of getting their season back on track against Geelong on ANZAC night. They play at Subiaco but venues and travel don’t seem to bother the Cats — what does?
Somewhat ironically, the man who is setting the competition alight is a West Aussie but plays on the other side of the continent. This week, “Buddy” Franklin’s Hawks come up against the Terry Wallace Project. Richmond will be undedogs but seem to relish the role — their last two weeks have been terrific.
Carlton, winless for so long, have now strung two together and have shot up to 9th (yes, 9th!) on the Form Chart. It’s not quite enough to inspire a nudge on the Blues over Adelaide, but it’s bloody tempting.
And Port Adelaide have finally won, albeit against West Coast. This week the Power take on competition question mark St Kilda at home in a match that should tell us a fair bit about both clubs.
But ANZAC round is really all about Collingwood and Essendon, isn’t it? Medals are awarded, silence is observed, the Last Post is played if not quite for the last time. And in the midst of it all is a football match, the kind of pursuit that George Orwell called “war minus the shooting”.
Crikey’s Hot Form Tips for round six are:
Last week: 7