Crikey’s NRL Hot Form Chart

Round 16: the final round of the Origin lottery and the big winner this week is Parramatta. The Eels could use a break too. After showing glimpses of good form over the last month, Parra slipped out of the top eight in both the Hot Form Chart and the NRL ladder on the back of last week’s narrow loss to the Sharks.

This week they face Melbourne — or a team wearing their guernseys anyway — and need to make merry against the severely depleted Storm to set up an assault on the top four at the back end of the season.

The situation is not so dire for the next most affected team, the Roosters, who kick the round off tonight against the eminently more beatable Bulldogs. The boys from Bankstown have been, by any standards, bloody awful recently, personnel notwithstanding.

And speaking of bloody awful, North Queensland host Souths in a game that not too long ago would have seen the Cowboys installed as heavy favourites. Not so now, with the Bunnies finding a belated sense of belief and — maybe, just maybe — the faintest hope for some football beyond the home-and-away rounds.

Of course, it says something about the competition when a team that strings two together after losing 11 of its previous 12 is a finals hope, but that is the apple-skin tight nature of the 2008 NRL beast.

Take the Raiders and Dragons: both have gone through torrid times this season but are now Hot Form flyers and very much in finals contention. Their games against top four aspirants Cronulla and the Gold Coast will shape the ladder’s pointy end this week.

One team firmly impaled on that point is Manly who, despite being cock of the current walk, have only lost fullback Brent Stewart to Origin duty. It’s not just good fortune; it’s a a sign of an even, well-coached team who should put the Knights’ position in the top eight in severe jeopardy with a win on Saturday night.

Form* Team Last week Ladder position Sequence
1 Dragons 1 6 W-W-W-W-W
2 Cronulla 2 4 L-W-W-W-W
3 Manly 3 1 W-L-W-W-W
4 Roosters 4 3 W-W-L-W-W
5 Canberra 11 10 W-L-L-W-W
6 Melbourne 6 2 L-W-W-L-W
7 Rabbitohs 12 15 L-L-L-W-W
8 Brisbane 13 7 L-W-L-L-W
9 Parramatta 5 9 L-L-W-W-L
10 Newcastle 9 8 L-L-W-W-L
11 Titans 10 5 W-L-L-W-L
12 Tigers 7 12 W-L-W-L-L
13 Penrith 8 11 W-W-L-L-L
14 Warriors 14 13 L-W-L-L-L
15 Bulldogs 15 14 L-W-L-L-L
16 Cowboys 16 16 L-L-L-L-L

*Form over the past five games

Crikey’s Hot Form Tips for Round 16 are:

  • Roosters
  • Penrith
  • Dragons
  • Manly
  • Souths
  • Tigers
  • Parramatta
  • Cronulla

Last week: 7
Season: 65

Crikey’s AFL Hot Form Chart

Fortunately for Port Adelaide, there have been some disappointments this season: the Saints may yet feature in September but won’t be the force hoped for; Fremantle have been slow and flaky; and West Coast, abysmal.

All of which has taken some focus off the horrid form of last year’s grand finalist. The Power have slipped to 14th on the Hot Form Chart after just one win from their last five, and face the now awesome task of the Dogs at home.

On the sunnier side of the street are Carlton and Richmond, two clubs that are definitely pointing north after losing the compass over previous seasons. There may just be room for one of these teams in the finals, making their clash at the ‘G not only pivotal but Crikey’s match of the round. The nice little sub-plot of the Tigers and Blues hating each other’s guts doesn’t hurt either.

A meaningful match also wends its way up to the Gold Coast this weekend. The Roos, victors over the more-than-handy Hawthorn last week, seem to have a far superior game plan to the Saints and will undoubtedly set the large Carrara crowd alight.

The Hawks themselves can iron out their recent kinks tonight against West Coast, a team that managed to lose by 135 points last week and still give impression that they hadn’t bottomed out — quite an achievement.

The Lions and Crows are away, but that won’t stop them touching up Melbourne and Adelaide, a team which is suddenly under some pressure as their 12th placing on the Hot Form Chart attests. The Crows now face the lethal combination of a tough draw and some pressure from below. Who said the top eight was set?

At least Adelaide, like Collingwood, the other threatened species in the top eight, have the extra week to put the house in order, round 14 being split 6-2 over the next two weeks. And that means there’ll be no previews in Crikey next Friday but AFL diehards needn’t worry … the Hot Form Chart has something special planned.

Form* Team Last week Ladder position Sequence
1 Sydney 1 4 W-W-W-W-W
2 Geelong 2 1 L-W-W-W-W
3 Bulldogs 3 2 L-W-W-W-W
4 Brisbane 5 6 W-W-W-L-W
5 Richmond 9 11 W-L-L-W-W
6 Hawthorn 4 3 W-L-W-W-L
7 Carlton 7 10 W-L-W-W-L
8 Collingwood 6 7 W-W-W-L-L
9 Essendon 11 13 L-L-L-W-W
10 St Kilda 14 9 L-W-L-L-W
11 North Melbourne 10 8 W-L-L-L-W
12 Adelaide 8 5 L-W-W-L-L
13 Fremantle 12 14 L-L-L-W-L
14 Port Adelaide 13 12 L-W-L-L-L
15 West Coast 15 15 W-L-L-L-L
16 Melbourne 16 16 L-L-L-L-L

*Form over the past five games

Crikey’s Hot Form Tips for round 14:

  • Hawthorn
  • Richmond
  • Kangaroos
  • Bulldogs
  • Brisbane
  • Fremantle
  • Geelong
  • Sydney

Last week: 4
Season: 76