Crikey’s NRL Hot Form Chart

Different, but the same. That’s how the NRL season is starting to shape up now that the business end is upon us.

The teams topping the ladder are the two that played off in last year’s grand final but while the Storm always looked to have Manly’s measure back then, that isn’t so obvious now. The Sea Eagles have swept aside would-be challengers in recent times and are undoubtedly the form side of the competition. Tonight, Parramatta will become Manly’s next victim as they continue their quest to atone for last year’s thumping at the hands of the Storm.

But Melbourne have plenty of time left to peak and the X-factor in bucketloads. More enigmatic than last season, the Storm seem capable of astonishing feats with ball in hand, as witnessed by the freakish performances of Slater and Inglis in recent weeks. The Dragons will be brave on Monday night but that’s as far as it will go.

The other great hopes, the Roosters and Sharks, faltered last week and both are faced with very tricky assignments this week in the form of Canberra and Newcastle respectively.

The only other team who seem capable of springing any big surprises at the moment are currently sitting in 14th on the ladder but have scorched up to second on the Hot Form Chart. Making the finals would be an unbelievable achievement for Souths, but the unbelievable is becoming almost commonplace for the Rabbitohs as they rack up win after win. The Tigers don’t appear to have the moxie to match them this week.

It’s crunch-time for Penrith, but the Titans might have their groove back after an upset victory over the Roosters last week, and are playing at home and all.

New Zealand are making the trip to play the Bulldogs, and while the Hot Form Chart says the Warriors, the Bulldogs could easily spring two surprises in a row.

And in the far north, the Cowboys are going up against the big smoke Broncos in the world’s most geographically dispersed local derby. The Broncos aren’t travelling too well, nut the Cowboys couldn’t beat a rug.

Form* Team Last week Ladder position Sequence
1 Manly 3 1 W-W-W-W-W
2 Rabbitohs 4 14 W-W-W-W-W
3 Dragons 1 5 W-W-W-W-L
4 Cronulla 2 4 W-W-W-W-L
5 Melbourne 6 2 L-W-L-W-W
6 Canberra 10 11 W-W-L-L-W
7 Roosters 5 3 L-W-W-W-L
8 Warriors 9 13 L-L-L-W-W
9 Newcastle 11 8 W-L-L-L-W
10 Titans 13 6 W-L-L-L-W
11 Parramatta 7 10 W-L-W-L-L
12 Penrith 12 9 L-L-D-W-L
13 Brisbane 8 7 L-L-W-D-L
14 Bulldogs 15 15 L-L-L-L-W
15 Tigers 14 12 W-L-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 19 are:

  • Broncos
  • Manly
  • Warriors
  • Cronulla
  • Titans
  • Souths
  • Roosters
  • Melbourne

Last week: 4
Season: 80

Crikey’s AFL Hot Form Chart

What a round we have in store, the round of the season no question. Even the inconsequential matches as far as finals are reckoned pit two teams near enough together on the Hot Form Chart to make tipping a waking nightmare — sort of like coaching the Dockers.

We’ll start at the top with the hugely anticipated Cats-Dogs clash down at Geelong. The absence of Ling and Ablett robs the match of some sparkle but it does give the super-impressive Bulldogs their best chance of toppling the premiers and grabbing top spot on the ladder.

North and Collingwood should start the round off in fine fashion tonight. The Pies start heavy favourites, but isn’t that the scenario North Melbourne love most? Plenty is at stake for both teams so expect an intense encounter.

Three weeks ago St Kilda’s chances of beating Hawthorn would have rated as highly as Big Brother’s chances of, well, rating. But three wins on the trot and some rediscovered resolve sees the Saints in with a skinny chance against the Buddy-led Hawks. It’s the fat chances Crikey likes, though — we’ll stick with Hawthorn.

Carlton meet a wobbly Swans on Sunday. The teams are separated by a mere sliver Form Chart-wise so let’s plump for the Blues, if only to string along the finals hopes of their supporters.

Injuries and internal discipline mechanisms could cruel the barnstorming run that has seen Essendon shoot up to third on the Hot Form Chart, especially as traditional rivals Richmond have their own slight finals chances and a crook coach to play for. Who knows, maybe the once-raspy Terry Wallace will come out of hospital sounding like Barry White?

The Lions are in a slump but play West Coast, a team who have their heart set on the wooden spoon. As for Fremantle, a loss to Melbourne at home would place the cherry on top of a dunghill of a season (and who could tip the Dockers after their “effort” last week?).

And of course it’s Showdown time in the city of churches. Port Adelaide are calling the match its grand final, so expect the Crows to win by well over 100 points.

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

*Form over the past five games

Crikey’s Hot Form Tips for round 16:

  • Collingwood
  • Geelong
  • Richmond
  • Brisbane
  • Hawthorn
  • Carlton
  • Adelaide
  • Melbourne

Last week: 7
Season: 86

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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