Crikey’s NRL Hot Form Chart

By god, what a week. As soon as the Pope leaves town, it’s on — as if the demons buried during Ratzy’s stay in rugby league central had burst to the top; p-ssed-off, snarling and ready to make amends.

At least the Storm and St George kept their spat on the park, with Raiders, Bulldogs and NSW Police dragged into the queasy glare of the off-field spotlight.

Melbourne won the game but lost Slater for this week’s match against the Warriors in Auckland. And it is a loss too because the Kiwi team is always tough to toss at home and have three straight wins under its belt. A sneaky chance even though Melbourne appear to have the title-defence bit between the teeth.

Sparring partner the Dragons have the opportunity to beat up a team on the scoreboard on Monday. Considering that team is the Bulldogs, it may be wise to restrict any beating to the scoreboard only.

The Roosters-Manly clash has lost some lustre on the back of the east-enders’ stutters, but it still qualifies as Crikey’s match of the round. The Sea Eagles have been machine-like in their streak of seven in a row, and will present a mark for the Roosters to judge themselves by.

Parramatta will win this week, which is cruel because it keeps hopes of September alive for Eels fans. Similar hopes had taken wing in the heart of Redfern before being grounded by last week’s loss. Still, the Bunnies are flying high on the Hot Form Chart and could derail Newcastle’s own finals aspirations.

Saturday shapes as showdown central with four teams all crammed within a game of each other fighting for spots in the top eight. Form is the guide here with the Chart giving the nod to Penrith and the Raiders.

And tonight Brisbane host Cronulla in a ripping start to the round. The Sharks are away and unfancied: in short, the type of game they have won all year.

Form* Team Last week Ladder position Sequence
1 Manly 1 1 W-W-W-W-W
2 Melbourne 5 2 W-L-W-W-W
3 Cronulla 4 3 W-W-W-L-W
4 Rabbitohs 2 14 W-W-W-W-L
5 Warriors 8 11 L-L-W-W-W
6 Canberra 6 9 W-L-L-W-W
7 Dragons 3 6 W-W-W-L-L
8 Roosters 7 4 W-W-W-L-L
9 Penrith 12 8 L-D-W-L-W
10 Brisbane 13 5 L-W-D-L-W
11 Tigers 15 10 L-L-L-L-W
12 Newcastle 9 12 L-L-L-W-L
13 Titans 10 7 L-L-L-W-L
14 Bulldogs 14 15 L-L-L-W-L
15 Parramatta 11 13 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 20 are:

  • Cronulla
  • Parramatta
  • Penrith
  • Canberra
  • Souths
  • Manly
  • Melbourne
  • Dragons

Last week: 5
Season: 85

Crikey’s AFL Hot Form Chart

It all looked so good on paper; left-field, de Bono lateralism at its best. But in the end the AFL draw has let the air out of the balloon slowly, leaving the sad, wrinkly little collection of matches that is round 17.

If tonight’s game had been played earlier in the season — as the Luddites would have preferred — mouths would barely have contained the saliva. As it is, the season has matured, leaving Geelong with an aura of untouchability and Hawthorn a little unsteady on its feet.

The Hawks are still good but the gap between them and the Cats has been allowed to widen. An upset is not impossible but the Hot Form Chart is counselling against breath holding.

And the rest of the games seem a bit flat too. Perhaps the Hot Form Chart has the winter blues. Well, look at it this way:

Swans v Crows. Corker, right? Wrong. The Swans have lost their swagger and the Crows have lost the plot. Collingwood-Essendon is always tasty, but a depleted Bombers outfit hurts the contest; and those cues in the rack over there belong to Port and Freo so don’t expect much from that encounter.

Still, there is some hope. St Kilda are sitting in s-xy second spot on the Form Chart after winning four games running and playing exciting — yes, exciting — football. Smashing the Eagles in Perth could signal the arrival of a late-season contender … maybe.

The Blues and Tigers are fighting for their finals lives so their games against the Bulldogs and Lions respectively hold appeal — especially as the Dogs and Brisbane have plenty to play for themselves.

Which leaves perennial strugglers the Kangaroos and latter-day underdogs Melbourne. The Demons are lighter one ex-Wimbledon champion and hasn’t that caused a racket? The ball is now well and truly in Jim Stynes’ court. But the principle is sound and the Form Chart looks forward to the day when CEO John McEnroe, red and blue scarf hanging raffishly from his neck, launches into umpire Ray Chamberlain from the members of the MCC.

Form* Team Last week Ladder position Sequence
1 Geelong 2 1 W-W-W-W-W
2 St Kilda 5 7 L-W-W-W-W
3 Richmond 7 10 W-W-L-W-W
4 Bulldogs 1 2 W-W-W-W-L
5 Essendon 3 12 W-W-W-W-L
6 North Melbourne 10 8 L-W-L-W-W
7 Sydney 9 4 W-W-L-L-W
8 Hawthorn 4 3 W-L-W-W-L
9 Brisbane 11 6 L-W-L-L-W
10 Fremantle 13 14 W-L-L-L-W
11 Collingwood 6 5 L-L-W-W-L
12 Carlton 8 11 W-L-W-L-L
13 Port Adelaide 15 13 L-L-L-L-W
14 Melbourne 12 16 L-L-W-L-L
15 Adelaide 14 9 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 17:

  • Geelong
  • Collingwood
  • St Kilda
  • Richmond
  • Sydney
  • Port Adelaide
  • North Melbourne
  • Bulldogs

Last week: 3
Season: 89

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